Wednesday, May 31, 2006


And so I have just spent 3 hours ironing - I knew learning 4 languages and spending 5 years studying for an MA degree would make my life more fulfilled :-( Anyway, I have one question to all the housewives, househusbands or general dogsbodies of the world. Where do all the socks go? With a family of 5, my washing machine does maybe 8, maybe 9 loads in a week (shocking, no? No wonder I spend my every waking hour at the ironing table) but somewhere socks go missing, some great sock-eating creature from outerspace stalks its way around my house and eats single socks. Today's basket contained a record 15 individual unmatched socks. Is that possible? I checked under the beds, the couches, in the washing baskets, behind furniture but they have vanished. They have simply vaporized! Could it be that the children accidentally came home from school, or swimming or whatever wearing just 1 sock - surely I would have noticed - surely they would have noticed? Even the baby has joined in! Please, I beg you, somebody tell me where the hell do all the socks go????!!!


I once heard a professional photographer being interviewed on TV. At first I dismissed what he said as a load of rubbish: you know the usual 'you mustn't see the soles of a baby's feet, their clothes must be similar in tone to the background' etcetc but then he said one thing that has always stuck in my mind because I think he was spot on: 'If you want to capture a child's personality, zoom in on the child's face and when you've gone as close as you think you can go, make sure you go just a tiny bit closer!' This is how I work whenever I can! See here Charlotte at 2, the first time she ever helped us out in the garden repotting some plants!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Scanning old photos to upload on to flickr, I came across drawings I had scanned in that the kids had done before they started school at 5. I remember one rainy day in the October of 2001, when Marcel had just turned 4, I gave him a book of fine art, told him to find a painting he liked and draw it for me to see if I could guess which one it was he had chosen. I was surprised how simple it was to work out given his age! Compare it here to the original and see just how much attention he'd paid to detail. I think the portraits on the bedroom walls are particularly sweet!


I'm scanning the Internet for articles on child development. I know as a mother of 3 I shouldn't need to but Léon is definitely not following the normal expected pattern: both Marcel and Charlotte learned to sit first, at 7 and 6 months respectively, then to crawl at 10 and 9 months, they said their first intelligible word at 11 months, then to stand around 12 months and finally to walk at 14 months.

Yesterday Léon was 8 months old. He's been standing since he was 4 months old, and is crawling backwards now, and has been since 7 months but he won't bend in the middle and refuses point blank to even attempt to sit. Watch this space to see if he is the first kid to walk before he can sit! Do I have another potentially stubborn little Charlotte on my hands, I wonder?

Monday, May 29, 2006


Decided to take my kids on a day trip to the Safari Park yesterday. Maybe not the best idea given Charlotte's inexplicable dislike of almost all animals...anyway we'd seen the rhinos, the elephants and the lions and I didn't think things were going too badly. How are you enjoying this I asked her. I'm a bit disappointed she replied - haven't seen a single Ferrari!
Guess she thought a trip to the Ferrari Park would be similar to being a spectator at the Monaco Grand Prix :-) The setting is pretty though.


Nothing seems to be happening here yet :-(

I wonder why?
Could it be:
1) He hasn't found it, despite both my emails.
2) He isn't happy I created his account and didn't leave it to him.
3) He has nothing interesting to tell us...

So which is it????

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Marcel and Charlotte decided this morning they need to buy some Yu-gi-oh cards off the internet. (Is there a single adult on the planet who understands Yu-gi-oh? The mere mention of the name has me cowering in a corner hoping I won't be asked to participate in a 'duel'!) They cost 50p. 'Where's the money slot on the computer', Charlotte asked when we came to paying for the cards, 'and where do the come out?... from the scanner???' She was appalled to learn they'd be delivered in a week's time by snailmail :-)


Dad has decided to have a blog too - that'll be interesting - if he manages to get into it! Have attached it to a cute photo for him - that alone is worth seeing! ;-)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


My internet service provider was down for the past 24 hours and I was starting to twitch sad is that? I must get a life! (Can you buy one online? ;-) )

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Tonight while making dinner I decided to listen to some music. Now I was in a funny mood and didn't fancy any of the usual cds scattered around the kitchen so I went through a pile of really old things and happened upon an old Simon and Garfunkel tape I hadn't listened to since I was an English assistant in France in 1987. Feeling nostalgic, I stuck it on and sang along word for word...why is it that your brain remembers song lyrics for 19 years word perfect but when you try to remember what you are meant to be working on in, say, the office, it is impossible even after a break of just a weekend? ;-)


Anyone reading my rantings on Thomas's blog will know I have been creating account after account on Flickr photo sharing to try to access the original account I opened when Thomas first suggested I use Flickr instead of filling everyone's inbox daily with my photos. I had tried everything and read and reread the FAQ to try to understand where I was going wrong. However FAQs don't deal with numpties of this magnitude. Finally today Flickr emailed me and asked whey I was trying to access Phyllis's account when my name was actually PHYLLS - a simple typo had been causing all the hassle. Anyway I can now access my PRO account by adopting this new pseudonym (am too scared to try changing it again in case it locks me back out!) So anyone who already has me as a contact will need to change my details to Phyl1, and future contacts need never know about the pbgautier account. By the end of the week I will have transferred all the photos onto the pro account.

Monday, May 22, 2006


It's not as easy to write about people who are still alive - since they might read it! Here they are though - the ones who made me. Dad and Mum, now and then.


Found an interesting one of my Granny, Jean Stirling (26-02-16->06-09-84)- she obviously wouldn't have minded being a zodiac monkey!

We lost her when I was 16 to a brain tumour - my first real experience of death - I guess I grew up that year :-(

And here's the first Phyllis Buchanan (29-07-17->30-01-68), the woman who gave me her name when she died the week I was born (pictured here with my dad). I know nothing about her unfortunately, but hope I'll learn it all one day when dad finally lets me read his book.


I couldn't have a photo of Granda and not have one of Gramps, Matthew Stirling (23-03-21->27-02-97)(aka Beermat because of his fondness of all things alcoholic!) He and Gran looked after me every Friday night till I turned 16, or rather Gran did while Gramps staked out the local pub then rolled home at closing time with a bar of Fry's Chocolate cream for me and Derek. I never found it in my heart to tell him I hated that chocolate!

I also have very fond memories of being driven about (he was a terrible driver) in the back of his plumber's van, sliding from side to side sitting on the spare wheel surrounded by smelly bits of old toilets! (Seatbelts weren't compulsory in the 70s, in fact neither were back seats - patently!)

One of my favourite webpages, as you all know. Check it out on Fridays around midday. This week they liked my bluebells.


When you fall down the stairs because you're carrying a chocolate cheesecake and do this much damage to your foot, maybe it's nature's way of telling you it's time to go on a diet?


I'm looking at my Blog Profile and I learn I'm a monkey: Zodiac Year: Monkey. Do I have to be a monkey? Can't I apply to be something else? A tiger, a dragon, even a rat? I profoundly dislike monkeys (long story probably too disgusting for this page ;-) - tho I might key it in if anyone shows an interest. I'm NOT happy!


Found this in Mothercare yesterday. Yes I know it looks like a potty but it's actually a soft baby armchair, at last little Léon can get a new perspective on life!


Derek and I on holiday in 1975 (Somewhere in NE England)! I always loved this photo. I remember it being taken - I felt like a movie star in my blue dress and shades ;-)

So I took the same photo of my own kids in 2004.


I can tell already that this is going to become extremely addictive! :-)


Thomas - you are turning me into a nerd! I only got a blog id so I could comment on your blog (it was compulsory) and now here I am sitting typing nonsense for the world to ignore, filling up cyberspace till it overflows! (How do you get the flickr photos down the right hand side?)


A photo of me with my granda William Buchanan(29-02-16->22-04-90) taken in 1968 (Don't I look like Léon here?) He died as the result of a housefire during my university finals - which wasn't much fun as I was his next of kin at the time with my parents on holiday abroad :-(


How does this blogging thing actually work??