Sunday, December 30, 2007


Phyllis/Thomas mixture
Originally uploaded by
When we were considering having a child, Thomas decided to play about with gimp mixing our features to see what kind of child we might make. Strangely after seeing both our possible future daughter, pictured here (my face with Thomas's eyes and mouth) and our potential son, I still agreed to go ahead. I must have been mad or brave or both. Fortunately, Anna does not yet seem to resemble this freaky child!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I saw Thomas had blogged the birth right the way through from the triage farce to the arrival of Anna. I thought I'd leave myself a day or two to get over the shock before blogging the same from my perspective!
We'd had a bit of a fraught 3 days where I monitored every twinge, mainly because Thomas's parents had flown in to meet the baby so we so desperately didn't want their trip to be in vain... Anna had other plans however. Finally on Tuesday, the date I had calculated from my period to be my due date, Thomas came home from work and mentioned an ex-colleague, Elspeth, had suggested a massage between my thumb and forefinger would do the trick. Laughing, he held each of my hands and rubbed them for 30 seconds or maybe less. An hour later, I sat down on the couch to watch Gordon Ramsay and felt my waters break! Coincidence, I suspect! It was 7-30pm. I monitored contractions thereafter. They were mild and infrequent and by 10pm I figured labour wasn't going to start till morning.

In bed I felt them become stronger and didn't manage to sleep. After midnight I felt things were becoming more imminent so I woke Thomas and my dad at 1am. In the 20 or so minutes I waited on my parents to arrive to babysit the others, I had frequent, painful but short contractions so assumed the birth would be like Pudge's and mentally estimated it at 10am.
On arrival at triage, a fairly grumpy midwife confirmed I was only 1 to 2cm dilated and insisted I lie on a bed hooked up to 2 monitors, one measuring contractions, the other, the baby's heartbeat for half an hour. This was sheer torture. Anyone who has ever been in labour knows lying on your back is on a par with lying on a train track watching the virgin west coast intercity hurtling towards you. Unable to lie still I watched these monitors slip all around my belly, not registering any of the contractions while the grumpy midwife waited next door, popping in flippantly declaring from time to time that I wasn't really contracting much... if I'd been within reach of a machete, Derek would have been defending me in court next week! Not bloody contracting? I was contracting every 3 or 4 minutes for a minute or more. Worse still the baby heart monitor was also slipping about, not registering, so looking like the baby was asleep, therefore confirming to the numpty nurse that my baby wasn't even noticing the contractions and therefore that I wasn't really in labour yet. She suggested returning home or sleeping overnight in an all-female ward while waiting for labour to start. I had been unable to sit in dad's car on the way in at 1-30, so I sure wasn't going to sit in a taxi back then in my dad's car again the following morning at rush hour. I also didn't believe I wasn't in labour as I couldn't stand, walk, sit, lie and was in excruciating pain. I quite believed it would take all night as I have always had 20 hour labours but I knew I was already in advanced labour.
We reluctantly opted for the women's ward. I was quite annoyed given the triage ward with its 3 or 4 beds was completely empty and Thomas was allowed there. He went out to reception, I went next door to another empty ward and they left me beside a hospital bed that was up as high as it could go in a room where all the chairs were at the other side of the room. I was in too much pain to try to adjust the bed, I was in too much pain to cross the room to get a chair. Between the next 2 or 3 contractions, I slowly crossed the room and walked a chair back, unable to lift it. I had been abandoned so couldn't ask for help. I sat down on the chair backwards leaning on the back and waited maybe another 15 minutes. I felt desperately sick and started to reanalyse my birth plan request for no morphine. Morphine makes me sick so I didn't want it but figuring I already felt like vomiting and potentially had another 8 hours ahead alone, I decided to attempt to cross the room to the buzzer and ask the midwife's opinion. It took ten minutes to walk the 10 paces to the buzzer. A new midwife arrived nonchalantly on the scene. I started to explain I was considering morphine for those reasons when I felt a great deal of pressure in my bottom. The midwife looked panicked and asked me to quickly jump on the bed for an internal because I wasn't acting like the 1cm dilated patient they had been told to expect and had been ignoring assuming she was tucked up in bed for the night.
She helped me on to the bed and put her fingers into me. I'm so sorry, she told me - I assumed that was to be followed by - you are still only 2cm dilated but in fact it was followed by: you shouldn't be here, you should be upstairs, you are nearly 7cm dilated and if you have dilated that far in half an hour you must be in terrible pain! I cancelled the morphine, realizing the degree of pain was actually in keeping with the degree of labour... and I wished once more for a machete..
Buzzers were pressed, wheelchairs ordered, Thomas found and we ran to the lifts to get me upstairs in a record 5 minutes. Within 10 minutes of arriving upstairs, I was fully dilated and ready to start the pushing phase. I remember little of the next 15 minutes. I know there were foetal heart problems and I was made to turn round while a monitor was fitted. I know I was given oxygen and it ran out which felt like someone was strangling me, so I had to scream at them twice that the tank was empty before they heard.
Finally I felt her head pop out about 30 minutes after arriving upstairs. The nurse, this one was lovely, as was the 2nd one, started to tell me not to push her out till the next contraction, but as I felt her shoot across the bed, simply fell silent. The heart problems, it turned out, were caused by the cord being wrapped around her neck.
Thomas tells me he cut the cord but to be honest, I was only vaguely aware of that, as I was still shaking in shock on the bed slowly coming to terms with going through 10 hours of labour in slightly more than 1h30!
I think they felt guilty at the cock-up because the usual 1 hour you get to spend together postnatally in delivery eating toast went on from 4-24am to 7am, in this case, leaving me time for a bath, some extra toast and also the loss of several scarily large bloodclots.

Saturday, December 22, 2007



I have now had 4 kids, all at the Queen Mother's maternity hospital in Glasgow. As the trance of birth, caused by pain or adrenalin or whatever wears off each time, I find myself slowly rejoining reality staring up at the ceiling where in the corner of each room is a socket and wondering what possible purpose a socket 3 metres off the ground can serve? Now, I didn't have any drugs the last 3 times so this is definitely not just in my imagination and to prove it this time I got Thomas to take a photo of it along with the many others he took of Anna that day... Answers on a postcard please!?


Today was a bit of an eye opener. At one point I mentioned that the baby needed to eat. Léon suggested 'tatoes. I replied that babies only ate milk at first. He went to the kitchen looking for a cup. I told him that I meant the milk in my breasts and he looked completely blank. Bearing in mind I breastfed Léon until he was 22 months old and stopped during our trip to Denmark this summer, and considering he is now only 26 months old, I was quite surprised he had no recollection of his beloved milk. After finishing a feed I noticed Anna had milk running down her chin. I dipped my finger in it and called Léon over. Lick this, I told him. He licked, screwed up his face and announced vehemently That's disgusting water!
I feel oddly sad!

Friday, December 21, 2007


After mentioning a few days ago that I'd have a comment to make if the baby should turn up on the due date predicted by my period rather than by my scan - well she did neither but my waters did break on the 18th...

Monday, December 17, 2007


Saw this last week - I thought I'd share it with you:

If pregnancy were a book, the editor would probably cut the last 2 chapters...

I can relate to that, in fact now I am past the end of the last chapter, I am beginning to wonder what the editor would do with the epilogue!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I can't help but notice that poor Dougal has finally died and his stuffed body is being used ornamentally outside Silverburn shopping centre - who on earth thought a stuffed Dougal was in any way aesthetically pleasing or a positive addition to the Pollock landscape? Who decides what is artistic and what isn't, I wonder?

Saturday, December 15, 2007


This baby has my reputation in tatters - I have never got beyond week 39+ before and here I am sitting 1 day overdue with no more twinges or contractions than I was having back on November 30th. Now, I can think of two reasons: Is it the different genetic make-up that is causing this or is it the so-called advances in medicine? I mean all my other due dates were based on my last menstrual period plus 40 weeks, but this one was originally given to me as December 18th but changed to December 14th once scan measurements were taken, the hospital claiming that scans were much more accurate than the human menstrual cycle... If she does happen to turn up Tuesday, I know what I'll be saying about scans but that'll be cold comfort to Thomas's parents who flew in yesterday for 3 days to meet someone who, for now, is still cosily tucked up on my insides! Will attempt one last curry and raspberry tea tonight for their benefit but I don't hold out much hope :-(

Hope this posting answers the flood of email arriving in my inbox daily, entitled: 'You still here?'

Friday, December 14, 2007


In exactly 56 minutes I will be 40 weeks pregnant. I have never been 40 weeks pregnant before in my life. I am not a happy bunny. Forty seems to be becoming a more and more significant number in my life at the moment...6 weeks till I'm 40 years old, 40 weeks pregnant - as long as it doesn't also mean 40 hours in labour.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Have I moaned about our new kitchen? It looked fairly bland but functional when we first moved in - how wrong can first impressions be? Firstly, when there are 5 of you and 2 out at work, then the dishes take every free minute in the evening and leave you no time for DIY, family life etc, so number one priority had to be to buy a dishwasher we couldn't afford and have Thomas plumb it in as plumbers are too dear.
Then there's the built-in oven. Now if you bought a house with a dirty built-in oven - wouldn't you assume it had actually been used? Or would you assume John Wayne had been round with his cowboy mates building it in without actually linking it to the electric circuit, and worse still tiling over the cooker socket so you can't find it to reattach? A real electrician has since quoted us £250 to rewire it all the way to circuit board 2 rooms away...
At least the integral fridge and freezer are working... well kind of - I mean the light doesn't work in the fridge so I'm not overly sure it works at all and milk goes off every 2nd day because it isn't cold enough but at least there's nothing wrong with the freezer - well apart from the fact that the door fell off it last week so it suddenly didn't look so integral, oh and the fact that today everything in the top drawer defrosted suddenly without warning. Talk about bloody cowboys - it is just as well we were planning to install a new kitchen eventually anyway but it is so frustrating not being able to make anything at all oven based in the meantime - with kids constantly moaning about steak pies and pizzas and Yorkshire puddings... I just hope they didn't use John and his mates for the extension too!

Monday, December 10, 2007


For months now all we've been hearing about is global warming, carbon footprints and all that stuff. We're all supposed to stop flying and go back to holidaying in Largs, to work from home and recycle everything from our knickers to our beer bottles...maybe Al Gore hasn't driven through Newton Mearns recently - the true cause of global warming is here and on display for everyone to see - just beside the new expressway to East Kilbride! ;-)


Today, with still no baby on the scene, I have managed to gut the kitchen, find the tools in the garage despite the 2 degree temperature outside, sand down a chest of drawers and give it 2 coats of varnish, fix two antique lamps by taking them to pieces, then take the hoover to pieces and fix it, removing about 3 years of long hair entwined in its blades, tidy and hoover the living room and administer piriton to Pudge who seems to have developed an allergy to the sweets he was given at HCP's staff Christmas party yesterday, and administer paracetamol to Marcel who is running a temperature...Tonight I have a hospital appointment to check me over - if I can fit it in! Oh and I'm just back from the doctor who has ascertained the baby who was the right way round last week is now OP - grrrrrr!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Now that I have resigned myself to the fact that baby wotsit is in no rush, I feel like I am finally getting somewhere. I decided to DIY. I started, gingerly standing on a chair and a toy chest so I could attach a row of screws above Marcel's window, so I could then attach a curtain rail and thereafter a pair of curtains. Neither the chair nor the toy chest broke under my weight - result! After that I decided to stain and varnish the toy chest, and after that I decided to repair a ceiling-height bookshelf and then stain and varnish that. Next on my list was starting to work my way through Pudge's room, sorting toys, throwing out pieces of ex-toys and trying to find the floor. I didn't quite get that task finished but hey - not bad for 39+ weeks pregnant, no?

Nesting instinct? Never...?


I read today with little surprise that Scotland's population is falling because we aren't having enough kids. (Ok, refrain from any comments on me myself)!
Now Scotland, if you don't know it, is a country where the average female graduate salary does not cover two simultaneous private nursery places for under 5s, where the average house price requires two salaries to pay it and where students aren't out of debt from their uni days till they are into their 30s... and they report people are having less than two kids but want more... hmmm - I know I'm no rocket scientist but come on?

Friday, December 07, 2007


Originally uploaded by viralbus
In the flat we have an all-in-one fridge freezer with the fridge on the top. I hadn't realized until the last few days quite how much less hassle that is with little kids. Here in the house we have a hopefully-soon-to-be-replaced built-in fridge and freezer separately under the worktops. Not only don't they work - milk goes off after a couple of days, but they are space-consuming and patently way too accessible! Two or three days ago I found yogurt on the living room carpet and on investigation found Léon had helped himself to yogurt he could reach but eaten it with his fingers given he can't reach the cutlery drawer :-(
Today took the biscuit though. I was busy in the living room. Everyone else in the family was upstairs... Léon was quiet... Léon was too quiet. He walked in and announced 'cheese' to me then walked up to Thomas and announced 'ost', and proceeded to sit down on his little red chair and munch his way through at least half a block of mature cheddar before I managed to salvage enough to put over everyone else's pasta!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I had absolutely no intention of reaching my last day in the office, assuming, like last time, that the baby would be well and truly on the outside long before the end of last week, so to find myself still pregnant nearly a week after my cake is wholly unacceptable! I am now 1 day off reaching 39 weeks and starting into my 40th week - come on, what is going on?! Anyone would think it is warm and cosy in there compared to Glasgow in December... hmmmm, maybe she has a point... I wouldn't mind so much if I hadn't had to endure a week of contractions on and off, like the baby is taking the mickey...
I suppose if I was a betting man, my money would be on tomorrow... I am meant to be going to a funeral in the morning and Charlotte also wants me to go into school to take part in some Christmas-decoration-making activity for parents, not to mention my book club also expects me to make an appearance at 7ish, having finished some book I haven't had the energy to start because of all the contractions!
Failing that I'd go for Sunday - the date for the HarperCollins annual staff childrens' Xmas party - failure to attend that is sure to find me dead, knifed in my bed one morning given that it can be summed up as 2 hours solid free teethrotting sweets positively being forced upon them plus a free gift :-\


A sleepy sausage
Originally uploaded by PhylB
How can anyone fall this soundly asleep after a car journey lasting less than 3 minutes?! I guess someone had a hard day!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Charlotte the hairdresser
Originally uploaded by viralbus
You may remember in the spring, Marcel was stupid enough to cut off his hair. At the time I thought I'd dealt with all the available stupidity in this family. This weekend Charlotte was at André's. When she comes back she usually has straggly hair falling in her eyes and we argue about the need for her to comb her hair, and put in a hair clasp. This Sunday though she returned with her hair combed and swept away from her eyes. On Monday after school, however I got a closer look, the crazy child had only gone and done exactly the same as her brother! They each have a cow's lick to the right of their forehead - and now apparently they have both decided to find out the hard way that simply cutting it short does not stop it from growing that way. The only problem is that where Marcel's hair could be cut short and regrow in a month or so, Charlotte's is supposed to be the same length all round - so if that 2 mm chunk is now to reach half way down her back - we are looking at a 3 year wait - silly girl. And why do that a week before I am likely to want to take a photo or 20 of her with her new sister. Give me strength!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Mutton biryani
Originally uploaded by trudence
Today Thomas and I decided to go for lunch at the little known Village Curry House in Glasgow's Nelson street. It isn't at all expensive but uses some of the freshest ingredients you can get and really is worth the detour. Better still, because it doesn't serve any alcohol, it compensates by making what has to be the yummiest mango smoothies in the West of Scotland. Every time we go there, I make a mental note to myself not to go to any other Indian restaurants ever again. Please remind me next time.

(By the way, the curry didn't work, so I'm away to make another cup of raspberry tea...) :-(

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I have been unable to do any DIY all day - I've managed the washing and putting on the dishwasher and am now trying to psych myself up to hanging up the washing, but I did start the day intending to wash, iron, tidy, paint a toy chest, hang some curtains, get some Xmas shopping and pick up some furniture from the flat. Instead I have sat on the couch grumping like a large tired whale watching Gordon Ramsay swear at people - quite therapeutic. So I thought I'd google some natural ways to induce birth, figuring if I am too heavy with Bart on the inside to do anything useful, I need to get Bart on the outside. Julie did give me the raspberry tea mentioned on this list as a leaving present when I left work yesterday. Three cups on it has done eff all, though it is quite pleasantly fruity. I must say I find some of the suggestions more tempting than others, and haven't rushed for the castor oil yet. Maybe my best bet is to send Thomas out to buy me some new, expensive fancy pants before la Senza up at ASDA closes tonight...

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Playing about with some festive nonsense given to me be an equally pregnant work colleague today (thanks Julie!) - isn't it nice to be skinny again? ;-) Go on give it a go!


Baby clothes
Originally uploaded by
I actually made it to the cake this time! Or maybe the fact that they brought the cake forward to meet me might actually have helped - time will tell. Basically, I was meant to finish up to have Léon on Friday the 30th of September 2005 but woke up a couple of hours after going to bed on the Wednesday night, in labour and had him the day before I was due to receive my cake, and presents. I guess they were so scared of a repeat, they had the cake and presents today, despite the fact that I am still meant to be around until tomorrow at 1pm! As we speak (10-41pm on the 29th, I have not yet gone into labour - I feel positively overdue suddenly!) Don't tell me I am even going to manage to work my last day, tidy my desk and do my dishes - how depressing...time to go looking for the raspberry leaf tea?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Ghetto blaster!
Originally uploaded by PhylB

Léon came into the dining room tonight having found this old ghetto blaster in a box that was still to be unpacked. He asked what it was and we replied a ghetto blaster. He thought seriously a moment, then wandered away happily muttering telly bastard to himself over and over!

Note to self: must speak more clearly in future...


You probably remember my vanishing blood tests from last month... I ended up wandering around anaemic for 6 weeks because of some blood tests lost in the post. Now the hospital has actually only wanted to see me twice in the last 25 weeks - something I find fairly surprising given I'm 8 weeks off 40, but there you go. The first time they took and lost blood tests, at 28 weeks pregnant. The second time they saw me at 34 weeks they sent away urine samples because they suspected several problems - they'd found protein, sugar and nitrites they wanted to investigate. I was to phone my GP a week later. A week later he'd received nothing, 2 weeks later, he'd received nothing. He told me to ring the hospital, who told me to ring the GP. Today - as I reach the beginning of the 39th week I get a letter from the hospital saying my urine had been untestable and telling me to go have it repeated at my GP's surgery next week and that I'd get the results the following week - quite frankly - what is the point in that if I have 2 weeks left to go and Léon was nearly 3 weeks early? I will be ignoring their letter - I'll just leave them to test the baby herself whenever she pops out...

Monday, November 26, 2007


Marcel and his pals are all majorly into Bebo these days. As far as I know you are meant to be 15 to be able to get a Bebo account, but just as us 80s kids sat reading Just 17 at the tender age of 13, today's kids want to be 15 at 10, so are creating pretend dates of birth to get on to Bebo.
I have a Facebook account myself, though I don't use it much, but Bebo is definitely aimed at a much younger audience, I feel - it's bright, it's messy, it's noisy and trendy - in short it makes me feel old. I mentioned Facebook to Marcel and he looked blank - I logged in to show him it. He looked for 2 minutes and concluded - oh Facebook is a tidy boring Bebo for adults! I actually find it quite strange Bebo is pretending to be enforcing a 15 limit, given Marcel and many of his school friends have not only uploaded photos, showing they are really just little kids, they have created groups like 'Kirkhill primary' group - primary? A sure giveaway you aren't 15 if you go to primary school, no?!
Anyway, as is to be expected - the Bebo pages are full of little kids trying to sound all grown up using pseudo swear words etc. I figured my best bet, instead of heavyhandedly banning its use, was a bit of supervising, and threatening to check up and actually creating a Bebo account of my own, linking it to Marcel's so I would be notified of any updates he makes, and logging onto it periodically. At first it seemed to gain me some 'cool' Brownie points - a mum with a Bebo account! Within 2 hours of creation, I'd had an email from his 11 year old friend Kristian asking me to be his 'friend'! Sweet! By the time Marcel got in from school, however, I think the cool factor was wearing thinner - he asked me to log in so he could create a profile for me, complete with photo and a background of red roses chosen by Charlotte - I think my bare bones Bebo was starting to embarrass them. By tomorrow they'll have attached some dodgy Youtube clips, a gif or two of Homer Simpson farting or burping and no doubt some stick dogs shagging!
I have to conclude I am way too old for Bebo, I can just about cope with Facebook, but am really more of a Bloggy Flickrer myself, sorry!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I am less than impressed today by ASDA's deal of the week. Have a look at this bottle. Any 2 for £2. Great... except that I only bought one and it cost me... 98p. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to work that one out, does it?!


You really couldn't fail to win after a start to the night like this, could you? :-)


This morning Thomas had stuck on Kaj and Andrea for Pudge - a programme he remembered from his own childhood (in particular because Charlotte had kindly zapped the episode of In the Night Garden he had asked to watch because she didn't like the 'Pontipines'). Léon was happy to watch this but I must admit I nearly fell over crying with laughter when I saw the bloke's 70s dress sense - in fact the spotty shirt and yellow hand-knitted tanktop were so appalling, I swear it took me at least 10 minutes to even notice the rather fetching hairdo and beard that accompained the clothing!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


petrol prices
Originally uploaded by Yak Climb Eat Sleep Repeat
Am starting to think I should be looking even more at baby Fiats than I was yesterday, though I doubt they have 7 seats. I drive a car with a bloody 80 litre fuel tank on a part time salary. At this inflation rate, I will soon have to pick it up on my back and carry it!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


You know very well that these days I am definitely a big car driver - anything with fewer than 7 seats feels positively claustrophobic. But back in the late 80s when I went to live in Italy as a student, I positively fell in love with the old Fiat 500, and made sure the first car I ever bought was a baby Fiat. Today I doubt my large family would fit in a Fiat 500, but if I had to get something wee and cute just for me alone, I would have to consider this. I even hear it just won cutest tiny car of the year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Tee hee hee!


Given we have minus no money, I thought a cheaper way to end up with curtains that fitted Marcel's bedroom was to dye the hideous brown things left by the previous owner, since they definitely don't go with the red walls, rather than to splash out on new curtains. Dye itself was a tenner but still better than curtains. On Sunday I read all the instructions carefully and put curtain number one and box of dye number one in my washing machine. As the cycle started, I could see almost nothing for black dye - great - just the effect I was looking for. When we returned, however, from a trip to the flat on Sunday evening all the dye had beautifully coloured the cream lining black, leaving the American tan curtains completely unchanged :-\ I now have two tan curtains, one with a cream lining, one with a greyish black lining and they still don't go in the room. Ho hum.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


 Aix market Originally uploaded by PhylB
Thomas and I were discussing food markets the other day after seeing footage of Gordon Ramsay going round a market in Paris looking for fresh ingredients. Having spent many years in France, on and off, there is nothing quite like a French food market, not just for fresh and mouthwatering ingredients but also as a photographer's dream. Bursts of colour juxtaposed - truly beautiful, wonderfully tasty and exquisitely aromatic. We found the same in the huge food market in Riga (Latvia) last autumn too. The pomegranates were amazing. Then in the summer, Thomas took the kids and I to a north African market in Denmark. Again mile after mile of fruit, vegetables, and spices by the bucket load. Why are we the poor men of Europe as always? Why do we in Britain put up with 2 and a half aisles in the local Tesco or nothing? If there was one thing I could import into Glasgow because it is severely lacking - it has to be the fresh food markets.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I met an old mate in the pub last night. He predicted I'd go into labour at 7pm tonight. Why? Well, he said that when Scotland beat Italy the whole country jumping and dancing at once would cause such huge vibrations that it'd start my labour. Looks like you were wrong, Gerry :-( No jumping happening here!

...1 hour later - why oh why are England always so bloody hoachy?


Crunch day
Originally uploaded by PhylB
This van seems fairly typical of Glasgow this weekend, if you look closely at the graffiti on the back of the van! Today, Scotland is playing Italy to try to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in a decade. Yesterday the whole country, all the way down to Pudge was meant to attend work, school, nursery decked out in a Scotland football strip. Last night Thomas and I went to the pub for Elspeth (a work colleague)'s leaving do and in the 5 minutes we walked up Saltmarket, 2 bright pink limos passed us with teenage girls hanging out the windows singing 'Flower of Scotland' at the top of their lungs! The atmosphere is great. I hope that the team's effort will mirror the fever in the country. Apparently if we win, we qualify, if we lose we are out, if we draw, the whole thing depends on the other results in the group and is out of our hands. Call me a cynic, but I'm going to bet on a draw where the other results put us out. Scotland is famous for that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Already I can't walk the length of the office without feeling her head rubbing off the inside of my pelvis. I dreamt the other night she'd a hand hanging out and could actually wave to passers-by. Surely she's way too low to spend 29 more days in there? Maybe giving 30 November as my date for starting maternity leave was unnecessarily optimistic... I think I was going on the opinion that she'd have to stay in there that long to give me time to finish my work in the office, to sell the flat and move the stuff here, to pick up the books from storage, etc but I'm not sure pregnancy works quite like that...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Gordon Ramsay at Claridges
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
I definitely think kids are getting older quicker. When I was 10 I vaguely remember pretending to be one of Charlie's Angels and running around with a toy pistol solving bogus mysteries. Today Marcel and his schoolmate Robert were sitting in my living room discussing the new cookery series with Gordon Ramsay. They were discussing the immaturity of last night's restaurant owner, Rachel thirty-something, how she was a spoilt brat and how they wouldn't have helped bail her out financially, had they been her father! Amazing!

Sunday, November 11, 2007



Tonight Léon managed his potty for the first time ever! He was so sweet. We've been asking him to sit on it and get used to it now for a good 2 or 3 months every night before his bath. Tonight we asked him to sit on it while running the bath and went into the kitchen. Léon came running in naked and then took us through. Suddenly he looked rather apprehensive. When Thomas and I started shrieking, he looked positively scared but as he listened and realized we were telling him how clever and grown-up etc he was, a broad smile suddenly came across his face. Thomas gave him a wine gum worm as a treat and he spent 15 minutes chewing on it repeating to himself in several languages quite how clever he was!


Well, I for one am looking forward to my annual meeting with my boss this year to ask for a rise. Why? Well, usually a pitiful 2.5% or similar is on the table, and they cite inflation rates as the reason. I always find this crippling, given nursery (and everything else in my life) seems to run at nearer 5% so year after year I get a virtual pay cut. This year I will be going in armed with my IKEA receipt from this afternoon. About 3 weeks ago I bought Léon IKEA's kids' meatballs at £1 for 5, today however the same 5 meatballs seem to cost £1.50. Now I know IKEA is cheap to start with, a real bargain, but I don't see why that gives them the right to increase the prices by 50%. If inflation is truly running around 2.5%, then I am quite happy for IKEA to increase the price of my baby's meatballs by 5p every 2 years, no more, no less.


Telepathy seems to be alive and well and living in Newton Mearns!

Friday, November 09, 2007


Pregnancy is so strange. I woke up at 3am and felt a sudden urge to blog Creamola Foam! My granny used to buy Derek and I it as a treat on Friday evenings when I was 7 or 8 years old and I suddenly remembered how much I loved it. Of course thinking back on it, it was probably an unhealthy mix of sugar and acid of some sort that these days would be expected to kill a child at 100 paces but I would love to taste it once more just to confirm that theory. But apparently they no longer make it :-(


This carpal tunnel syndrome is really starting to bite now. It is always worst first thing in the morning because of the way you hold your wrists when you sleep. At 3am I got up to go to the loo and when I returned fajita man (as I call him) had wrapped himself in the duvet. I tried to pull it back off him but had no strength left in my arms to pull it. Nor could I grasp the material, so I had to waken him up to get my portion back. Then this morning I couldn't hold my pants to get them on - how humiliating is pregnancy?! And finally holding the steering wheel and pulling the gear stick was also on the edge of my ability. So I am reluctantly digging out my splints to wear to bed tonight - ho hum. It is funny - I last had it badly when I was pregnant with Marcel but I vividly remember that even by 12 hours after birth, the fuzzy finger syndrome was starting to subside...phew! (D-day -4 weeks and 6 days and counting.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I just don't get where the UK is going... I know this probably sounds a bit contradictory, given I am just a few weeks short of 40 myself, and am 8 months pregnant, but I think that taking that as what we should all be striving for is quite crazy. I defintely felt in my 20s in the UK that it was wholly unacceptable for someone with a university education to strive to become a mother before 30 at the very earliest. At 30 you were considered an overly maternal weirdo but it was just about ok, though the subtext was always that you should wait till 35 to 40 to start a family.
This is madness.
I had Marcel at 29, and Lots just 4 weeks before I turned 32. I felt it was just about right. I had had time for uni, time to backpack round Europe till my heart was content, time to work a bit and buy my first flat and I was young enough to cope with the sleepless nights, working full time for years on end on broken sleep.
I had Léon just before I turned 38. The pregnancy was harder. My hips hurt more, I was tireder, everything just a little slower. This time round the same is true. I lie awake in pain from my hips night after night and feel exhausted trying to work a 21 hour week.
What I am trying to say is that I have tried pregnancy at 30 and at 40 and your body is definitely better suited to it at 30. You conceive quicker too. You have fewer complications, fewer miscarriages. You give birth to babies who in general stand a much better chance of still having grandparents into their young adulthood. Why is this so frowned upon here? Why am I less of a woman if I put babies before career? I've tried both and I know for sure which is the more important job. Ironically, over my years in industry I have watched a succession of real career women work hard till their late 30s, try to squeeze in a late baby and then realize that is what they preferred all along. And those are the lucky ones - the ones who didn't leave it too late. More and more in the UK with stagnant wages but ever-rising nursery costs people turn to their parents for childcare but how does that work? It is bad enough with this generation, our 20-something parents are becoming grandparents mid-60s and yet many are expecting those 60-somethings to babysit 7 hours a day for up to 5 years per grandchild, but imagine our kids also wait to 40 - will I be expected to babysit Léon's or the new baby's kids daily from 80-85, if I am alive and not yet senile? Crazy! But if costs keep rising there will be no alternative. Currently you generally need two salaries to pay a mortgage, and yet each child costs you £600-£700 a month in nursery fees for 4 years minimum. I calculated once that I had laid out £60K on childcare by the time Charlotte started school at 5. Something needs to change.
I firmly believe we should stop pressurizing women to wait. I'd happily have started having kids around 26 but felt society would frown on me for squandering my education if I did. I think my kids are happier for knowing their grandparents and hope my grandchildren will too. I am not saying never have a kid at 40. If you only meet Mr Right at 40, of course have a kid at 40 but if you marry Mr Right at 25, why wait 15 years for nothing? It is just wrong.


On the school run
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Yesterday I had all 4 kids, ie mine plus their cousin Gordy. It was interesting now both Gordy and Pudge are hitting the more expressive twos. In general most of the afternoon was spent playing with cars, and hugging but occasionally we had little outburst of temper, territorial behaviour and even bullying.
The temper was usually marked by Gordy doing something Léon disapproved of, Léon screaming Bad boy Gordy and Gordy then pushing Léon, though of course two seconds later they were back hugging and snogging as always.
territorial bits seemed to involve them both wanting the red Ikea chair, but again that was resolved by distraction, thanks to Charlotte.
The bullying, however, was unexpected and quite amusing. I put them both in the car along with Marcel at 4 O'clock to go get Charlotte who was attending gym club. As Gordy is the younger, I put him in Léon's usual seat and Léon in the age 1-4 booster with back that I usually reserve for the over 3s. First, Léon teased Gordy: Nénaw (that's what he calls himself) big boy seat, Gordy baby seat. Gordy didn't bat an eyelid. Then Léon tried: Gordy no touch Nénaw's jacket, again Gordy just stared at him, so he upped the ante with and Gordy no touch Nénaw's big boy seat!.
Kids! Why is it we teach them to talk?!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


New Year's 2003
Originally uploaded by joshbousel

Well today turned out to be interesting. I had an ante-natal at the hospital instead of my usual GP one. Last time I was at the hospital around 8 weeks ago, I asked whether there was anything special about the way they were going to treat me given my age. At the time they said that the only consequence of being so old was that they would not let me go past my date and have me in on my due date with a view to induction.

Today I saw the other consultant and nonchalantly mentioned to her that I saw little need to book an appointment that day as she had just told me the baby was much further down in my pelvis than she'd have expected for 35 weeks. She said her policy was quite different on induction and told me that if she was the one who saw me the week I was due, she would only induce birth if there were signs of placental breakdown. She went on to say that if both the baby and I were well, she would wait the normal 10 days and then induce me. I laughed and mentioned that 10 days meant December 24, so assumed she'd reconsider. She didn't see any need and booked me in for 12 midday on December 24. I mean this is kid 4 and I have never got to a due date yet, so doubt I should be worried but on the off chance the different genetic makeup does delay labour, wouldn't that be ironic? The only heathen in the family would manage to provide a grandchild for the ministerial family on Christmas night - hahaha! If she'd been a boy, should we have called her Jesus?

Saturday, November 03, 2007


06-10 240
Originally uploaded by PhylB
What seems like about 3 weeks ago last Tuesday, Marcel was this cute, pudgy faced 5 year old obsessed with dinosaurs and constantly running around in a Power Rangers suit. Yesterday morning however he announced he thought it was about time he got a BlackBerry! I was stunned he'd even heard of BlackBerries - what does he think he is? A bloody company director or what? I mean he's only 10! What next?


Damn! Spoil sports - that was what I was most looking forward to ;-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


About 6 weeks ago I was knackered- well I'm actually always knackered so I guess I was knackereder, so asked the hospital to test for anaemia during my routine anti-D appointment. They didn't get back to me and when I called my GP, they'd heard nothing so I put the tiredness down to my early starts, long hours driving and several jobs, DIY and kids. Then I mentioned it again at an antenatal 3 weeks ago, they got me back in and reran the tests and today they tell me I am indeed anaemic and need to go onto iron immediately. Apparently the postal strike managed to lose my original test results so I've been dragging myself about unnecessarily overtired for 6 weeks thanks to the UK postal system. Just great, thanks, guys!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Léon's pox scar
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Here's my wee man. Isn't he gorgeous? But you can tell straight away when you look at his perfect little button nose that he's already been through a horrendous dose of chicken pox. The doctor says that his nose might stretch with time, given he was only 1 at the time he caught it, but I am dubious this scarring will ever fully fade.


Either the world is becoming sillier the older I get, or I am just turning into a grumpy old woman. I love the kids' school to bits, in general. It is a very positive, nurturing environment full of friends, respect, fun etc but today I found myself shaking my head. They sent Marcel home with a letter asking the kids to come to school dressed up for Halloween - nice - kids like that. But then went on to clarify: no masks or face paint in case they frighten anyone...emmmmm I think somebody's missing the point here!


rainbow books
Originally uploaded by
Together, we have so many books, we decided for fun to try to shelf them by colour rather than topic or author. This was just a wee ten minute trial to see if it'd work- we'll now move them about to match the spectrum in order and shades. Obviously with so many black or white ones we can't achieve the effect everywhere but as we're likely to end up with a minimum of 6 or 7 different bookshelves around the house, we thought doing just the two large ones in the living room like that would be pretty!


Given Thomas tends to get Léon ready in the mornings while I drive Marcel and Charlotte to school, it is hardly surprising to find he's been watching his morning routine. First the shower then the shaving. At the weekend Charlotte was hoovering the living room for me when one of the attachments dropped off. Pudge instantly took it to be a razor rather than a hoover attachment and proceeded to 'shave' in the way he has often seen Thomas do. Funny how you can tell from Léon and a piece of hoover that Thomas wet shaves rather than using an electric razor!

Monday, October 29, 2007


I'm so frustrated by this double-life! It started two weeks ago. I was meant to read 'On Chesil beach' for my book club so I bought it a few days before, knowing it was a fairly short novella so even with my scarily hectic life would only take a couple of my 1 hour bedtime slots. I read the first third in the house, then put it in a bag to bring to the flat and it disappeared into the black hole residing somewhere between NewtonMearns and Garnthill. For 2 whole weeks I looked for it perhaps an hour a day, hormonally stamping and growling more and more. Given it is only out in hard back, I couldn't afford to rebuy it, so eventually gave up and told my literary mates to go ahead without me last Wednesday. Yesterday, while searching in vain for Léon's jumper, what did I find wedged behind the car seat I had removed to use my car as a transit van, but a poly bag complete with On Chesil beach - bingo - too late for the group but I did want to hear what happened next!
Then there's the Internet problem - I can't blog there because we have no Internet so I have to try to remember anything I want to blog till the next time I am in the flat. Given a few of the things I considered blogging this weekend were kids-related (surprise surprise), I thought I'd take appropriate photos to upload today while I was in the flat. I brought the camera and sat down to upload them, only to realize that I have the camera here but the USB lead in the house - grrr again.

Finally, I did think it prudent to charge my mobile phone while I was here tonight given all viewers for the flat come in on that number. Can I find the charger? Of course not! Is it in the house? No idea! Will I ever sell the flat if my phone runs out of charge? Six weeks till D-day...where should I leave my bag once I pack for the hospital? These questions and many more will be answered on the next episode of Housesoap :-(

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I was reading this interesting article about Alan Johnston. It reminded me a lot of reading Brian Keenan's truly fascinating book: An evil cradling just after it came out. I think I read it half a dozen times just to get my head round it at the time. I clearly remember his risking his life making a stance both about underwear and the shaving of his beard. At the time, given I am not a great beard lover, I couldn't understand why he didn't just let them do it then grow it back, but I guess he was fighting for his right to humanity, not for his beard. That is easier to understand with the wisdom of age, I suppose. I'll definitely read a book by Alan, should he write one in the future.


I'm sitting here reading the news with a view to blogging and baby Britann is hiccoughing wildly. I'm asking myself how do you go about giving a foetus a fright? ;-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I Like
Originally uploaded by
Léon has decided 2 is a milestone and seems to have found a tiny bit of temper, a tiny bit of cheek and a tiny bit of determination. Now, for those who remember 2002, I don't mean anything on the Charlotte scale - don't worry he hasn't got me booking into the funny farm yet. So far this week, I've had him burst into hysterical tears in the news agent's pointing at the sweetie counter and shouting over and over at the top of his lungs 'Chocolate for boys!'. I've also had Thomas hold his feet in the car and tell him firmly that he shouldn't kick the back of my seat while I am driving, only to have him reply looking fiercely down his nose at him: 'and Thomas don't touch Léon's shoes!'. I can hardly wait to see what the weekend holds...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Painting Marcel's room
Originally uploaded by PhylB
We've been painting rooms and staining and varnishing wardrobes over the past couple of weeks. The other day I had just finished varnishing the wardrobe in deep mahogany when Pudge walked in. Not knowing the word 'varnish' or even 'paint', Léon looked seriously at the beautifully finished piece of furniture and announced 'Wow mum, you've yuckied it'.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I guess poor Gordon was upset today then ;-) especially if he really is claiming Gazza's goal against Scotland was one of the highlights of his life. No wonder he didn't call an election if he is coming out with comments like that, that could lose him every single Scottish vote - he is truly vomit-worthy at times!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Originally uploaded by
Interesting how certain laws are woolly in this country. When I decided to revert to my maiden name a month ago, I was told that legally a married woman who took her husband's name can revert to her maiden name at any time and doesn't need to wait until a divorce is granted. Given how hard it is to get a divorce in this country, I wanted to change name now so baby Bart-Lisa could be a Buchanan-Widmann, rather than a, perhaps inappropriate Gautier-Widmann. After reading up on the pitfalls of name change, I reluctantly decided that paying £70 to change by deed poll was safer than just reverting. My lawyer thought I was mad to pay but guess what, it seems I am right! Although I have a legal right to call myself Buchanan, there seems to be a problem with financial institutions in the UK not accepting that right. When I wrote to my bank to have my name changed on my current account this week, I was informed that they would only change my name on my cards after seeing either my divorce papers or my deed poll documentation. I feel this anomaly is very unfair. Grrr!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I come from a family of bed makers - they hop out of bed every morning and straighten up the duvets to look like an exhibit in Ikea or Marks and Spencer, whereas as I keep bed making to a strict minimum - ie vaguely straightening a duvet if I think the Queen might drop by, or my house is up for sale. I never ever understood the need for wasting 5 minutes a day making a bed when inevitably, I am going to end up back under the duvet, messing it up several hours later. Life's just too short. I always thought I was the duvet black sheep of the Buchanan clan but today I hear I am actually the one who has got it all right! Cool :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Into the final stretch now - 2 months to go today! Arg, it really is time we offloaded the 2 mortgages if I am going to reach 14 December without a nervous breakdown!
Mum made me laugh the other day by suggesting we should name our daughter Britann Rose. An odd choice I thought but she went on to explain - these celebrity types like to choose either place names (you know Brooklyn etc) for their offspring claiming often they were conceived there. Mum thought given we lived at Rose street at the time - that would give us 'Rose' but to make a place name we could combine the two granny's first names: Brita and Ann, to make a pseudo-place name: Britann - hmmmm am not convinced she'd be happy going through life as a Britann!


I am more than impressed to see that with 2 matches remaining in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, Scotland is still above both France and Italy. To listen to the radio and TV, you'd assume we'd already qualified. Am I the only one still feeling a sense of doom and gloom? Both France and Italy are only a point or two behind and can still qualify - one of them still has to play the Faroes for heaven's sake, couple with that Scotland's amazing ability to fall spectacularly at the last hurdle. Sorry to be a merchant of doom - but I predict we won't get through!


When I look at a single - you know a vinyl 45 - (apologies to all under 25s who don't know what I am talking about), I think of it as something small - because I know lps, in fact I am even old enough to have seen my grandparents' 78s. Today while unpacking, I came across a very old pile of ABBA singles from the 70s. I left them in a pile on the living room floor. Charlotte came upon them later in the day and exclaimed in a mix of horror and shock - those cds are enormous! She didn't even really know what they were! I guess I am now well and truly one of yesterday's generation.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Nice to see Doris has finally been recognized as a brilliant writer. Not before time, I've been a big fan ever since I discovered the Children of Violence series back at age 20! I did have to laugh when I heard her candid interview on radio 2 though - she pointed out that at 88, the Nobel people had probably decided they'd better hurry up and award her something as Nobel prizes can't be given posthumously and they probably figured she was on the verge of 'popping off!' I guess she has all her marbles about her and still likes to provoke!


All the way to work this morning they were warning us to be prepared for long motorway tailbacks and delays because over a thousand live chickens had escaped onto the road before rush hour! This must have inspired Marcel subconsciously, as he asked if I could make a pot of chicken soup this weekend! What a sight that must have been! Given my drive to work takes just under 2 hours, I was eventually starting to tire of the radio DJ's poor why did the chicken cross the road jokes!

Monday, October 08, 2007


Originally uploaded by
Since moving half our stuff, or to be more precise 80% or my stuff and 30% of Thomas's to the house, I have been desperately hunting for more appropriate footwear now the colder air and wetter weather is here. On Friday, I found a huge bag of shoes, but was less than pleased to discover neither my brown flat boots which I have been hunting to wear with my denim skirt, nor my black ankle boots, which I tend to wear all winter with all trousers. Today, however, during one of my searches, I was thrilled to find both in a little rucksack in the kitchen. Problem solved...or maybe not. First I tried my black boots, and my poor swollen feet could get in what are usually my comfiest boots, then I squashed my feet into the slightly larger brown boots only to find the zip wouldn't pass either my swollen ankles or legs. Waaaaah! Remind me to have all future babies in the summer! (Only kidding!)
I guess I might be stuck with sandals in the snow this year! Ho hum...

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I've just re-re-re-watched Shirley Valentine. I guess I first saw it when it came out in 1989, and then thought of it as relating more to my parents' generation than my own. I re-watched it about 18 months ago, and was surprised to hear her say she was only 42. That made it so close to being me, I could almost touch it. It really is one of those deeply thought-provoking pieces. It always strikes me as amazing that it could have been written by a man, especially 20 years ago. I can think of so many friends I'd love to sit in front of it and make them watch. Isn't life funny?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Flickr never ceases to amaze me. You upload pretty photos of yourself (well as pretty as you get at my age), your kids and your family and in the first 24 hours you get 2, maybe 3 hits. You upload something as horrendous as this - but which contains a small scrap of human flesh covering everything you would cover at the public beach anyway, and even though it isn't tagged as being in any way naked, you get over 200 hits in the first 24 hours. Odd. Firstly how do people find it? And secondly, why on earth do they want to see it? I must say it has me puzzled, though also amused. Maybe I should try walking down the beach at the moment wearing nothing but a bikini and a face mask to see if it provokes the same reaction?!


Limbo Dante
Originally uploaded by
El Código
I was listening to a talk programme on BBC radio 2 today. Did you know that the christening rate for children in England and Wales has now fallen to 16%? It was quite an interesting debate. I remember as an unchristened child in Scotland (which I can't imagine is majorly different from England except perhaps in catholic circles) in the 70s being a bit of a freak. Schoolfriends had already worked out that I couldn't join in the the chats about what aunts, uncles or cousins had bought me for Christmas as both my parents were only children. Often, to compensate, I'd be asked what my Godparents had got me - sorry - didn't have any of those either...weirdo! Anyway I was fairly surprised by quite how low the figure was just 35 years on - I'd probably have guessed 50% off the top of my head, though given I don't know anyone who's had their children christened in the UK, maybe I should have guessed! The ensuing debate, anyway, seemed to centre round the 2 extremes - people saying their children could feel safe and happy and you could cover all eventualities for their future with a will so a Godparent was superfluous, and others saying that Godparents were necessary. Interestingly, however, half of those who claimed to be religious still said the most important role for a Godparent wasn't religious instruction but as a back-up parent, should the real one be run over by a bus. If that's the case, why does religion come into it?
Anyway, I guess limbo is going to be full to bursting by the time I and my unchristened offspring pop our clogs! (well as long as we manage to live a fairly saintly life ;-) ).

Monday, October 01, 2007


Tonight after dinner we had some cape gooseberries. They were much appreciated, given how much I like fruit at the moment - as a very vegetable, non-fruit person when I am not pregnant, I never cease to be amazed how nice fruit is every time I am pregnant, though unfortunately it usually reverts to tasteless straight after birth. Anyway, I have always called cape gooseberries cape gooseberries but I noticed on the packet their real name was physalis. Why would you call a fruit after an STD? I'm afraid my small brain has a real problem separating physalis and syphilis mentally, so I am going to have to stick to calling them cape gooseberries.


I decided a while back to revert to my maiden name (Buchanan), but given we were in the process of a mortgage application and house buy, I didn't think it overly wise to revert to a name with no credit rating on the country's national databases until all that was done and dusted. Given we got our keys last week though, I figured a new month was as good a day as any to break with the old and embrace the older. I feel years younger already!

Sunday, September 30, 2007




Charlotte was more than horrified to see I had taken this today. I think her exact words were You can't upload that - what will people think if they see me holding a doll!. Bizarre - they'll probably think you are a girl with a doll, of course, you silly child! In all honesty, she was not playing with this doll, Léon was and she asked him just off camera if he wanted her to take its clothes off as they were too fiddly for him, but I couldn't let the only opportunity I have had to photograph her with a girlie toy in 5 years pass me by - could I? ;-)