Tag Archives: waffle

This and that.

So Mothers day has come and gone. It’s pretty low-key in this house but very happy and loving which is just the way I prefer it.

I had two mysterious homemade cards – Ida’s was full of her impenetrable writing which she importantly read out to me sitting on my chest at about 7am. It was full of have a loverleee day and I love my mumma but also a short discourse on woodlice and sausages. Zeph’s was in the shape of a butterfly, (that’s passed through a jet engine,) and although easier to read seemed to be congratulating me on having a son like Zeph. His logic had led him to the conclusion since his arrival had made me a mother it was in fact him who deserved recognition and thanks.

I genuinely fear for him, as a political career seems more and more likely.

I also got a pile of books and an opportunity to read some as all meal responsibility was removed from me for the day…(leftovers for lunch and a takeaway for tea – excellent kitchen action guys.)

During the course of a standard chaotic and haphazard sunday several things drifted through my mind, hasn’t the commercial emphasis on the day stepped up over recent years? Surely it puts lots of extra pressure on children missing a mum in their family set up and everyone who’s lost their mum – and all the mums mourning a child and the many women desperately trying to become mothers.

In the face of all this heavy emotion it seems painfully flippant that when Steve asked if I’d like to do anything for Mothers day the first thing that sprang to mind was some time on my own. Sans children for a few hours.

Oh the irony.

Part of my living in the moment plans include speaking my feelings more often and I feel reminded to do that – everyday and not just one a year.

I’m not sure either Zeph or Ida need encouragement to speak their feelings. To be honest at the end of every long day I wonder how it would be to hear a bit less of them .

In the usual attempt to beat back the madness we’ve been making stuff; cakes, 



They are the fault of this,

Bane of my life.

Mind, it’s a great book. We’ve got several different types and I’m always glad when they turn up in wrapping paper and generally – pleased in the theory of them.

My problem comes when I try to convince the kids they’re a starting off point to making something and that it doesn’t matter when, due to material differences or lack of skill on my part or, swinging the other way, over-enthusiasm in a certain area, means the finished result doesn’t look a lot like the picture.

It enrages them. They feel cheated and let down. It leads to rancour. As though we needed any more of that.

It’s also the school spring fair this weekend and being a bit early for seedlings for the plant stall we’ve made these plant pots instead. Ida helped me transplant our plants into them today and there is still compost everywhere. It was only as we finished I wondered why we hadn’t done it outside. Ah well.

The finished pots look very cheerful in the colours of sugared almonds. Here’s hoping someone shows up to buy them. The last one wasn’t hugely well attended. I’m always impressed by the teachers ability to keep forging on enthusiastically in the face of apathy. I’ve done my part in begging my Mum and Dad to bring the kids while I man a stall so they’ll probably account for a big part of the take being totally unable to withstand the pleading eyes of the kids.

Do you know I started writing this on Tuesday and it is now, although only barely ten minutes in, Saturday. What has happened to my umph?

In other breaking news I’m flexing my embracing change muscles by trying a new toothpaste.

It’s salty. And brownish red. Every morning it reminds me of a slug. To be honest it’s not going well. Toothpaste shouldn’t be salty – should it?


The sun is shining – I am ridiculously grateful. Even though it exposes the air in my home as thick with dust, the lift to my spirits is immeasurable.

Fickle and shallow as it may be, the BT’s are much easier to see in the open dazzle of sunlight. Ida and I did some park mooching yesterday afternoon, me reading a book while she clambered up the climbing nets and mountaineered up the slide (what’s wrong with going up the ladder?) I had a real whiff of long summer evenings which put heart into me.

Right now I’m taking a break from fashioning some giant gamekeeper style keys for Steve’s dressing up Saturday in the shop. Inevitably he is Hagrid – it would be a shame to waste the beard. Zeph begged him to be Edward Lear with his beard full of birds but he shied away from having an owl under his chin all day. Also he does gruff and uncouth much better than twinkly and genial. He may look like Manny but his soul is Bernard through and through.*  Which suits me.

The lighter days are encouraging me to put my head up from the path in front of me… and I’ve joined Twitter. Always on the cutting edge me.

I like it a lot but not sure it completely suits my skill set. I feel slightly struck dumb. There’s a feeling you’re shoving your way into things – I feel awkward but there’s so much to enjoy as well. Not least a sense of connection.

Reflecting on how brilliantly blogging has turned out for me I’m determined to try more new stuff. Zeph has clearly caught my internal resolution from the air. He’s just done a few climbing sessions which he really liked and joined football club. Tonight before bed he has chilled the blood of both Steve and I by casually asking if just anyone can do taxidermy.

The mind boggles. I am afraid to google.

*Black Books 🙂


Tomorrow Ida is three.

I do get absurdly sentimental around their birthdays, it seems to highlight how fast time moves and quickly they change. Part of my open heart plans is embracing change. I suppose I fear losing something dear  but surely love is never lost?

She is wildly excited but slightly confused about how time works. Last week, slightly worn by the “is it my birthday now?” question, I made a chart for her to cross off the day at bedtime – to help her count down to the big day. Of course she marched into the kitchen the next day with black marker pen all over her hands convinced she’d conquered time by crossing off ALL the boxes to move the schedule along a bit.

What touched me most was how powerful she must feel, to control her world so easily. I wish she could hold on to that but I suppose I’m one of the people squishing it out of her with all my rules and health and safety rules about knife juggling, stair surfing and road crossing.

Having tea with my friend this morning, Ida roared her disapproval over coat putting on time and N made me laugh by observing that life with a toddler is like living with a very small, ferocious T Rex.

 I find it really unnerving  seeing the less lovely sides of my everydayness parroted back to me. It’s true – I say; “Right now” and “I’m starting to feel CROSS..” and “This is not acceptable” all in those growling menacing tones through my teeth….

Yesterday Zeph asked what Jesus’s middle name was.

because apparently I say Jesus H Christ.

I didn’t even know I did.


Anyway back to the birthday prep. Today we shopped for Ida’s birthday tea which she is allowed, according to tradition, to choose. We may have to tinker with that one as she’s picked;

Olives, sausages on sticks, avocado, beetroot, mussels, anchovies, bread and vinegar to dip it in, iced gems, a pineapple and a tray of assorted samosas and pakoras.

Nothing wrong with the choices – just not sure it all hangs together.

We also bought things to decorate the cake with. This year it will be yellow with dolly mixtures, chocolate buttons and marshmallows on… and star candles. I may seem grossly indulgent but I am very charmed by her calm certainty and her clear vision.

I’ve sewn her a fairy skirt and silver butterfly wings and Zeph has dipped into his savings to buy her a drinking cup with a meerkat at the bottom and I just went out to Asda (always a fearful prospect late at night with all the lost wandering the aisles – blank eyed, hair buzzing with static under the fluorescent lights) and purchase two very shiny foil helium balloons which now hover, bursting with promise, over the table laid for breakfast. Walking home through the dark clutching them firmly I felt stuffed with joy and excitement myself.

Balloons, the birthday banner, a small but happy pile of presents, a tiny pink hyacinth by her plate and pain de chocolat for breakfast. I can’t wait to see her face all lit up and happy.

Summer windfalls

These pictures are from last week, when the sun actually shone. Unlike this weekend although the rain didn’t spoil the barbecue to celebrate my cousins confirmation. My family aren’t put off by a little rain I tell you. Although Z did leave his trainers outside where they got completely soaked. Which through a serious of drying mishaps including a tumbledryer spin ended up with my resourceful uncle Tony re-attaching the soles with a hot glue gun. Great tip and I’ll be attempting to fix Z’s school shoes later in an attempt to get them to limp through to the end of term…

I love this inspired alternative use of the basket;

but what I love most is I can remember collecting up the fairy apples from my G’mas lawn in the summer and lining them up on the old brick wall or attempting to sell them to my family. As we sat on the bench watching her squatting and carefully examining each tiny windfall my heart felt very full.

I don’t know why I feel surprised though. Surely it’s one of the joys of parenting your child, reigniting memories? Of course it all depends on the memories. These are pretty good.

Today Zeph and I measured the bedroom exhaustively for the big bunk bed event. My child has expensive tastes and I’ve had to placate him with customisation promises instead. I foresee many flat pack hours ahead… New stuff is really exciting. I’ve planned in a LOT of new storage and he has made extravagant promises about keeping everything tidy. Again my heartstrings tug as I still make these internal promises every time I actually manage to clean the house or sort out a corner.

I think I’m still waiting to grow up and get organised.

I am the summer grinch

It’s been a pretty grey and rainy summer so far. Zeph has pointed out a few times that it’s too cold to wear sandals to school much to his annoyance. Today was the blazingly hot summers day you would hope for in June.

One hot day.

I’m already too hot and really cross.

I’m just not brilliant at sweltering heat. Basically my fine figure insures I’m toasty warm on quite chilly days. So the baking sun gives me a headache. Unlike my sister who physically needs the sun as much as any basking lizard.

I’ve spent the day wafting around the house, administering cold drinks and freeze pops to my giggling naked children and sitting under the hideous ceiling fan that I curled my lip up when we looked round this house before we bought it. Before I experienced the pleasure of its gentle breeze. I’ve learnt to never look at it and appreciate its cooling capacities instead.

We spent a happy hour before bed watering some of the plants and getting our bare feet wet. It was balmy warm and there were bats in the evening sky. The paving stones were still warm and the garden smelt divine. I’ve got some night stocks flowering and their scent seeps across my tiny patch. As the light gets dimmer they seem to glow and attract moths who hover around them kissing their pale faces. This is definitely my favourite part of a hot sunny day. This and the early morning, full of blue sky promise.

Of course the good thing about living in britain is it’ll be raining in a minute. Although we are technically gripped by drought. So I’ll just stock up on freezepops and try not to whine.

The Golden Ring

Frankly I’m mostly surprised when I remember I’m married. It was a good day, resembling a village fair more than anything else. I picked the clothes I wore the night before from my existing wardrobe. We exchanged our vows standing in a circle of family and friends on the grass outside a village hall. The sun was shining, it was June – the longest day.

A friend gave me a photo later that always makes me laugh; most of the adults are smiling towards the camera but the children’s faces are turned like sunflowers to some distant spot beyond the lens. It’s actually the bouncy castle, out-of-bounds until the words are over.

We’d actually got legally married in the previous october with a couple of witnesses and Zeph in the registry office. It was the day after his first birthday and he clutched the rings in his hot chubby hand. We held him between us as we spoke the vows and I remember feeling fiercely glad he was there. I’m not saying it wasn’t a special day but to me, standing together and making promises in front of the people who matter to us was more momentous.

To be honest the contract we made with our hearts when we committed to having Zeph and being together means more to me than either of these. It meant a lot to Steve though which made it important to me but our marriage certificate is not something that keeps me here with him.

Intimacy is not easy, nor is trust but now I have let them into my life I would fight hard to keep them. Is marriage more than the sum of its parts? I would describe Steve as supportive but I’m not a vine climbing his tree. I’m not that keen on mirrors as it is and I don’t look at him to see myself reflected back. But I  wouldn’t say he doesn’t see me – often I’m mystified about how he sees me but I go to no effort to disguise myself for his benefit.

I find it very restful being with him, he’s at ease with my hollow inner being. We have a lot to say to each other. We disagree a lot, it doesn’t seem to matter. We agree on a lot as well, shouting at the radio in stereo, passing books back and forth. I don’t need him to improve, I like him as he is, but I’m not afraid of things changing. I’m assuming that goes both ways – pretty confidently.

I’m much more likely to describe Steve as my partner than my husband. I feel it’s a good description, we have decided to form a partnership in this life, in the raising of our children, in the sailing of this mouldy haphazard ship. We are complicit in our day-to-day decisions about washing up, animal acquisition, where to pile the latest stack of books, what kind of washing powder,erotic fantasy life and our breakfast choices. Personally I think it’s all these little details that build the bigger pictures.

 He hates it though, (the ‘partner’ phrase.) Like that would stop me..

Someone I know is getting married soon, they’ve recently wondered aloud some of this stuff which is why I’m here at the screen,waffling on. On the whole I think rituals, whatever they are, are important. Essentially though – when I look in my heart- the only crucial lasting bit here for me is my internal decision to be here, to try it, to not detach – to throw a gossamer spider-woven thread from my bubble to his.

Everything else is trimmings.

Parklife, new needles and small stuff

I purled an entire row without noticing. Usually I have to concentrate on each stitch. There’s something about it I find really awkward, unwieldy and counter intuitive. Today at the park, sat in the sunshine, I watched Ida trying to climb up the shinning pole and purled a row without paying attention.

I also pushed a pen across a blank page. I definitely found joy in it – but not the twenty odd precocious kids who said over my shoulder, “what’s that? – it’s not very good…” go back to your alcopops and baby bottles full of coke precious ones.

The ring of grime left round the bath after scrubbing Ida – she had a very satisfying afternoon at the park.

Zeph telling us the story of Echo and Narcissus on the way to the cinema since we’ve banned the Pokemon word. Turns out his knowledge of greek myths is as extensive as that of the japanese merchandising menaces.

I secretly bought a felting needle while we were out – can’t wait to examine it and maybe try it out. I have completely lied to Steve about how much it was… he could tell as well. I saw him smirking into his beard. 

As I type this I can hear Ida scampering around upstairs. In a years time I will hardly remember the bedtime wrestling. Time goes by so quickly. I shall not sweat this small stuff. I resolve to reread some Richard Carson.

They smelled of shampoo and clean pj’s as we all curled up for bedtime stories. At the end of one Ida tells us she likes blue kangaroo but she loves ‘Dillo. Steve and I exchange a look of love over their bent heads. I feel in accord with the world.  


line of thought

It’s ten past eleven, I’ve just arrived downstairs triumphant as Ida has finally passed out in her own bed. As I flop on to the sofa, turn SITC on and pick up my knitting Steve announces he’s off to bed. Gah.

I’m REALLY missing grown up alone time. Is it wrong to put a lid on the cot? Is it? I know this passes, all things pass, when will it pass? It’s not so bad as it’s half term at the moment but next week is going to be a killer. I’m not a morning person.

On a much more cheerful note Ida presented me with a picture of myself today. It really looks like a person – more by coincidence than anything else but this will not stop me celebrating.

You see…that’s my head at the top, with an eye. I’m wearing shoes – blue ones apparently.

I’m calling Mensa tomorrow, maybe the Royal Academy.

That’s if I can drag myself out of bed.

Actually Ida draws a lot more than Zeph used to. She likes to draw while Z’s doing homework I think she’s trying to copy his writing producing long lines of tight spirals. I like watching the intense concentration while she does it. She sticks her tongue out just like Zeph used to.

She likes to bring you a pen and some paper and request animals but woe betide you if you draw them with legs. She likes to add the legs – lot’s of them so in the end everything resembles squid.

I know – this is all very trivial – but in my late night stupor – what I’m thinking about, what I want to remember, is the joy she finds in steering a line across a blank page. 

And I want to find that joy again for myself. Is this why we have children, to remind ourselves?

Reading the invisible rules

I was idly listening to Just a Minute today while sprawled on the sofa reading the paper doing stuff. (Is radio four the soundtrack to my life?) and there were some things here that made me think about class in general, fitting in to new social groups and the importance of unspoken rules.

You see the basic game rules are to speak for one minute on a subject without repetition, deviation or hesitation (it’s as though Nicholas Parsons is ON my shoulder. *shudder*) Today Josie Lawrence was too quick on the repetition, picking up on Is , ands & thes until gently reprimanded by Nicholas, “usually we let those go..”

Really it’s not about the game at all. The game is a structure to be funny within. If you’re just pressing the buzzer to let people know when they’ve erred it’s just not “cricket.” You turn up full of good cheer and hope, really looking forward to a good game, you follow the rules impeccably (you studied them carefully last night) and still – you fuck it up.

 Sometimes it feels as though life involves wading from one club full of unspoken rules to another. If you’re not quick on the social cues then you’re going to get used to feeling out-of-place. It applies to everything, what you wear, what you say, what you shop for, where you take your kids to play, what you worry about vocally at the school gate. There are rules, they’re not written down anywhere and god forbid you break them.

Of course if you’re always doing it and you’ve never read the secret rulebook  you quickly see it’s not the end of the world. After all as long as you stick to your own personal rules…

Josie Lawrence won that game. Good on her.

I’m in a Dali nightmare

a child who has found her brothers last rolo and is unrepentant. AKA the calm before the storm.

I’m trying to get ready for a sleepover with the kids at my cousin’s house. For some reason I’m moving in slow motion and the hands on the clock are on fast forward.

The house is littered in half done tasks and Zeph is wandering around with his homework worksheet trying to find transparent, translucent and opaque objects. Ida trails in his wake – ‘elping. There is much loud bickering.

A minute ago I found myself looking blankly at him while he asked if the lemon icing I’m putting on top of the fairycakes to take could be classed as translucent. It’s quite thin and you can see the top of the cake through it so I suppose you could.

I’m aware of the washing half done and not dry (the pj’s are in there) the washing up in the sink, the fact Ida has been quiet because she’s been playing with my wool bag and the living room is a kittens dream of a soft play centre, the phone is ringing and I haven’t fed the cat.

I feel translucent.

and like going back to bed.

I’m looking forward to hanging out with the guys and the kids will have a lovely time. If we can just get to the end of the next couple of hours intact and with clean sleeping clothes that don’t reveal us as the tramps we are.

Maybe a coffee will help.

Or a rolo.