Thursday, August 31, 2006


I see they finally found it - I'm glad :-)


For some time I have been wondering whether Léon will say Marcel before Charlotte or Charlotte before Marcel and who will end up killing the other in the aftermath. I did not occur to me that he might address both together. The past 3 nights after the older kids have gone to bed Léon has looked around the room, suddenly noticed they are missing and then shouted 'GUYSH!' very loudly. This morning as I was getting everyone ready for school I suddenly became aware of myself - 'Guys get up!', 'Guys get dressed!', 'Guys, brush your teeth!' 'Come on guys, hurry up, we're late!' etcetc I hadn't realized quite how often I address them together as 'Guys!' rather than individually. So I started to watch Léon - this word 'Guysh' only gets used when both Marcel and Charlotte are missing, outside or upstairs, it is always shouted loudly, so I think we have a first word, and I think we also have a wee guy who has managed skilfully to avoid causing a major battle! :-)


All summer Citroën have been harassing me about my Picasso. It was recalled for safety reasons - something to do with the wheels - apparently if they didn't urgently fit something to each wheel, the tyres were going to explode or something similar. I had a total of 3 recorded delivery letters in 7 weeks. Excuse me for not see the urgency but I have had this car since new, it is 4 years old and I have personally driven 40000 miles in it without a hitch so I assumed it could wait till after the school summer holidays to be fixed so I didn't need to hang about for 2 hours with three kids in their garage service bay. Anyway I gave in this morning and took it in, and had a nice walk by the Clydeside while they were repairing it (will blog or flickr those photos later).
While chatting to the man this morning I happened to mention that Charlotte, in one of her scientific experimental periods had inserted a 1 Euro coin into the cd player 6 months ago 'to see if there was any music on it as it looked like a little cd' and funnily enough my cd player had stopped working instantaneously. So today while fixing my wheels they removed my cd player, stripped it down, took out the Euro and guess what - it works again and it only cost me £27 to have it fixed, or rather Charlotte will be receiving a £27 bill when I pick her up from school later. I hope that will teach her that it is sometimes better to ask than to experiment.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


For 12 years I have been a member of Glasgow Jury's health club. No I am not a sporty health freak - I swim (very averagely), I sauna, I hang about in the jacuzzi, I think I did use the jogging machine twice, if that counts. I know all the staff, I know all the members, we've grown up and old together. They've had the delight of seeing me naked in the changing room, 9 months pregnant! I had Marcel not 24 hours after swimming in that pool. Both Marcel and Charlotte learned to swim there when they were four years old. But today I received a letter saying the health club and hotel had been bought over and would be closing down. How sad :-(


As a parent I currently wonder if my whole life is teeth?
Léon currently has six - two bottom, four top. For a week now he has crawled up and down the kitchen for half an hour every evening whining and stopping periodically to gnaw on a finger. His 9am wakenings too have switched to 5 or 6am this last week. I guess we are about to get two more incisors on the bottom.
Marcel has the opposite problem. He has all eight adult incisors. Unfortunately though his face isn't adult-sized so the outer two incisors on top are growing behind the middle ones meaning he can't brush the surface so can't keep them clean. So while Pudge moaned this afternoon about the teeth that were growing in, I took Marcel to the dentist to have his canine milk teeth removed to make room for his incisors to move out from behind the front teeth. Now as a parent who has nagged for 9 years that their child should brush his teeth several times daily, and not consume excessive amounts of sweets, I have to say I feel like a bit of a shit when I then say - well done, your teeth are healthy, sparkling white and cavity-free so today we'll get the dentist to pull them out anyway! :-( I, myself, have never had a tooth out or a dental injection so I didn't even know what I was taking him to but Marcel was very brave and didn't complain once, although I somehow got conned out of £2 for bravery he said!
All's well that ends well.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I don't understand my children! (Who does?) They are not the tidiest of little humans - Marcel is probably average, Charlotte on the other hand will need to study really hard at school because she'll need to earn enough to pay staff when she's older, she's the messiest child I ever met. She has an open empty toy box that you can't reach for the toys in front of it. She has an empty laundry basket you can only just see behind the pile of dirty clothes less than 5cm from it on the floor. On a good day I nag quietly (and get ignored). On a bad day I jump up and down and scream and shout and threaten (and get ignored).
But here's the thing - Léon has been spending the past month or two crawling around causing chaos. One day last week he took all the cds off the shelf in the library, Marcel walked by and spontaneously picked them up and put them back - I didn't ask him to, they didn't block his path, they didn't belong to him - Wow! He happliy cleared Léon's mess whereas his own is a different matter. However a more shocking thing was to happen at the weekend. Léon emptied the kitchen tins cupboard.
Charlotte was playing outside and skipped in through the kitchen door. She saw the mess, skipped over and put all the tins away, unasked. Now she hadn't seen Marcel tidy the cds last week so she too has an innate sense that somehow cleaning Léon's mess is acceptable. This is a child who needs to be tortured for a week just to put a single sock in her own laundry basket.


Monday, August 28, 2006


On the BBC today, given I have that delight ahead this afternoon :-( Let's hope they are right and there's no recall. Oh and tomorrow I have my dental check-up too. Since I've been on painkillers for mastitis all weekend, I can hardly wait to see what fun the second half of the week will hold...


As a small child, roughly 4, I remember Marcel becoming very distressed one day in a toyshop. He had seen a baseball-type bat in the window and wanted to buy it with some money he had saved. I said to him to go and ask the shop assistant to take it out of the window. He liked to talk to shop assistants and felt grown-up when I let him, but this time he collapsed in a heap of sobs. I couldn't understand his distress but he tried to explain to me that English wasn't specific enough and that if he asked for a bat, the woman wouldn't know if he wanted sports equipment or a nocturnal animal. It was inconceivable to his bilingual brain that a monolingual English speaker could deal with this ambiguity and still give him the correct thing. There was no convincing him that using the simple word bat would suffice. He went into a large description of the type of bat he meant. Sweet!

I guess he was 6 or even 7 before he realized that language differences like this were common and unproblematic.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I woke up this morning with a sore left boob, I'm sure the whole world is interested to hear! :-( A blocked milk duct, I assumed but as the morning has worn on I have gone from feeling uncomfortable to burning up, shaking, aching all over, feeling total exhaustion like I could sleep for a month. I have on 2 jumpers and a jacket though my car tells me the outside temperature is 17 degrees. I guess for just the second time in my life I have mastitis. Anyone who knows me, knows I am a bit of a militant breastfeeder by UK standards but this is the one side effect that has me crying like a little child begging for relief. I can do childbirth with no drugs but I just can't cope with mastitis :-( Anyone got a sedative that I can use to knock myself out for the next 2 or 3 days till I recover? :-(

Thursday, August 24, 2006


It's a sign of the times when the universe gets restructured and even poor little Pluto is made redundant.

I guess that's the thing about science - things are always changing. When I was a little girl my Gran used to tell me how at school she had learnt that we'd never split the atom and I used to laugh. I guess my kids will now be laughing at me when I say I learnt there were 9 planets in our solar system - how old-school is that!?


The other night I watched a documentary about the Airbus A380. When I was little I wanted to be an airline pilot. I'm not sure how I knew since I didn't go on a plane for the first time until I was 15, though I have made up for it since. Anyway, being a bit of a sad secret plane-spotter I enjoyed this look into the future of aviation. One bit did amaze me and that was the aircraft evacuation test. Apparently commercial aircraft only receive a license to fly if they can prove they can do an emergency evacuation in under 90 seconds. Airbus went Hamburg and took just under 900 volunteers - they were all put in the plane, the lights were turned off, obstacles and debris were placed in the aisles, 4 of the 8 doors were sealed shut and they were not told when the test would begin. They had to evacuate 900 people and all crew through 4 doors, my heart sank - I was never going to get a go on the A380 because it didn't stand a chance of passing this test! They showed the whole test filmed on infra-red camera and as all 900+ stood uninjured on the tarmac 78 seconds later, I sat in my seat totally dumbfounded.

Cool! Wonder where I'll fly to one day in that big bird :-)


He's so sweet sometimes. He's sitting here in front of our TV crying. The toy rattle he is playing with has rolled under the TV cabinet on which the DVD player etc sits. This cabinet is glass so he can see the rattle but every time he goes to pick it up his hand hits the glass and he bursts into tears - he has no concept of coming at it from beneath because he can see it through the glass. Awwwwh ;-)


I saw the BBC was looking for us to send in old British seaside pictures. I found some amazing ones in my family album from the 1920s. The clothing is quite sweet. Have a look here at my Granda and his Granny!

Monday, August 21, 2006


Surely 10 months is too young to take the piss?! On Saturday Léon was on the patio in the garden, he picked up a stone and put it in his mouth, I shouted at him, he picked up a leaf and put it in his mouth, I shouted at him, he picked some soil out of a plantpot and put it in his mouth, I shouted at him - he crawled a few steps, he open his tiny hand, he picked something off the patio and put it in his mouth so I shouted at him again, he turned round smiled and opened his mouth, there was nothing in it this time, again he pretended to pick something up and put it in his mouth, again I shouted and again he laughed and showed me it had been a deliberate joke. This one is going to be a handful!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Today a jeep zoomed past my car in the fast lane of the motorway. On the back was a large red sticker that read 'Jesus is my airbag'. I was brought up in a family with no religion. From my earliest childhood I remember being taught astronomy, science etc and although religion was a topic we learned about at school, we weren't taught what we could believe, more what others believed. Religion always belonged to other people. I was an outsider and always would be. I smiled to myself as the jeep recklessly overtook me and I thought: it must be nice to have an airbag like that, it must make life just a tiny bit easier :-)


Anyone who knows me, knows I am an easy-going person - there aren't many things, or people I don't get on with in this life BUT wasps are a different matter! What are wasps for? Dreadful, annoying vermin. If you could apply to some superior being to have a species eliminated from the face of the Earth, wasps would definitley be up there in my top 3 or 4! One dared sting me on 17-8-03 and I've hated them even more since then - with a vengeance. OK rant over...


Léon learned to crawl properly in a park in Edinburgh on 5 August after a month of groaning and creeping backwards and standing on hands and feet looking like a crab. Now I have 2 other kids, so how come I had managed to completely forget the utter chaos that ensues in the first weeks after they learn to crawl? He zooms round the house like a mini-tornado emptying every box, cupboard in his path and knocking over everything that is neatly stacked. As I run around trying to keep up, I spare a thought for these crazy 60-something IVF mums - they must be insane - or they don't know what is awaiting them in a few months time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Will that crazy child never cease to amaze me? When asked last week by Oma what she wanted to be when she grows up, Charlotte pondered a minute, then announced as if out of nowhere 'a pole vaulter I think!'


In the future if we're banned from taking our cameras into the plane cabin, this is the kind of image we'll have to try to engrave on our memories instead of our computer hard disks. Why make the world a sadder place by giving in to these people?


This is the moon rising at 33000ft somewhere between Glasgow and Frankfurt - try describing that to someone who has never been on a plane.


So as usual I was abroad when a major terrorist scare took place. Having flown from Barcelona to London the week of 9/11 these things don't really faze me I have to say - I always figure the best time to fly is just after one of these scares.

Anyway my first thought was - hey I'll get my flight to NY in October cheap! My second thought was - shit they'll spend 3 hours checking me in in Frankfurt which'll be a pain with all 3 kids in tow. How wrong I was. I was not well equipped to fly with no hand luggage - I had a camera, a camcorder, a laptop and 2 ipods with I packed for worst case scenario - the small things got wrapped up in clothes in my rucksack, the laptop was put in the case and I hoped my insurance would pay if someone stole them all! The camera is faulty at the moment so I was less than worried about it! I got to the check in and asked what had changed since Tuesday when I had flown to Germany. Nothing! was the reply. So I can take onboard my computer, my camera etc? Yes came the reply - and some juice and crisps for my kids? - again yes was the reply. Oh well. I caused chaos as I repacked my case and rucksack then checked them on and got on the flight home. This flight has a 45 min stopover in Prestwick before turning round and flying back to Frankfurt.

At the airport in Prestwick things were very different. Policemen were patrolling outnumbering passengers and carrying large machine guns. More stood in a ring round the perimeter fence and at the end of the runway. People were being handed clear poly bags for their passport and wallet and being told to check everything else into the hold. Large notices hung everywhere warning all food and drinks had to be consumed before entering the aircraft as they'd be confiscated. This was the same plane I had been on 10 minutes earlier with 5 electrical appliances, two bottles of coke and 3 bags of crisps!

Come on! These terrorists go to all lengths - they learn to fly 757s and crash them into buildings for goodness sake so what is the point in all the security in the UK - surely these guys will quickly work out they have to blow the plane up on their homeward journey and not the outbound flight! That way they even get to have a nice holiday before blowing themselves up! This is just laughably silly.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Marcel, needless to say, still hasn't got over France's loss. Because he had watched the 1998 final from his baby buggy and seen them win, in his head it was inevitable that his baby brother would have an identical experience to recount 8 years from now. Charlotte knew either could win and was quite philosophical, but to Marcel losing was inconceivable. So when he received money for his 9th birthday last week, he went out and bought the Play Station Game FIFA 2006 and has sat day and night ever since replaying the penalties and puzzling over why Trézéguet always manages to score when he, Marcel, is at the controls!

I guess disappointment is part of growing up - he probably felt the same that day as I did at 11 when I queued for hours with my Granny to buy tickets to see ABBA when they came to Glasgow only to be told they were sold out when I reached the front of the queue. I thought the world had come to an end!


Came in to hear my kids singing this this evening. Quite catchy, apparently it is top of the French charts at the moment. Marcel particularly likes the bit about Trézéguet. It got me thinking about the cultural differences between such a close neighbour and the English. Imagine England had got to the world cup final and lost it because Beckham had head-butted someone and got sent off - he'd be in hiding living with daily death threats - the French however didn't instantly remove Zidane's national hero status after one fault - instead they had a laugh and a party! I guess you can't accuse them of being bad losers anyway!

Oh check this out too!