Friday, October 21, 2016

Trying to become Marcel

I feel these days like we're just clinging on the last seconds of childhood with Léon.

First it was his distinct lack of interest in play parks last year. He's stopped playing with all the younger kids in the street who always used to come in for him, usually claiming he's busy with some household chore. Of course, he's also grown to almost my height in the last year and has moved up four shoe sizes since Easter.

Then he and some school friends made a 'band' because it is ok to hang out with girls and talk to them on Skype as long as you have the excuse that it is because you're all in the one band.

Last week Marcel dropped by for dinner. He asked Léon if he'd like a designer t-shirt he'd grown out of. It was a size S adult, so there I was ready to put it in the loft (in a bag marked boys' clothes ages 14) when he put it on and it fits fine - arg! Mind you, I now think he might need more than one, given he's been wearing it three days solid, as he's so pleased to be in something his cool big brother recommended! I doubt there will be any further use for t-shirts with cute dinosaurs or skeletons now he's discovered plain teenager ones.

But I think yesterday was the real eye opener. He asked to go to the hairdresser... alone! And came back looking like this. It's not a huge change but I can definitely see where he's trying to go.

It is very sweet to see who his role model obviously is!

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Never again

I probably didn't have my glasses on, and I like lilac so would have lifted this in my shopping rush based on its colour more than anything.

I can only assume it was possibly conceived as one of the tasks on The Apprentice or some similar show. You know, where they stick half a dozen enthusiastic but inexperienced people in a room and tell them to come up with a new fragrance, or a new shampoo, or the likes. Well, let me assure you, where lavender works well, rosemary most definitely doesn't! When you've just washed your hands, a overwhelming scent of rosemary is beyond appalling. You quickly develop a feeling greasiness, like you've been stuffing a leg of lamb for Sunday dinner. In fact, you smell like you need to wash your hands! You wouldn't use garlic or lovage in a hand soap, and I'm not sure rosemary isn't in the same category! As for using it to wash any other part of your body, I can't even imagine what experiences that could conjure up! The lipstick kiss on the bottle makes me shiver at the very thought!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


I've done precious little work today and it's all the fault of those fucking Tories.

I don't remember the last time I swore in the first line of my blog. I doubt I ever have. But I have a husband who is pacing up and down, fuming and my husband doesn't fume.

Four days is all the Tory conference lasted but in those four days I have learnt that my husband has the privilege of being one of the government's famous bargaining chips, so they sure as hell are not going to reassure him he can stay despite being the father of British citizens and being half way through paying for a house here. Human shield mentality - I'm sure that's been used before in Kuwait... I have learnt that the 62% of Scotland who voted to remain in the EU and for that matter the 48% of the rest of the UK who did are not to be listened to. And despite no one even explaining what Brexit meant before the vote, she apparently now has a mandate not just to go all soft and Norwegian on us, but to go full-out isolationist with no trade deals in place for our kids' future. By the time the kids are my age, they might just have a few deals in place, so everything will be hunky dory. Companies are threatening to pull out of banking and the car industry left, right and centre but who gives a toss - we have Union Jacks and the Queen! Who needs to work with scientists, doctors or academics from all over the EU if instead we can send home the doctors who are currently saving even Tory lives in England but only till 2025, when they can fuck off back to BongoBongoland (I think that's Boris's term of endearment for where they come from.) Then they'll all be replaced by nice white English doctors who will be fined £220K should they happen to fall in love on their holidays in Tenerife and try staying there... but of course they won't be going on holiday any more because the pound has fallen about 30% already in just 3 months. Then this morning I learnt I'm to inform on my business partner for being a foreigner employed by a UK registered company that I happen to own - the fact that he set up that company, is co-director/owner and the fact that it brings money into the UK from all over Europe and the world counts for nothing. Well you know what, Theresa? He's my husband so you can fuck off. I will be clyping on no one. It's time for civil disobedience. I will not be dancing to your tune. Then I heard at tea time that she wants to run a nationalist party with the values of socialism and ordinary workers at its heart. Now where have I heard that one before??? Maybe we could call it the Nationalsozialistische ... Arbeiterpartei. Hmm, that has a nice ring to it... FFS! Hey, here's an idea - maybe I could cut out the middle man and start sewing a symbol of her choice on my husband's and my children's clothes in case any one happens to take them for fully British. We can't have that, not compared to us ethnically pure Brits!

It's reassuring at least to know the opposition are right on their backs and trying to sort it, or actually did they not bother debating Brexit at their conference? It's a shame that they don't seem to have the time to sit up and notice that the new PM is an escaped nutter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It's why I love him

I was always fascinated by language. Even before I was taught any French or German at school, I used to spend my weekends at my grandparents' house analysing his Scots (Did he just ask me to pit ma jaiket in the press? WTF is a press???) and her idiosyncratic idioms (Jesus wept and tore his waistcoat... or was she actually saying Jesus wept and Tories' waistcoat? - well it was the late 70s, so how was I to be sure if she was discussing Maggie Thatcher or damage to clothing?... I was never really sure Jesus had a waistcoat but I was also too shy to inquire, given my heathen upbringing... It did occur to me occasionally to actually ask my grandparents what exactly they were talking about, but he'd have told me to haud ma tongue and she'd have rolled her eyes and muttered something odd about my arse being in parsley, so instead of asking, I sat in my own wee bilingual Scots/English world trying to make some sense of it all. I religiously learned all my Gramps's odd words for everything, though of course, I never used them. I learned at a very young age that young ladies from Newton Mearns (in the 70s) weren't allowed to say dug or semmit.

So when I found my first husband, a native French and German speaker, I thought I'd hit the jackpot. I forgot that just because you grow up speaking other languages, you are not necessarily interested in languages. When he got a programming job in the dictionary company where I worked not long after we married, I was more than disappointed to realise he had no interest in the linguistic side of his job whatsoever. To him, language was simply a communication tool. And when the kids came along, he'd no idea how to make them bilingual, despite his own mother speaking to him in German when he was growing up. I was the one who read up on bilingualism and spoke to the kids in French to ensure they were fluent, albeit with my flaws and accent. Anyway, at least I got to speak French at home for the next thirteen years, so that made up for it for a while.

Then one day a real language nerd dropped out of the sky and into my world. Someone (I still don't know who, though I thank them from the bottom of my heart) decided the best person for me to share with after an office reshuffle was the great Dane (as we affectionately referred to him behind his back)! He was the kind of language nerd who lists 'Danish, English, German, Esperanto, Georgian, Russian, Czech, Basque, Swabian, German, Japanese, Italian, French, Dutch, Nynorsk, Swedish, Sanskrit, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic, Yiddish and Scots' under languages he speaks on his facebook page. Of course he hasn't broken Scots up into Doric, Orkney and the likes and he hasn't mentioned things he only knows a wee bit of such as Old Norse, Icelandic, Ancient Greek, Latin and Mandarin Chinese, etc. He never ceases to amaze me when he picks something up in an exotic supermarket and can actually read text printed in Hindi out loud... or at least that's what he claims he's doing... maybe he's just making it up to impress me! Hmmm, that never occurred to me before! He lives and breathes language. When we watch programmes like Trapped, he actually pauses it to explain genitive forms of peoples' names to me and we both giggle in excitement when we understand bits from other Scandinavian languages we know better. We close our eyes and see how much we can follow without the subtitles. Our winter Saturday nights are invariably spent watching something foreign together - I'm not sure we've ever watched a movie or series in English!

And now he's gone and bought all the translations of the Gruffalo for us to analyse together in bed at night. I can see the winter stretch out before us as we look at every nuance of the words for an owl, or the woods or even the boring old definite articles. I know that isn't probably most people's idea of fun in the bedroom... but maybe we just both found the right person at last, or perhaps just the only person that could put up with each of us. (And it isn't the only fun we have - we're not that old or sad yet!)

I guess I'm just in a rather pensive mood today as I am celebrating ten years and a day since I moved into his flat. Ten years ago today I woke up to the first day of a new life. Did I make the right decision back then? Yes, I made the perfect choice, for me, anyway!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


There's nothing quite as acerbic as a smaller sibling!

Anna bounced down wearing this T-shirt earlier. Amaia read it slowly, shook her head and stated: I'm not sure why you're wearing that because you don't, you wake up moany!