Friday, January 30, 2009

A FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH DEATH


Angel boy
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Today Léon and I were sorting through an old toy box. We happened upon an old mirror my old Gramps had given me for Christmas when I was a teenager. Léon asked me if he could have it. I replied that he could but he had to take special care of it as it had been a present from my Gramps and he was dead now. A look of utter horror crossed his face and he exclaimed: My God, was he shot by a tank or something???
I don't think he realized people just die when they get old!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

UK UNIVERSITIES


Alma mater
Originally uploaded by PhylB
It suddenly struck me the other day that this economic crisis will be interesting to watch from a higher education perspective.
Already lecturer friends of mine have been complaining, or even resigning because of the 'dumbing down' of the current university courses. A professor friend said to me just last summer, and I quote 'You have no idea how well educated you are compared to today's kids - you'd get a PhD instead of an MA at your level these days'. When I asked why the courses were being made easier, he told me they had to be seen to be giving out a reasonable number of good degrees to attract funding and to attract foreign students who were bringing a lot of money into the universities. Often though, the foreigners were too poor at English to obtain the degree they came for so pressure was being put on the university 'not to put off the foreigners'.
Now, look at it in this economic crisis. I presume student loans are harder to come by because of the credit crunch. I also assume unemployed struggling parents will be finding it hard to lay out thousands of pounds to allow junior to go to uni. Foreigners however will be rubbing their hands together because the UK currency has become a joke. Foreigners will flood into the universities taking up the cheap places our kids can't afford, the degrees will need to suit their needs and once they are educated - let me guess - will they stay here or will they go back home where they can earn twice as much? Hmmm - hard question!
Well done Gordon - looks like you wrecked the higher education system in the UK too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AS I WAS SAYING...


Scone party
Originally uploaded by PhylB
I am still looking for the answers. Apparently it is even worse in Scotland than down South but it can't continue like this in either country.
When I did not go back to work in December, I ranted about it then. This article confirms it would have cost me £20748(net) a year in childcare if I had gone back to work.
Reading the article, I had to laugh at the quote:
"There can be no doubt this will hit Scottish parents in the pocket." This is a major understatement. They are insinuating Scottish families will struggle to meet the increased childcare costs.
They fail to realize the major changes to the economy that this will bring. For starters, people like me, who went to university, paid for by taxes, will be lost more or less to the workforce for the a decade after their youngest child is born. Although I am trying to fit in some freelance work from home, trying to do more than 90 minutes a day with no childcare is impossible. Is that really what the economy needs? What will happen when this generation of women who suddenly had to give up their jobs has a pension deficit?

The impact on family planning is also interesting. When I went to school in the 70s the majority of families seemed to have two kids about three years apart. A minority had one or three kids and I never met any larger families. From seven years at the school gate, I have noticed this changing. Two kids is still the norm in my area, but often there are more than five years between them, no doubt to minimize nursery costs.
Another thing I am seeing more and more of is larger families, especially amongst educated people who can often fit in a bit of freelance work from home. Charlotte's best friend is one of six. His parents are in healthcare. I have at least half a dozen close friends with four children. They figure if they can't go into the office anyway, they might as well have more kids, I guess! It will be interesting to watch this unfold.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY


Auschwitz II entrance
Originally uploaded by vm_ramos
As the living generations become fewer, we must make it our duty to educate our children about the past.

AT WAR


Anna loves Maggie
Originally uploaded by PhylB
I know it's partly our own fault for giving in to her but Anna has still never slept through the night. On December 30th we started a controlled crying effort to change that and of course she then proceeded to fall ill and be up all night with colds and fever a few days later so it was all out of the window.
She is more or less back to being ok so we recommenced battle on Saturday night. She fell asleep between 9pm and 10pm and around 3am she woke up, stood up in her cot and announced that she wouldn't mind some milk. I laid her down and said it was 'sleepy time' not 'milky time'. About 12 seconds later, she stood back up and said 'oh you bloody think so!' or the baby equivalent at least. She proceeded to stand up and shout abuse for about 2 hours, with us laying her back down under her covers about 200 times before she gave up and went to sleep.
I was dreading Sunday into Monday because I didn't want her wakening the kids on a school night. Bedtime was fine but she then got up at 1am, and again from 3-15am to 6am. At first I calmly managed to lie her down at 30 second intervals but by 6am I was glad her diction wasn't yet good enough to repeat what I was saying. I don't really want to be about when she sweetly comes out with 'For fuck's sake - Anna SLEEEEEEEEP!' Poor Thomas was lying under the duvet muttering something about getting up for work in half an hour.
Last night as if on a timer, she woke up at 3-16am precisely and started the whole thing all over again. This one is a stubborn little besom. By sitting next to the cot I nearly got her to sleep after just half an hour but when I dared to go under the duvet myself because I was freezing, we got another 20 minutes of her standing up and me lying her back down over and over. This time at least Charlotte was sleeping in Marcel's room so I wasn't worried about her. Thomas suggested we leave her to stand in the cold and ignore her just for 5 minutes to see if that helped. We were beginning to see even me putting her back down was giving her attention which she had decided was better than no attention. She stood shouting at us for nearly 10 minutes, then went quieter. Thomas got up and told her it was sleepy time. He held her for 2 minutes and she collapsed sound asleep till 6-30am.
Are we ever going to win this battle?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

TIME FOR A RETHINK


In Kelvingrove Art Gallery
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Today Thomas and I went in to Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery to see what turned out to be a rather unimpressive Impressionist exhibition. They seemed to have moved half a dozen of the paintings from upstairs, which you can usually view for free, to the dark, dull basement. They then borrowed another dozen from the Edinburgh Gallery and the Burrell, also usually free, then charged you £5 to see them together in one room. They weren't all Impressionist paintings either. Some seemed only to qualify by being from the same era and being vaguely fuzzy in their nature! In fact, I'd go as far as to recommend a trip to the 2nd floor instead where the French gallery has just as many Impressionist period paintings on display in a much nicer and brighter room!
It won't be long before any foreign visitors to Glasgow start feeling used and abused either! These donation boxes are beside all the exits. I suppose they'll all be wondering why they should suddenly pay much more than the Brits for the same experience!
I guess the massive devaluation in the pound might at least lead to a job or two for people who makes signs like this!

Friday, January 23, 2009

PET HATES


Pixar Campus
Originally uploaded by mathoov
Everyone in this house drives me mad! I think I am going to invent DVDs that are a different shape from XBOX and Wii games and CDs.
Pudge has been wanting the movie Ratatouille for ages and this week they were selling it on Play with a free copy of Cars. I ordered it and it turned up this morning, so I decided to put it on as there are a lot of dishes and washing to be done.
I am informed the DVD player has been disconnected to make way for the XBOX since we got that at Xmas, so I try at least 3 buttons before I even manage to make that open - ho hum. Technology doesn't usually faze me but TV just doesn't do it for me.
So I finally get into the XBOX and the DVD of Romeo and Juliet is in the machine. Marcel was watching the DiCaprio version as he needed to read a modern version of it for school and although the movie is modern, the text is an abridged version of the original. Not only was he understanding it, he was even enjoying it! (There's hope in my life when an 11 year old boy watches Shakespeare in the original!)
Anyway, I take that out and go to put it in the DVD box lying beside the XBOX. Of course Fifa09 for XBOX is in the the Shakespeare DVD box, I remove that and open the Fifa box and in there is a wii game, and so on all the way down the line till I even find a CD in one box. Don't these crazy people I live with realize that by saving two seconds by putting the DVD in the wrong box, they are making it impossible to ever find anything again in the entire house? I think an suitable punishment for putting the wrong DVD in a box would be amputation of one or both hands...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

THE PERFECT HUSBAND?


Pale-eyed man
Originally uploaded by PhylB
I went shopping in ASDA the other day. On my way home I did my 3 school/nursery runs. I left the bags of shopping on the kitchen floor and started work on something else. I forgot about them.
Thomas came home from work and I started cooking. I noticed the chicken, beef and ice cream were in the freezer, the cheese and milk in the fridge on the correct shelves. I found the cereal in the dining room on the Welsh dresser as always. The nappies were in the hall cupboard. Five steaks had been left out. Anna is still a tiny bit too small for steak, so I was intending to make her a sausage. How thoughtful of Thomas to spend his first 15 minutes after getting in tidying all that! What a help :-)
Pudge shouted from the loo Mummy I've done a poo, can you wipe my bum? I went to the bathroom door and said I'd be right with him as soon as I found a pack of babywipes. They are there on the downstairs bathroom shelf in a pile he replied. I put them there when I was putting away the shopping... Pudge put away all the shopping??? In 4 different rooms, on shelves he couldn't reach, perfectly? I asked Thomas. He knew nothing about my shopping!
I guess it goes to prove that if you have enough kids, one'll turn out to be perfect eventually!!!

AN ODD FEELING


Phyllis in our old office
Originally uploaded by viralbus
Since I resigned back in November, I have had a large cardboard box sitting on the floor in my kitchen.
I went into the office for a meeting and someone handed me it saying my office had been cleared out and my 18 years of personal possessions put in the box.
I didn't really feel like looking in it. I didn't suppose it contained anything I actually needed at home. I figured it had a couple of cups, a nailfile, 10 years of photos that at various times had been on my office wall.
I put the bin out tonight for the binmen and noticed it was nearly empty - a good night to throw out anything I didn't need to keep.
I brought through the box. It was odd to see 18 years of paperwork.
I found drawings by the kids that I had had on my walls. One by Charlotte aged 2, one by Marcel aged 4 - it was of me holding his and Charlotte's hand, from a time of innocence before he discovered the chart show and chatting up girls on msn!
I found my first ever computing tutorials. I had forgotten I knew nothing of UNIX when I first started in Collins.
I found folders on every project I ever worked on from the first ever English framework back in 1991 right through to the stuff I am now working on freelance.
There were many papers I had written. Some sounded almost like I once had a functioning brain. Funny to think all that is somehow meaningless now. It was almost an out-of-body experience watching myself go through all the dictionaries, computing projects and the rest... weird, sad really...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

SUCH AMBITION


Dunce
Originally uploaded by Drumaboy
So because kids are too badly educated to write something intelligible, the solution is to not make them write anything? How exactly can English language be tested in a multiple choice manner? Of course money comes into it too. They can't afford to pay intelligent markers on their budget so they want computers to mark the exams. The English must be so proud of their educational system!
The first time one of my kids sits a multiple choice English exam, remind me to emigrate.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

WHOSE GENES?


pink baby slippers
Originally uploaded by Funky Shapes
Thomas and I are having a bit of a stand-off at the moment. A slipper stand-off.
I hate having cold feet, so October to April I will always put on socks and slippers, especially if I have to walk on the cold tiled floor or outside to take out the bin in the snow.
Thomas on the other hand seems to have no feeling beneath his knees. He happily takes the bins outside barefoot even in the snow. He walks around the tiled floors barefoot, moaning slightly about the temperature but looks at me as if I am insane if I suggest socks. The first thing he does when he comes in from work, whatever the weather, is discard his socks and shoes.
As you can imagine - sleeping in the same bed as him on a November day, when he's taken out the bins is bloody cold.
Now if he wants to torture himself, I have no problem with that, as long as he heats them up before coming anywhere near me in the dark.
The problem is Anna. I think we both mentally feel for her. If Thomas dresses her in warm trousers and a jumper and leaves he sitting barefoot on the floor I stick socks and slippers on her. He looks forlorn, as if I am committing child abuse. If I dress her, her socks and slippers often mysteriously disappear.
I guess we can't wait till she's big enough to tell us which of us is pissing her off big time.

A BUS

At last! Even public transport I can relate to! It's time we fought back. What is this man's problem? Public transport has been throwing God at us all my life. Aren't we allowed our opinion too?
Thomas saw one in Glasgow this week. I must keep my mobile charged and get a photo!

Friday, January 16, 2009

PSYCHOSOMATIC RAISIN HATRED


Raisins
Originally uploaded by cbcastro
My kids all loved tiny boxes of raisins when they were little. Around 7 they decided raisins weren't particularly palatable but forced them down if they were in a cake or scone. By 9 raisins are the devil's food - they'd wear garlic to ward off the evils of raisins if they thought it'd do any good. What is the problem with raisins? I am 40 and I love raisins - in scones, in cakes, in cereal, in little boxes. Weird.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

LET'S DISCUSS THE SCENARIOS ONE AT A TIME


cake top
Originally uploaded by red betty black
OK, for argument's sake, let's discuss the minimalist options first.
The most minimal guest list is Thomas and I... This is unlikely to be popular! Marcel is already bouncing around mentally ordering food and teasing Charlotte about female attire. I doubt the parents would be overly pleased either.
So the minimal is probably me, Thomas, Marcel, Charlotte, Léon, Anna, mum, dad, Derek, Amanda, Gordy, Brita, Peter, Miriam, Bjørn, Felix, Theodor and Ursula.
Given this is all our immediate family, we tried to imagine the day.
We'd need to get married on a Saturday to allow the foreigners to get here. Saturday services at Registry Offices are usually 10am-1pm. So say we are married by 1-30pm in Glasgow. What do we do with the rest of the day? We could go to Derek and Amanda's for a quick glass of bubbly as it is in the same street at the Registry Office. What would we do from 2-30pm onwards, say 3pm onwards if you take a photo or two. We could arrange a nice meal in the evening but with just 10 adults, you can't have it in a venue dedicated just to you, so I guess it'd mean a restaurant surrounded by other people. That might last 6pm to 8pm. I presume given 8 kids you wouldn't want to start eating at 8pm... Also you'd stand out as a wedding party so it'd be odd in a normal restaurant. But would this feel any different from a family birthday meal or every other Boxing Day meal? And then at 8pm - what do you do? Go back home and put on the dishes, do some washing? How do you make it a special day? How do you make it interesting for the foreign guests, and the kids and us?
Ho hum :-(

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

PAPER AEROPLANE TORTURE


Paper aeroplane torture
Originally uploaded by PhylB
While out shopping at Xmas, Thomas came across a desk calendar consisting of 365 different paper aeroplanes. He figured it'd be good for someone so brought it home. He was considering sending it to one of his sister's stepsons in Denmark but it is incredibly heavy. Lots is bit of an engineer so we decided it was probably best to give it to her. What a bloody mistake that was. It's so complex, I doubt even those working at Boeing could do it, and worse still she likes it so much, she bounces in from school every day and tortures us for help till we're pulling our hair out :-(
Oh well, only 351 to go...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

THIS IS HARD :-(


Cutting the cake
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Weddings are harder to organize than in my mum and dad's (left) day.
When I said yes to Thomas the other day, I had forgotten a few things...
  • Firstly, there's the fact that (don't tell anyone - this is between you and me ;-) ) I actually hate weddings - other peoples', mine, you name it!
  • Then, as if I haven't learned my lesson from the first time round, we have to try to work out a date that suits potential foreign guests as well as the home-grown variety.
  • Then, there's the fact that it is my 2nd (or maybe technically 3rd - (we had a 2nd wedding in France last time round)) wedding but his first so my expectations may be different from his!
  • Next, given our (or my) advanced years, I know so many people, and Thomas does too. If we have everyone we'd like there then we need to spend a year's salary on the dinner.
  • Also, given it happened last time round, there's that unbalanced wedding problem when one of you is foreign (no one came from France last time, hence the second expensive do). With the best will in the world, friends who agree a wedding abroad may be fun, often drop off the radar once they start calculating the hassle value of flights, accommodation, work holidays, kids' school holidays etc. So we have to gauge whether or not a wedding with our friends might not turn into a party for mine, for the most part. Maybe a safer and fairer option in that case is a tiny, strict family-only do...
  • Even that isn't without problems of course, given modern times we have the problem of finding a date where, not only I have my kids available to attend, given André sees them 8 nights a month, but where those nights overlap with when Thomas's sister and her husband have their kids, given they are in a similar, post-divorce second marriage.
  • Finally, there are small problems, such as getting Marcel to a hairdresser and Charlotte to realize I really don't want Anna in a bridesmaid's dress, the boys in kilts and Lots in a pair of jeans and a skull T-shirt (this itself could turn out to be the trickiest problem of all!)
Of course I have suggested to Thomas that running away to the Caribbean or up the Empire State building might be easier than finding a suitable compromise to all the above but he's not sure it would be the best option for a first wedding, though he may come round to my way of thinking! I always fancied a barefoot wedding on a beach but if we opt for Prestwick instead of Hawaii, we could be dodging some rain clouds - I remember being soaked through to my underwear in the rain last time I went to a Scottish wedding and that was last July!
Maybe if it all gets too stressful, I could hire a stunt-double for the day!

GREAT!

So sleeping less than 7 hours a night leaves you vulnerable to the cold - that's just great. I haven't slept more than 3 or 4 hours a night now since last Thursday because I've been up with the 2 wee ones who have colds, throat and chest infections. I guess I'm next...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

ENGAGED!


Engaged!
Originally uploaded by viralbus
What a weekend!
Pudge has been vomiting and burning up since late Thursday so we've been up for hours during the night. Last night while dealing with 3am vomit, Anna started barking like a seal and is also roasting now.
It's been pouring with rain and blowing a hurricane. You need wellies to get to the garage.
Thomas suggested a trip to town to find something for his sister's birthday. I wondered if amazon might not be a better bet given the circumstances, especially given she'd mentioned a pile of books she fancied but he insisted. Grrrrr.
We went to the Argyll Arcade to look at necklaces and then went through the whole place looking at rings instead!
After years of jumping through Scottish divorce hoops, I am finally free, so Thomas had decided to buy me a beautiful ring from the most wonderful shop Mr Harold & Son and some flowers and I jumped at the chance to say yes and formalize what has been the situation in all but name for several years now.
My mum's already been on asking how long she has to diet(!) and no doubt con my dad out of a new frock - no idea, we haven't thought about any of the other logistics. I should look into it over the next few days...
The main thing is I am thrilled, Thomas seems to be too (crazy man seems to want to be landed with wrinkly old me and all my children) and the big kids also seem positive. Marcel was less than pleased at my answer to his query of when the wedding was to be... Not till you've had your hair cut! Charlotte of course simply came out with a dismissive I hope you're making Anna the flower girl. This of course is code for I don't intend to wear a dress to your wedding mother! I don't think Léon knew we weren't married but is looking forward to a nice party anyway.
Anyway, watch this space!

Friday, January 09, 2009

FUN


Clever me
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Life with four kids has been reasonably easy till now but Anna discovered how to navigate stairs yesterday. I guess that leaves me the choice between trusting the other 3 kids to constantly shut a stairgate at both the bottom and top of the staircase (pigs might fly), or trying to teach Anna the way you get back down when you climb up by accident (backwards). Oh joy!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

HOW TO PHONE?


Phoning Miriam
Originally uploaded by PhylB
You wouldn't think in this technologically advanced day and age phoning would be getting harder rather than easier would you? Most families are one nation families so their phoning options are increasing greatly but multinational families are actually in danger of losing contact altogether simply because each country's norms differ vastly.
Take our current situation. Up till Brita (Thomas's mother) retired they lived in a house with a phone so Thomas phoned his mum on average once a week for about an hour. Added to that his dad often called him more than once in the week for a quick 5-10 minute chat. No problem there, especially given we get free calls to Denmark with our digital TV package - way to go - I remember the early days when you paid maybe a fiver to phone a relative abroad.
Most broadband packages come linked to a UK landline, all Sky digital TV services require a landline - the companies offer free phoning because phoning is no longer the primary use of your land line. Therefore the norm in the UK is to have a landline with free international calls.
So where's the problem you ask? Read the smallprint - we get free calls to international landlines. In Denmark there is no countrywide link between landlines and broadband or digital TV services, add to that the fact that mobile calls in Denmark are 10% of the cost here - so what is becoming the norm in Denmark? No landline, only mobiles of course. So now Thomas's parents have moved into the flat our weekly call to them has increased from £0-00 to about the equivalent of buying Anna an extra 176 Pampers nappies a week! I am sure not many people would like to add that to their shopping list, especially not in these hard times. Adding 763 top quality nappies, or say 5 litre bottles of whisky (for those of you who don't understand nappy prices!), or 85 extra loaves (for the teetotalers with no kids) to your monthly shopping bill is just impossible unfortunately.
So we need to find a way forward before international communications break down altogether! I guess there is Skype, but given they only have a laptop, they are unlikely to sit in their flat all day so we can ring them free on that. I can't really see Thomas on Skype to his mum. Thomas loves to pace all round the house when he's talking to her, so sitting immobile talking to the wavering image would be a big culture shock. I guess we could use email more but that doesn't really help Anna till she is about 8 or 9... Or snail mail - there's always that solution - aren't the advances in technology impressive?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

BURIAL CARDIE


My old cardie
Originally uploaded by PhylB
It's maybe something that happens to you with age but I have found over the past few years that I am less willing to put up with things I would have put up with when I was younger. (Hence the mid-life life changes amongst other things!)
I went to a funeral last December. One of Marcel's friend's fathers died suddenly in his mid-40s a couple of weeks before Xmas. Although I didn't know the man, I knew his wife and four sons, so went along. It was a humanist funeral. I had never been to a humanist funeral before. I had been to many religious funerals both Protestant and Catholic, including 3 of my 4 grandparents. You would have thought that the funeral of someone close to my heart should be more moving to me than that of a stranger, but I have never been to a more moving funeral than the humanist one and it was because I could relate to it.
I have never taken any comfort from being told about my loved one being under God's protection now, in a better place or that Jesus died for their sins. I have sat through every funeral till last December thinking and feeling it is utterly meaningless to me.
When I arrived, unsuspecting, at the crematorium last December, they were blasting out Hotel California. Interesting, I thought, but I drew much more comfort from a song I remembered my parents playing during my childhood, rather than a hymn with words I could not relate to. The speaker, a female humanist 'minister' (if that's the right word) stood up and spoke about how the couple had met, what they'd done in their life together, then she recounted each child's favourite memory of their father. Two other non-religious songs were played - one from an opera, one other pop song (I can't remember the details.) At the point where a normal religious minister would have been saying prayers, this minister told the congregation that if they were religious they could use a few minutes silence to pray, if they weren't they could feel free to use those minutes to think about the man and his family and any special memories we had of them.
Everything fell into place for me. At last I was at a funeral I could participate in. I stood their crying for a man I had never met and his 4 poor boys left fatherless at just 10, 11, 15 and 19. I cried because I could relate to thinking about a family and a missing member. I could participate. I could feel like an insider instead of some excluded weirdo for the first time in my life in that situation. I had found how I wanted my life to end. I think so many people assume a funeral (or wedding or whatever) needs to be religious because it is traditionally so, but I have always found that at the saddest times in my life, the last thing I want is to feel alien and excluded.
I went home and started to think through my funeral, hoping it wouldn't be for some time. Obviously I won't be there (except physically) so those I love could go against my wishes but they will know what my wishes are at least.
First I thought about my old cardie - I have had it forever - maybe 15 years. Every time I buy a replacement I revert to it because it is just the right weight and being cream it goes with everything - I thought I would get buried (or cremated) in my cardie (though I might change my mind now I have a new coat - photos to follow)! I would select 3 songs that mean something to me for the funeral so that when they are played those who really knew and loved me will be moved by them, knowing what I would have thought when I chose them for them to listen to. And I would ban religion from it. I don't mean I don't respect religious friends - I would have them say as they said at the funeral I mentioned that there should be time for those who do have a faith to pray to whoever they want, but I also want my non-religious friends and family to be given moments just to remember the good times, remember me at 80 in my scabby old cardie shouting at the grandchildren to smile nicely for the camera!
I got to talking about this with my dad a few weeks ago and he's been doing the same! He was considering being buried in his singing Santa tie (not sure if he's going to be wearing anything else!) and he's chosen a couple of very amusing songs and made me promise not to let mum opt for anything religious in a moment of grief and madness! I presume he'll be taking a golf club or two with him too!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

THE CONTRACT


The contract
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Charlotte often seems incredibly mature to me. She so good with her younger siblings I know I could leave her in charge of them for a weekend (don't worry, I know that's illegal so am not contemplating doing it in reality).
She listens to rock music. She can cook your evening meal. You can send her shopping. She does DIY like an adult. If you bring in some IKEA furniture she just gets on with building it like it was a big piece of lego.
Sometimes it is hard to remember she really is just a little kid. But when you find something lying about the floor like this contract that I found at the weekend, you smile to yourself and remember that there are still a few years of innocence ahead.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A BETTER USE

Thomas has been trying to convince me all week that the little sugar paper circles you get stuck on the bottom of some sweets and apparently (I don't know given it isn't somewhere I EVER find myself) in church have a taste. Strange man... I, like all Scots, know these are meant to be dyed blue and stuck together with sherbet in the middle - then they are positively YUMMY!

IT'S FUNNY WHAT PEOPLE SEE


Anna in her winter suit
Originally uploaded by PhylB
It was very cold on Hogmanay. Anna's pink snowsuit was upstairs and I was in a rush to go out to ASDA. Pudge's blue tartan snowsuit was hanging on the coat-stand in the hall. Given it is a cosy blue tartan coat for a 12 month old, I stuck Anna in it, put on her hat and gloves and went shopping. I was pushing her through Marks and Spencer food department when a woman said to me as I passed: What a smiley little boy you have there! I presume she was assuming Anna was a boy because I had coloured coded her in blue. But interestingly she was wearing a bright pink hat and gloves, thus also coloured-coded as a girl. Is it the percentage of her body covered by blue compared to pink that led to the boy assumption, or is it that coats are more obviously a specific sex than hats, or are people just plain weird?
Both my girls have happily worn this cosy blue suit in the winter without complaining to me once!

Friday, January 02, 2009

PROOF OF REINCARNATION


The wild rover
Originally uploaded by viralbus
Anyone who knew my old Gramps will see a bit of a family resemblance in this most recent photo of Anna. He often looked a bit like this on New Year's Eve himself if I remember correctly. All we need now is for her to burst into I belong to Glasgow or call me Hen and I'll know there's something to be said for the reincarnation theory.