Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The youth of today

Charlotte was talking about uni this morning on the school run. Maybe I should start calling it the educational establishment run now she's left school but the others haven't... (I have to drop her at Mearns road to catch the No.4 bus to Glasgow uni as First have stopped its coming to Harvie avenue - it's not like anyone needs a bus from half of Newton Mearns that goes to Glasgow uni, is it?! Grrrr)




So, she was saying something about having a lecture in the McIntyre building and I commented that the John Smith bookshop was in there when I was a student so we had never used it for classes.

I then remembered it was where you went for NUS meetings and all our protest marches had set out from there. I then fondly told her of our great protests - the RIP free education marches of '86 and '89 when student grants were scrapped in favour of loans and where we'd carried a coffin from the McIntyre down to town picking up the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow Tech and Strathclyde uni students en route before holding a rally in George square and marching out to Queens Park.

I told her about the Mandela protests and our small part in the fight to overthrow the Apartheid regime in South Africa during my student days and our campaign to make Winnie Mandela rector and give Mandela the freedom of the city of Glasgow, then I explained Apartheid to the three wee ones as I drove. Charlotte was listening quite intently, then came out with a comment that blew me away...

'But that was before social media! You did all that and the only people who saw you were doing it were the ones you actually marched past? How did you motivate people to protest if you couldn't get your message out to the wider public?' I explained that it would have made it into the papers or on to the BBC back then and everyone would have known. She found it hard to imagine mainstream media actually reporting anti-establishment news. Her generation assumes that if you protest you need to livestream it on Twitter or Facebook as it won't show up in the newspapers or the TV news. Interesting, if a tad Orwellian.

Monday, September 17, 2018

My sweet, innocent little friend


Charlotte's sitting watching Friends on Netflix. She's back at the beginning when Ross and Rachel first get together. Amaia, who's never seen it before is sitting with her. The happy couple are canoodling in the hallway. Ross comes out with something like: I really want to make it up to you for last night. Maybe we could go to a fancy restaurant? Rachel smiles at him sexily and replies: Oh yes, and maybe afterwards we can go back to my place for some... dessert! Ross's eyeballs fall out his head and immediately Amaia pipes up indignantly: Well, that's the stupidest thing I ever heard! It's obvious that dessert is going to be much nicer in the fancy restaurant rather than them going home and making like Angel Delight or something at Rachel's flat!

Léon is currently trying desperately not to point and laugh. Sweet! He then suggested I note it down here so he can show her it in a couple of years once she's more worldly-wise!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Happy families

It's a bit of stressful time at the moment.

First there's Marcel - my number one and usually very capable child. At 21, he's been living in Edinburgh for over three years. This summer, however, he managed to get himself not one but two jobs and his eight hours a day, seven days a week have resulted in him having run out of time on the flat-hunting front. Instead of lining up his next flat which he needed to get from Sept 1, he left that to his slightly more laid-back flatmate, who has enough money for hotels and who also has a girlfriend round the corner. Marcel has now moved back home and is booking flat viewings by the dozen from across the country at ten a week while shouting expletives, punching the air and muttering under his breath about never leaving a job to someone else if you can do it yourself. Of course, he's also having to commute to Edinburgh three days a week for his Apple job and uni starts next Monday! He's contemplating sleeping in the library from then!

Then there's number two. She's no longer stressing me but I couldn't say the same last weekend: I got a text from Spain saying the single mum she had been au pairing for had decided to give her ex husband the kids three days early and had disappeared off to visit her new boyfriend three hundred miles away, leaving Charlotte homeless, but I wasn't to worry because she'd moved in with the mum's (single, forty year old, lives alone) brother and they were having a lovely time getting to know each other over wine!!!! Do you trust him? I asked in the calmest of voices, trying not to shriek or squeak! Turned out he was a lovely guy who paid for her food, lent her his travel cards and drew her maps to the beach and tourist sites of Valencia, worked on a work presentation all weekend, and waved her off on the tube to the airport on Monday morning but that does mean I slept a wink till she got off the plane on Monday afternoon!

Number three is usually happy to have his brother home, probably because he only comes during holidays and they sit and watch movies or play play station together, but this time he's gammoning away: Marcel is taking over my room with his bags, and I can't sit on my spare bed to get dressed in the morning because Marcel is asleep in it, and I have to get dressed in the dark because he isn't up yet and when are you going to convert the spare bathroom into a guestroom like you've always said  you would mum, so I can get my room back NOW!!!

Number four isn't overly annoyed though First's decision to terminate the number 4 (ie Glasgow uni) bus at ASDA now means that school run has been moved to ten minutes earlier to let Charlotte jump out at Mearns Castle where she can catch the bus to uni and this is worth a rant or two in the morning.

Number five is still in full packed lunch meltdown. Apparently packed lunches are worse than smallpox and syphilis rolled into one and if I just whine another week, maybe they'll give in and start buying me school lunches again! (Maybe I should take up lotto to see if I can win a year's subscription to canteen lunches at Kirkhill primary)

Reminds me a bit of my first (German) mother-in-law - she also had five kids and used to say to me: Kleine Kinder, kleine Sorgen, große Kinder... I was meant to fill in the blanks myself, I think I get it now!

Number six, aka my dearly beloved, has manged to do all sort of damage to himself over the weekend. He slipped on the wet kitchen floor at 1am on Saturday morning and it was after two before the adrenaline shakes had worn off enough for me to get him into bed. Saturday morning I was up again before nine and got Charlotte to take 3, 4, and 5 to their Williamwood music lessons while I got six x-rayed: nothing broken - just a twisted knee and a strained Achilles tendon. Now, he would probably deserve sympathy if he'd been running a marathon but given he slipped on an ice cube he was putting in his white wine because he hadn't chilled the bottle enough, I'm not so sure!😂

Even the hamster has been so awol this weekend, I was beginning to wonder if she'd kicked the bucket until I heard her drinking this morning.

I'm fine... well as fine as someone can be this close to the Tory party conference announcing whether or not my husband is an illegal alien who needs to be booted back to where he came from.

I'm seriously considering remortgaging the house before the pound collapses anyway and pissing off to somewhere Mediterranean for the October week where I can recharge my batteries in the sun far from all the madness, only question is whether to go alone or take this bunch with me!



Thursday, September 06, 2018

A dramatic loathing of sandwiches

We spotted the issue when Amaia was about two... no matter how much coaxing and cajoling, the girl who happily downs the spiciest Mexican or Indian food, any amount of pasta or other more boring offerings, just reacts to sandwiches in the way most family pets do to the sight of the local vet's surgery!

All through nursery we tried to break her and got as far as jam or honey, but that was about it. It isn't that she doesn't like bread, it is that she thinks savoury food ought to be hot and therefore ought not to be on bread! So as I said last month, packed lunches have begun.

Charlotte returned from Spain on Monday. Charlotte is Amaia's bestie and confidant. At bed time, she showed up in Lot's room with tears rolling down her face. 'It's not that I haven't tried, Charlotte, I have but I just hate everything about school lunches now', she wailed dramatically. 'I've tried them for three weeks now and I'm just soooo depressed!'

Sigh! It's going to be a long ten years!

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Hair today, gone tomorrow


Anna can be impulsive and determined at times. Only Sunday, she suddenly came out with the notion that she ought to cut off all her hair and donate it to the Little Princess Trust. Her friend Inishka had done that last year, but at the time she hadn't really considered it, she was simply very proud of her (and her sister Ameya) for doing so. I'm not sure why the notion suddenly came to her now.

On Monday, she reiterated the idea but again, I figured she'd give it up after a day or two. But on Tuesday, she went over to the hairdresser and asked for an appointment, and when they said they actually had one free immediately, she simply sat down on the first seat and got on with it.

She certainly has balls!