Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Just when the wee man got good enough at walking to walk outside without falling in a puddle I saw the three of them walking down the street one night in the dark so reached for my camera. Instead of using the flash I accidentally set the camera to the 'natural light' position and took it on a longer exposure than I had intended. What a bizarre effect! Somehow, while remaining sharp and in focus Charlotte has become transparent. Cool or what?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Just wee observation about kids' shoes! Have you ever bought any of Barrat's shoes for kids? They tend to be £10 to £15 in comparison to Clarks which charges a whacking great £25+. So you'd think we'd all rush to Barrat's? I have made that mistake 3 times. The pitiful offerings last between 1 and 3 weeks before the sole splits from the top and you have to take them back. Clark's on the other hand last up to a year, remaining totally waterproof. They are tough and resistant. I for one wouldn't go anywhere else for kiddie-proof shoes.


yummy curry sauce from tesco
Originally uploaded by phyl1.
Found this the other week shopping in Tesco - it makes a lovely beef curry. To be recommended!


I suppose if you are going to cock something up, you might as well do it spectacularly!

Monday, January 29, 2007


07-01-23 004
Originally uploaded by
I know I am not usually one to moan... ;-) But I have to say something about UK passport rules over the past 10 years.
When I had Marcel in 1997, I sent away my UK passport and he was added to it as my dependent child. This service was free of charge. He was also added to André's French passport at the time - thus he could travel abroad either together with both his parents or separately with either of them. When I had Charlotte in 2000, I asked for the same form to add her to my passport and was told that for security reasons this had been discontinued. Children now needed a separate passport so they could have a photo. Firstly I don't see why a photo couldn't have been added to my own passport given it has 32 unused pages inside but there you go. Secondly, what use is a photo of a 6 week old baby for the following 5 years anyway? I mean Charlotte had bright blue eyes and red fuzzy hair at 6 months but is now blonde with pale green eyes, so how the photo helps authorities from stopping you abducting someone else's kid, I don't know - I assume it was all a ruse to get more money into the government's passport coffers. So then in 2005 I had Léon, I applied for a passport for him - it cost me £28 last January. At the same time I had to get myself a new passport - £45. What a ridiculous price hike, I thought. Given Marcel also needed a new passport at that point (because he was on my passport that had just expired), I had to fork out for three passports - £28+£28+£45. Already I was majorly annoyed when I realized that in 10 years a UK child passport had gone from being free to being £56 - you see on paper £28 looks less than £45 but actually when you read the small print an adult passport lasts 10 years but a kid's on just 5. This, I thought then, was scandalous. Until this week when Lotsie's passport expired. I went through the same form as last January but was puzzled that the price information was no longer included. Instead they gave a
web site to check current pricing. No bloody wonder - they were too embarrassed to print then - in one year they have gone up to £45 for kids and £66 for adults - what???? I for one would like a pay increase from my employer in line with the money my government expects me to be able to lay out!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


photographing me
Originally uploaded by phyl1.
It's when you watch your babies using things you like to use yourself but that you have never actually shown them explicitly how to work, that you realize what observant little sponges they are. Yesterday Léon picked up my old camera, pointed it at me as if to take a few shots, then tried to photograph the ceiling, then picked up the USB cable and tried twice to attach it both to the camera and to the computer and finally put the lens cap back on and wandered off. Have a look at the whole set.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Forgot to blog this a couple of weeks ago, or rather I hadn't got round to uploading the photo: On Christmas Eve Charlotte and Thomas baked a Scandinavian rye bread. We ate a third of it then put it in the bread bin. We next discovered it on January 5th! Anyone for a slice?


After Xmas in Denmark with lots of lovely food and perhaps one real Danish pastry too many, I was beginning to think I ought to go on a diet. I am not much of a dieter - I have been on only one in nearly 39 years (on which I managed to lose a pitiful 2kg before being drawn back by a lump or cheese, or maybe it was a steak in cream sauce...) My philosophy has always been - why would anyone want to diet anyway when the planet has so many good foods floating around it..? However, I am definitely not as young as I used to be so thought I should try not to gain 3kg every Xmas forever more. BUT just as I was moping around today trying to imagine what delicious morsels to cut out for the next few weeks, my beloved daddy sent me this useful picture - apparently I've been weighing myself wrongly and I don't need to diet at all! :-)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Now we all know and love the badgers. Pudge is obsessed and has been able to dance along since before he could even stand and even Gordy is slowly coming round to smiling when they pop up on the screen after an initial reticence, but Marcel found something seriously disturbing tonight: cruelty to our beloved badgers on a scale that should have us calling the SSPCA.


Well, I was beginning to wonder if I had been hearing things earlier. Both Jeremy Vine and Steve Wright had mentioned in several news bulletins throughout the afternoon that the whole of the East of Scotland was on red alert, that Edinburgh airport was closed because of a 'major security alert', that the traffic had ground to a halt, that planes were being allowed to land but the terminal building had been evacuated and they were checking in the later flights in the on-site Hilton hotel. God, I thought, this is major. Of course it was major - if it had been on Heathrow it would have been number one on all the web pages and first story on the evening news. I turned on my computer when I got home at 4pm and the BBC didn't even seem to be running the story. Had I imagined it? I turned on the news at 6-30pm, this time on ITV and listened to the main headlines - again no mention. I assumed it was one of two possibilities - I was barking mad and had imagined the whole thing or it was just the usual - it doesn't count because it is a story about Scotland and here in the UK we only really exist in our own eyes, we certainly don't exist south of Manchester!
Anyway, it turns out to be the latter, as the story has finally popped up in one tiny hidden article on the BBC Scotland web page. Worse still now I have read the scale of the alert, I truly wonder if the world has gone mad. Sure there are terrorists, we have to be more vigilant than 30 years ago but my god, what a song and dance for an ownerless rucksack, no?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


07-01-20 059
Originally uploaded by
Something happened on Saturday that came close to the wasp experience on the scale of abnormality. Gordon turned one last Thursday so Derek and Amanda were throwing a big family party on Saturday to mark the occasion. To make the kids feel important, I suggested they each make him a birthday cake as the guests were going to number 60 or more. We told them they could choose any icing colour, and decorations, any wording - the only stipulation was that is was to be all their own work. Things didn't start too well. On Thursday when I went to buy the ingredients, the kids were already niggling at one another. I asked what colour they were thinking of making their cakes. Charlotte said 'green'. Marcel said he was going to make his red, yellow and black to represent Partick Thistle. When Charlotte contemplated changing to the red, yellow and black icing Marcel stropped off moaning she was a cheat and a pain who always stole his best ideas. Five minutes later I was in stitches when the conversation ran something like:
Me: what are you going to write on your cake?
Marcel: I'm not telling you in front of her, she'll just steal that idea too.
Charlotte: Well I'm gonna write 'Happy Birthday Gordon!'
Marcel: No way! She cheated - that's what I was gonna write! How did she steal my idea? I hate her, she's a bitch, she's ruining my life!
Come on....
Anyway I fully suspected the baking episode would pass off much the same and possibly end with one sibling shoving the other face first into their newly iced cake! But during the whole hour or two of baking and decorating peace and tranquility reigned. No shouting, no arguing, no swearing, no hitting. They had fun, the cooperated, they even complimented each other. Maybe because they did finally opt for very different colours and writing, neither felt threatened and they had a whale of a time. I wonder if UN peace keepers have ever considered cake-baking activities in the war zones on this planet? Maybe that would actually work? :-)


Shropshire Star article
Originally uploaded by Chris Brookes.
Since joining flickr I have made a few new online buddies, we comment on each other's photos from time to time. Of the 4 or 5 most frequent visitors to my flickr site is a bloke called Chris who lives in Shropshire. He likes to take wildlife photos and has a self-portrait thing going too - but his latest upload caught my eye - it seems he's made the local paper. I just had to read the article, given the headline!

Monday, January 22, 2007


Tonight has to be up there amongst the 3 or 4 least expected experiences of my life! You're intrigued now...
I was not having the best of days: Pudge grumped and coughed on and off most of the night so I was suffering already from a major dose of sleep deprivation, which lead to rushing to try to get to work on time. Then work itself was a nightmare today as none of my projects showed even the remotest sign of consistency leading me to fear 7 upcoming months of hell. Pudge, tired for some reason, grumped, screamed and kicked all afternoon and to make matters worse I had to wash the car as I could no longer see out the window. At 1 degree Celsius, there are more fun things to do than wash the car and as the water I was using froze onto the road I found myself slipping and sliding around. Next, I got home to find my preset oven had burnt the skin on a lemon chicken sending smoke into every room and therefore creating a cacophony of fire alarms. Things couldn't get any worse...or could they???
Finally, I sat down late to the lemon chicken with rice and veg. Five minutes into the meal I felt a stabbing pain in my left side. It felt a bit like an electric shock, or perhaps a burning poker being shoved deep into my skin. I wondered for a second which side my appendix was on in case it could have burst! Nope, I thought, wrong side. Still the pain and the breathlessness continued. I lifted up my blouse and there was a bleeding hole in my skin, surrounded by a large red swelling! I was not imagining it but what the hell had happened? It was then I saw it buzzing around the light shade hanging from the ceiling. A f@cking colossal (excuse my language but it was) queen wasp. HUH? It is 1 degree outside, it is January, I am indoors, I am in Scotland, sitting minding my own business eating a plate of chicken at the dining table - What the hell is a wasp doing alive at this time of the year, let alone stinging me on the bloody stomach during my dinner!?

Needless to say the death penalty was issued and the bloody wasp lives no more!


Do you remember the 60s and the 70s? You know when little kids played with blocks, not blogs? ;-)

Friday, January 19, 2007


Today they are running this. I guess it is so we can all see the effects of the 6 degrees and rain yesterday morning! ;-)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I was sitting in the office this morning having spent exactly 2 hours and 30 minutes driving in in a blizzard, looking out at a foot of snow. I went onto BBC Scotland to see how long the bad weather was likely to last to see if I was going to make it in time to pick up the kids at 3pm. I keyed 'Bishopbriggs' into the location box. It told me that at 9am it had been 5 degrees and pouring with rain and that it was currently 11am and still raining though now 6 degrees! There was a fullblown blizzard out the window, it had been unrelenting since 6am, and it was 1 degree, not 6. Getting the forecast wrong for weather conditions two days later, though pathetic, is forgivable but getting it wrong when it is actually happening and they can see it outside the BBC studio window in the centre of Glasgow if they could be bothered to lift their heads and stare out is just plain laziness. Why do we put up with such sloppiness?


I'm 1
Originally uploaded by phyl1.
Gordon's one today! Happy Birthday to the best tiny Gingerman in the world!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Is it just me or are we in danger of developing into a species with no legs? I was in London and Denmark over Xmas - ie I was in a few very large airports and more and more children either zoomed past me on the most ridiculous of footwear . I even saw one in ASDA yesterday and she couldn't have been any older than Marcel. Her dad was pushing a trolley and she was holding the side of it being pulled effortlessly around the shop. Give me strength! Am I alone in believing any parent in their right mind should simply stamp their feet like a spoilt three year old when their adolescent requests these and shout 'NO, NO, NO!'? I have nothing against roller blades, skateboards etc - if they want to have fun, let them have fun - but these are just awful - they cruise past you, or worse still I see and adult pushing a large airport trolley loaded down with suitcases and some lazy neanderthal teenager hanging onto the back actually being dragged along on their wheels - We get little enough exercise these days without encouraging kids to be pulled about on a string. And as for walking - have you ever seen a kid actually attempt to walk in these things? - they hunch forward at an awkward back breaking angle, damaging their posture and spinal cord no doubt, and they are so damned heavy that if they actually try to lift their feet off the ground to walk properly, they positively look like Quasimodo is trying to walk to the loo having wet his pants! Anyway Marcel and Charlotte saw these in Stansted and think they are 'cool' - endlessly they beg for a pair - sorry guys - if you are to get some, they won't be coming out of my bank account!

Monday, January 15, 2007


January has always seemed a more Scottish month than most. I started to analyse why... It starts I guess with all those singing-shortbread-tin programmes on hogmanay on the telly. Right up to bells you get nothing but a whole load of twee Scottish twaddle and folk singing songs their granny used to sing. A week into January the haggises (is that really the plural of haggis?) are already appearing on the supermarket shelves saying 'Burns Supper' to us. Already I had to laugh last week when my dad, that most Scottish Nationalist of Scots announced - 'I don't know why we have a Burns supper down at the golf club, I mean first we have to listen to Robert Burns' poetry and let's face it, that's shite and as for haggis, neeps and tatties, well that's ok as a side dish along with a good steak but on it's own it is pretty crap!'
Then of course this year all we are hearing about is tomorrow's big anniversary of the day the rich Scottish aristocrats sold our souls. I don't see many people out celebrating that one somehow.
Today was interesting though, back on the topic of Scots poetry. With 10 days to go till the school's Burns supper, both kids came home from school today with a poem in old Scots to learn off by heart. Their reactions were so typical of their characters. Whereas Marcel pranced around the room trying to recite Burns' own Robert Bruce's march to Bannockburn, already almost word perfect complete with exaggerated accent and pronunciation, Charlotte squirmed in a corner at the mere thought of reciting anything in this weird tongue and couldn't even bring herself to utter the title of her teacher's chosen poem, Macrae's Three Craws, which of course she insisted on calling 'Three Crows'. And as always, when I asked Charlotte if she could translate it, she had no trouble doing so, but was really, really uncomfortable at the thought of speaking that foreign language!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Marcel's been blogging again and now wants to upload his own stuff to flickr to blog instead of blogging only from my photo page, so has opened his own flickr account now. Then Charlotte saw Marcel had a flickr account and pointed out that as she takes ten times as many photos as him, she should be the one with a flickr account, so that was quickly remedied!

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Well I just got a call to say my laptop has been fixed for the third time since November - surely they will have done it properly this time? - it is such a simple minor problem (the socket to connect to the mains power supply keeps coming loose). If it breaks again I will have to consider a more permanent solution, I just don't know exactly what, as it is such a lovely widescreen top-of-the-range beauty.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Marcel has gone blogging-mad again, leafing through my flickr pages commenting on as many photos as take his fancy! With over 3000 to choose from, Marcel's blog could become a lengthy affair! But I guess it'll be good for his spelling and the likes to blog all day instead of playing Play Station or watching TV. But I just shudder to think what the games he's invented will look like given the songs he came up with before Xmas.


huggy brothers
Originally uploaded by phyl1.
I just love this photo I took of my 2 boys on holiday. They just adore each other. I think 8 years is a nice age gap, somehow Marcel can be everything to our little Léon - sometimes he's a brother, sometimes a teacher, sometimes a toy, and sometimes he even seems like an extra parent or uncle, he's so responsible. I guess Lotsie loves him too though, just yesterday she asked if we could have 'lots of Pudges' :-)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Thomas's mother is a church of Denmark minister so they have a beautiful church at the end of their garden. I saw this rainbow out the window one day and had to rush to photograph it - I wish I could paint because I would love to paint this photo - unfortunately that is one talent I forgot to queue up for in the womb, so I guess I'll need to make do with photography!

Sunday, January 07, 2007


An emergency button
Originally uploaded by phyl1.
If you've been on my flickr page recently, you are probably curious about this photo. You may be assuming I have a post-New year hangover, or a dose of the winter vomiting virus like the rest of my family, but no, I am not kneeling in front of a toilet to vomit. During Charlotte's birthday lunch in Stansted airport, Pudge filled his nappy. I went to look for a place to change him. The disabled toilet was, as usual, the place to change nappies. I put him down on the floor and opened my bag to get a nappy. I met my reflection in the mirror. I looked dreadful - I had been up since 6am, travelled already on one plane and hadn't had a shower. I was so appalled at my appearance I thought I had better cover it with the bare minimum of make-up. I took out mascara and eye liner. I did one eye. It took less than 20 seconds. At that moment someone started pounding on the toilet door. 'Open up, open up! Are you ok in there?', they shouted. Huh? I know I am not technically meant to be in a disabled toilet as I am not disabled, but I did have a baby's nappy to change and had been inside less than 20 seconds so I was a wee bit taken aback by the strength of the reaction outside. I spent 4 or 5 seconds doing the other eye so I didn't look like a complete weirdo when I opened up, then rushed to the door, nappy in hand to explain I was changing Pudge so was allowed to be there. When I opened I heard the alarm bells ringing, saw the flashing lights, and was confronted by 2 guards who asked 'Why did you push the panic button?' I guess it had taken less than 20 seconds for Léon to discover an exciting new toy behind my back at eye level! How embarrassing!


xmas snowman
Originally uploaded by phyl1.
One of the perks of being a mommy has to be the utterly ridiculous outfits you get to dress little kids in before they can talk enough to refuse ;-) (I think Léon's first sentence may well be 'Now, bugger off with the silly clothes mum!')

But you've got to admit he's cute, no?


Léon's 16th flight
Originally uploaded by phyl1.
Léon took his 16th flight in his short 15 months on Thursday - of all my kids I think he's the one most likely to sprout wings as he's certainly notched up a good many more miles than I had at 15 months - I think I had probably been on a day trip to Largs once by that age - how a way of life can change in just one generation! I might try to work out how many Pudge-miles he's actually clocked up so far if a get a free minute over the next few days. Or maybe someone else might like to take up the challenge:
1) Prestwick-Hahn (Germany)
2) Hahn-
3) Prestwick-Beauvais (France)
4) Beauvais-
5) Edinburgh-Nice (France)
6) Nice-Edinburgh
7) Prestwick-Hahn
8) Hahn-Prestwick
9) Glasgow-Newark (New Jersey)
10) Newark-Glasgow
11) Prestwick-Riga(Latvia)
12) Riga-Prestwick
13) Glasgow-Stansted
14) Stansted-Aarhus(Denmark)
15) Aarhus-Stansted
16) Stansted-Glasgow

Friday, January 05, 2007


I last logged onto my laptop on Xmas day. I had just got back from Xmas with Derek and Amanda and wanted to upload the photos of the kids. It took me about an hour to fight them onto it because of the ever-worsening socket and battery problem. Then I went off to Denmark on holiday for 9 days on Boxing day morning so obviously am back now with several topics to blog and a million extra photos to upload to flickr. And the bloody thing won't even turn on!!! I am so close to throwing it up against a wall I swear. If they don't fix it this time, I wouldn't want to be in their shoes.