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? ;-)


Blowing out the 2 candles
Originally uploaded by phyl1
Léon surprised us all by knowing exactly how to blow out the candles on the chocolate birthday cake Thomas baked for him. When it was brought in he looked so happy and shy as he realized it was his special day. He's such a gentle wee guy. He also had fun with his new lego, trucks, cars, digger and pedal car he could drive himself. Later we took him out for dinner - just Ikea meatballs but enough again to make his day special.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


We were, oops I of course mean Thomas was, making Pudgeman a birthday cake this morning and as he was piping on the icing using a bag, I commented that that wasn't something we did a lot of in Scotland, whereas in Denmark apparently everyone over about 5 knows how to ice a cake using a bag! He then commented that we were better over here with marzipan however, which reminded me of an email I'd once been sent. I guess he's right on the marzipan front!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Today was a bit surreal. I had a big ante-natal appointment and then we had the option of attending an ante-natal class. There are 2 options for these classes:

  1. The new parents class - where neither party has been through childbirth so both are told what to expect, and the guys are advised on how they can help and support their partner.
  2. The parental refresher class - where both are already parents so mums get to come along for a 2 hour refresher and partners are excluded.

Hmmm - what do I do about that? If I choose option 1, I am so overqualified, I could stand up and give the class myself. If I go for option 2 Thomas is excluded when he is the one who wants and needs the class. And given André never attended an ante-natal class for any of the other 3, I can't even relay what the guys are taught.

So we had to go for option 1. I felt very strange listening to that, I can tell you. But if it is the only way to get support, then so be it. The thing I find odd though in this day and age when so many people have kids in a second marriage is why the hospitals are still so 1960s in their outlook!

Monday, September 24, 2007


The house we're buying
Originally uploaded by viralbus
We got the keys to our new house on Friday and after a weekend in and out to DIY and move things I am beginning to find it a bit of an odd house. It is nearly 40 years old and yet not only do the bathrooms not have toilet roll holders and towel rails, they have no signs of ever having had these items on their walls. There are no nail holes in the entire house, as if no one in 40 years has ever hung a picture or a mirror either! Thomas is beginning to speculate it was previously owned by vampires...personally I think they just got in a plasterer to do it up before putting it in the's hoping I'm right!


removal chaos
Originally uploaded by phyl1
I am absolutely exhausted after probably the most strenuous weekend since - well since we finished diying here in the flat. Moving house when you have no professional removal squad is so much harder than you imaging. Finding some semblance of order when your ex has randomly packed shoes with books, toys, and kitchen items and often shoes and bits of toys or jigsaw puzzles separately in different boxes in mind-boggling. Then you try to spend one overnight in the new place you aren't yet living in, only to find a futon is torture when you are nearly 7 months pregnant - (I need 2 hip replacements now) and your other baby wakens you up at 3am staring at a dining room (the only place we could put our bed and his) he doesn't recognize, quietly sobbing: Hug! Hug!
Tomorrow I have to get up at 6am, do the school run, the nursery run, go to work, be home in lightning speed for a flat viewer, who will probably not show up anyway, do the school run and then DIY and unpack till coming back here for dinner as the new kitchen is cookerless! I can hardly wait...put me down now! :-(

Saturday, September 22, 2007


cousins on a chair
Originally uploaded by
I love it when the little people start talking. Léon now parrots everything I say in English, everything Thomas says in Danish and everything André says in French. Last night we let him sleep in Marcel's bed instead of his cot as Marcel was sleeping over with his grandparents. Léon obviously felt very happy and grown up, as he was able to get out of bed himself and come and look for us when he woke up. Sweetest though had to be his opening comment. As he walked in, I asked: Where's mummy's gorgeous boy? He replied: I'm gorgeous, I'm special! No trouble on the self esteem front there!


When I bought my first flat in the West End of Glasgow back when I was about 25 (funny nowadays 25 year olds can't afford Glasgow's west end thanks to rising house prices and static salaries...), we didn't pay much attention to the decor so were horrified to find 3 metre ceilings with dreaded woodchip wallpaper on the walls. Anyone who has ever tried to strip woodchip knows that when you do, the top layer comes off then all the little woodchippings stay firmly stuck and you have to strip them again, then you end up with a floor full of splinters you are still getting between your toes a year later!

When I bought my second flat in the West End I vowed it wouldn't happen again. I was sure I took a mental note of the decor when I viewed it so was quite shocked when I got the keys to find out all 4 huge main rooms had it again, worse still I stripped one room painfully to find under the first layer of woodchip there was actually a second layer! Who in their right mind would wallpaper woodchip on top of woodchip?

When I bought my first house I really did check every room for the hideous stuff - none of the bedrooms had it, nor the living room or dining room - phew! I had checked well that time - all would be fine...I got the keys and immediately found the hall to be full of it - how had I missed it? I guess I hadn't thought of the hall as a room.

Today we got the keys of our new house. I walked in confidently knowing I had left no stone unturned, I had even checked the cupboards this time. Not even a square centimetre of the wallpaper fiend. We got down to work immediately. The first task before moving our furniture in was to throw out the built-in wardrobe in Marcel's room as his bunk beds wouldn't fit around it. I bet you can guess what was on the walls behind it! :-\


Some of these signs made me smile. We live in a bizarre world!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I am beginning to wonder if I should write a baby names book, or site. There seem to be several types on the market, but they aren't right. You get the tiny gem sized books that cross-refer everything to everything else - you are told there's no difference between half a dozen names Lisa see Liza see Elizabeth etc, so they just frustrate you. The big ones are so full of nonsense (Did you know Brixton, Clapton, Docklands, Fulham and Wembley are now all supposedly acceptable names for wee boys in the English speaking world?) that you fall asleep by half way through letter 'a' each time you attempt to name your kid. Are we going to end up with a nation of kids all with names beginning with letter 'a' or 'b', simply because their parents ran out of energy? If you go onto an Internet page, you get offered 7000 names - the first 15 all beginning with Aa, come on - give me a break! Consequently, we are getting nowhere. Maybe sites asking questions about likes and dislikes, offering lists of names people should like if they like another would help. Though according to one list I found - if I like Charlotte I should like: Arabella, Celia, Clementine, Colette, Norah and Sophia....erm nope, sorry! Maybe Bart would be nice for our wee girl...

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Germany Flag
Originally uploaded by ClausM
Something rather strange is going on this evening...Blogger has decided I am German - firstly it asked me if I want to view my blog in einem anderen Fenster - odd - but sure ok, if you insist. Now half an hour later I try leaving a comment on Thomas's blog and it in forms me Sie können HTML-Tags verwenden, z. B. , , but rather unhelpfully, if I am actually German, goes on to tell me that: This blog does not allow anonymous comments. I haven't blogged anything in German, and I haven't blogged anything about German, so why this suddenly assumption of my native language? Bizarre!


shrieks of joy
Originally uploaded by phyl1
Remember when a trip to the park was this much fun? When do we lose that 2 year old love of life? :-(



We had a neat plan for the afternoon. Marcel was invited to a friend's house for 2 hours to play and the sun was just coming out when we dropped him off, so we drove to Newton Mearns, parked the car and went for a walk through the woods eating the beautiful ripe brambles from the bushes, following the little stream to the swing park. It was idyllic - the rain had stopped, the woods smelled wonderful, the kids were happy. We were less than 10 minutes from the car when the first raindrop hit, no problem...Then the rain got so heavy we were soaked through to our underwear, the road flooded so walking back to the car necessitated a wade through a shin-height puddle. We couldn't go anywhere in that state so had to pay an impromptu visit to my parents and sit in our underwear (not a pretty sight at 6 months pregnant!) on their couch while they dried our clothes over their radiators! Not quite the afternoon we'd been expecting!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


4D scan
Originally uploaded by viralbus
Finally we reached the 26 weeks milestone, after which they are happy to 4D scan you. What a difference from the once exciting, now boring 2D scans that were the only option when I had Léon, Lots and Marcel. For half an hour we got to watch Bart suck his fingers, wave, yawn, stretch etc. We got to see him stretch his toes and fingers and finally we got to see his bits only to find out he didn't have any so maybe Lisa would be a more appropriate name henceforth for our Bart! Not sure the kids are too pleased yet - I think they are slightly worried the house may potentially end up full of Barbies and fairy costumes rather than the acceptable trucks and power ranger toys they expect Pudge will soon want. By 10pm, however, they were already coming round to the Lisa idea.
I have to say she looks very peaceful and pretty in there at the moment - hopefully she'll not have a Tasmanian devil streak in her when she hits 2! Mind you - if I coped with Charlotte, I can cope with anything!


I was going to blog it last night but I had a migraine. Scotland has only gone and beaten France in France - how surreal is that?
I went round to Derek's to watch as it was only on Sky - for some reason the terrestrial TV thought us Scots would rather watch the England match - don't start me - grrr! I know the French team well, having spent at least 10 years supporting France, not only because half the family is French but also because Scotland failed to qualify for anything for at least the last 10 years! So it felt odd watching what is supposedly my team, who I didn't recognize, play my other team who I know well! Anyway Scotland beat them and gobsmacked them all in one. We then had a problem getting home as Sauchiehall street had turned into an impromptu party, with singing, dancing and horn tooting, blocking the whole street - even my kids finally accepted that it was ok to support both France and Scotland - unlike the floods of tears we got last year when Scotland last beat France. I think as long as both France and Scotland qualify all will be quiet in my household, but if the evil Italians, who my kids still accuse of cheating France out of the last world cup, qualify instead of one of their teams, life will not be worth living!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I said it at the time and I'm saying it again - show me where to sign up for this and I'll gladly sign my baby up for it. I never want to go through another minute of pox in the Pudge style.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I turn on my computer to blog something that has enraged me at least 8 hours ago (not to mention for the 35 years since I first entered a UK primary school), only to find bloody Thomas has blogged it first! Without even obtaining my permission! What a cheek!
What on earth is going on on the metric/imperial front now? I started school in 1972, I was taught centimetres and kilos. Weights in corner shops and market stalls back then were in pounds and ounces, and milk came in pints. I had no idea what a pound or ounce was, a pint I worked out by looking at the milk bottles on my parents' doorstep. As I grew up I was taught to measure myself in centimetres - for schoolwork, for my passport, for hiring my university graduation robes, for my medicals when pregnant - I am 160.5cms. I think that's around 5'2'' or maybe 5'3'' - but why should I have to work that out? It is of no use to me or any authority measuring me. I learned to weigh everything in kilos. Recipes, apart from brown-paged ancient books belonging to my 23-year-departed granny are also in kilos, grammes. I don't need to know ounces. I am not even sure how many are in a pound, and how many of those are in a stone - I know 16 and 14 or is it 12 come into it somewhere but it's definitely some perverse system you can't count on your fingers. I only know my weight in kilos. When I had babies they weighed them in kilos and measured them in centimetres - so why do I have to google a conversion chart to work out they were 8lb, 7lb2, and 7lb13.5 respectively? I always thought this stupidity would die out with my 'transitional generation', but now I hear my kids will be stuck with this pigheaded nonsense forever. So they'll measure themselves in kilos, then Charlotte will have a baby one day and I will instinctively understand its kilo weight but she'll be obliged to memorize some combination of 12s and 14s for god knows who...stop it now!

It's bad enough we were too stubborn to swap sides of the road back in the postwar era when it was still cheap enough to do so, causing us to close our car sales and push the prices through the ceiling. It is bad enough half of the tourist market we could entice every year goes elsewhere because they are too scared to attempt bringing their European cars here to drive on the wrong side of the road, costing us millions. But why torture another generation with this imperial nonsense. If we want that system, introduce it and teach us it like in the US. Otherwise please just let's use what everyone under 50 has learned at school and stop bamboozling us with 12s, 14s and 16s now!

Monday, September 10, 2007


While I'm in a ranting mood, I might as well have a few more moans...When I had Marcel and Charlotte 29 months apart, I first thought I would need a double buggy so I bought one of those telescopic side by side buggies complete with rain cover that cost an arm and a leg. Of course, I hadn't foreseen it was wider than most shop doors, so took to wearing Charlotte and pushing the buggy containing Marcel, which worked but didn't do wonders for my newly post-natal back. I next looked at tandem buggies but they folded up so clumsily that they didn't fit in my car! Eventually, a few months in, I settled on a buggy board (left). Marcel rode on that while Lots sat in the buggy and although it meant overstretching my arms, it did seem to be a nice compromise. But the one thing that pissed me off then and is pissing me off again now I am trying to find a new buggy board so Pudge can ride on Bart's back is the price. To me the main piece of transport is the buggy and the extra bit is the buggy board, so why does it cost £48-97 to buy a board to stick on the back of a £35 buggy? :-(

Sunday, September 09, 2007


With 2 mortgages now just 2 weeks away, still no maintenance after a year and maternity leave now a maximum of 11.5 weeks away, I have been a bit of a grumpy cow over the weekend, to say the least! That was until Marcel stuck on the DVD of the Mrs Richards episode of Fawlty Towers. God that's funny! It has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I remembered it almost word perfect, I had seen it so often as a student, but it still creased me up. A real tonic! I think if I watch the whole series and dig out my old Billy Connelly with his name in pink video, I might just get through the next few weeks!


The BBC seems to think Pudgeman is cute! Check out number 5! :-)


Why does the government, and the Tories for that matter (witness last week's voluntary 6 week national service nonsense), come out with such shite at times? It's like they don't think things through.
My first question has to be why after 29 weeks? When everything is well-formed and ready to go, rather than the first trimester when the brain etc is being formed.
My second question is that if this money is not means-tested then are government officials going to take the poorer amongst us hand and hand to the supermarket to check we buy vegetables and not chips? Or maybe they are going to be forced subsequently to offer us this money in ASDA or TESCO vouchers , causing a national supermarket war rather than money into our accounts as suggested so we spend it carefully? I guess that will mean those who live in families are meant to buy mum-to-be nice food but the rest of the family the cheap stuff? Let's face it, if you are a silly pregnant 16 year old and you receive a £200 ASDA voucher, will you spend it in the food department on asparagus and salmon, or are you indeed more likely to wander over to the baby and clothes bit and pick your baby out some cute clothes, and accessories? Or worse still wander over to the cigarette counter and buy more of what will cause a premature and light-weight birth in the first place?
And of course my final question to the government also has to be - given that I have had 4 babies under the Labour regime, why are they introducing this 18 months too late for me to squander the notes on anything close to my heart, food or clothes-wise? :-(

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Over the years, whenever I have been trying to be health conscious, I have tried to swap my chocolate cluster cereal or maple and pecan delights for boring old sultana bran. It's ok, in a chewy cardboard kind of way and makes you feel vaguely self-righteous. Then, about two years ago, ASDA introduced Raisin Bran as well. Raisin bran was a whole other story - it contained beautiful, huge, almost grape-sized succulent raisins. I no longer had to force myself to dump the choco-cereals, it was just delicious. So why the hell have they discontinued raisin bran in favour of boring old sultana bran. Where do I write to complain? Who should I sue when I am forced to put on 3 or 4 kg just because I've reverted to the chocolate clusters???? I am not a happy bunny :-(

Monday, September 03, 2007


back court night1
Originally uploaded by
I was looking through flickr just now at Glasgow tenement photos (there are some lovely tiles on there btw) and what struck me was that 95% of the photos are of the fronts of tenements. I began to wonder if that means the photos were taken, for the most part, by people who were walking past these vertical villages, rather than the dwellers themselves. I mean I have always found the fronts extremely beautiful, and if I could afford a whole townhouse in sandstone in the West End I'd jump at it but I think real tenement dwellers love the backs equally, if in a different way. I haven't felt it quite so well in Rose Street because of the internal kitchen, but the nicest bit for me of tenement living, which I probably had best in Dowanhill, is that warm and cosy feeling you have, looking out your kitchen window at the backs of all the other tenements built around watching all those other people in their kitchens. I don't mean nosy, spy on your neighbour stuff. I just think that after dusk in a Glasgow tenement you feel almost like you belong to some extended family as you look across to all the other back closes and see everyone potter in their own kitchen. I think that is one of the great shames of converting tenements, the easiest way was always to turn the 2 huge bed recesses into and internal kitchen but you lose that vertical village feeling when you lose the window. I think deep down back closes make me warm and fuzzy :-)



Léon seemed quite fascinated by this exhibit in Glasgow's Transport Museum. So fascinated in fact that when we turned our backs for 5 seconds, he ran under the barrier, climbed past the exploded airbag on the passenger's seat and got into the driver's seat. Given the entire car is covered in 'Do not touch' stickers, coaxing him back out was hughly embarrassing!