Saturday, March 28, 2009

SOMEONE WENT AND STOLE HIS SCONE


Photos from my phone
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Ever since Thomas has been under the redundancy guillotine he's been quite dynamic from an entrepreneurial point of view. Even at the best of times, he's always full of good ideas and interesting political views, but at the moment it is like he's seeing everything through its money making potential. He's been thinking up company ideas, reading up on accountancy, how to set up a limited company, you name it, but at the same time he's become very aware that every little thing you do can add to the overall total.
Since I've known him he's always been a big fan of scones with clotted cream. He often makes scones and we have them at home with clotted cream. Maybe it's because clotted cream isn't really a big thing back in Denmark. Often he's been extremely disappointed when nice cafés have only had butter and jam on the menu alongside their scones. When you ask for the beloved cream, you are often told they don't stock it because they don't get through enough to keep it on their menu fresh.
Last Saturday he awoke almost with a start and announced he'd come up with a brilliant business idea. You know the little pots you get in cafés with jam and milk in? he said rubbing his hands in delight, well I'm going to look into marketing little individual portions of clotted cream - genius!. I sounded like a great idea. I have been with him on at least twenty occasions when he's asked for clotted cream and drawn a blank. Go for it!
An hour later we found ourselves in Rouken Glen garden centre looking for alpines. Fancy a coffee? he asked. We shouldn't really - not this close to job oblivion but they do make nice scones even though they never stock the cream... Ok then, you've twisted my arm So I am stanidng debating between plain or fruit when my eyes fall upon a handmade poster complete with arrow: Trial offer: Scones and clotted cream I follow the arrow to the basket full of individually boxed clotted creams... He seems to have got his big business idea about a fortnight too late. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

TERMS OF ENDEARMENT


cutting boards
Originally uploaded by pinprick
Possibly the strangest thing you have to get used to when you live with foreigners is the terminology they use for endearment. I thought I'd just about heard it all with all the cabbage and rabbit stuff they used in France every year when I turned up with one of my little people, but Danish is weird too. I am beginning to suspect Danes are attracted by different types of animal to Brits... or maybe they just enjoy their bacon? Thomas invariably calls Anna his 'Anna-mouse' - how bizarre! Tonight she fell asleep on me and he volunteered to take her off me and up to bed. Come here, Daddy's little angel-pig he said, like it was the most normal thing in the world! What the hell is an angel pig? And what makes Danes think something as cute as a baby should be compared to a mouse or a pig?

I KNOW I SHOULDN'T LAUGH BUT...


The walk to the wedding
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Today Marcel asked me to sub him all the money from his bank account (£20) because he wanted to go shopping in Silverburn. This is a kid who looks like you're threatening torture if you suggest a shopping trip to Silverburn. I also tried to explain that a week before the school holidays was maybe not the best time to blow all your money if you happen to want to do anything fun while you are off, but hey what do mums know?
I dropped him off at 11-30 and went back for him at 2-30. It turns out he took his 'girlfriend' to lunch at Frankie and Benny's! Now picture this... he meets her outside M&S, suggests lunch - so far so grown up - he asks to see the children's menu and they both have kiddie pizza and free coke - awwwwh!!! I did so well not to laugh in front of him at the image of him and his beloved pouring over the children's menu together. I even managed to retain the poker face when he showed me the large bouquet of carved wooden roses he bought to give her on Monday at school. Sweet!

Friday, March 27, 2009

ASDA NEWTON MEARNS - YOU ARE PISSING ME OFF!


Photos from my phone
Originally uploaded by PhylB
As any mum with two toddlers knows, these double trolleys are a life saver if you need a whole week's shopping rather than just two or three items. Thankfully Asda provides them, which is great... EXCEPT... they haven't bothered to think through the logistics. They probably have 10% 2 seaters, 90% 1 seaters and of course they make you take them back and attach them to get your £1 back, so of course the first trolley in the line is 90% of the time a 1 seater.
Asda has a suggestions box so every time I went for months I suggested that they exempt them from the £1 charge, or they make the attachment different so they don't join on to other trolleys, or that they have a separate returns point like the ones with the baby seats. Of course my suggestions, if they have been looked at, have not been acknowledged. So I have a new policy: every single time I go to Newton Mearns Asda I now go to customer services and ask nicely that they call a trolley person with the magic key, and I make them go through their long line of attached trolleys till they find me a two seater, while I pleasantly explain to them ad nauseum that offering it wedged between 18 one seater trolleys is of absolutely no use to me. I always get one in the end, but I don't think anyone is taking my point on board .

A WALKING ENIGMA


Anna, where's Charlotte?
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Anna has been a bit of an enigma for months now. Given she learned to sit at 3 months, unlike the three Gautier kids who all learned to sit between 6 and 7 months, we had assumed she'd be running around long before the average of the other 3 (which was 13.5 months),
We were surprised she wasn't walking by her birthday but a few days before Christmas she was occasionally standing unaided and positively running around furniture, between the coffee table and couch and when anyone held both her hands so we knew it was a matter of days... or was it?
She didn't really advance from that point and just looked scared stiff every time anyone let go her hand. Sometimes, if we let her go 2 steps from the table she'd run to its safety and sit down immediately.
With the weather improving and the others outside it was becoming frustrating to have her in the buggy outside.
A month ago she was happy to stand and play with lego, but again, didn't want to try walking.
Two weeks ago she was happy to stand at the top of a staircase but no movement again.
Last week took the biscuit when she mastered jumping on the trampoline, no hands, but still wouldn't walk. By then we'd sussed it was a stubborness rather than a capability thing.
Finally last night after her bath she decided enough was enough, spent an hour on her feet shyly smiling at everyone's applause. We got mainly standing but their was some definite walking thrown in.
And today? Well of course she's gone back to her knees, like yesterday never happened. Give me strength!

THE TERRORS OF TOM AND JERRY


Tom and Jerry
Originally uploaded by Becksta1
Léon got up in the middle of the night crying and looking for me. I took him back to bed but he was way too scared to be left alone, so I found myself in his little one metre long bed calming him down. He kept repeating over and over that his eyes were missing. He told me they'd fallen out on the floor and rolled away and when I questioned how he knew this he claimed to have 'seen it happen' (I can see a flaw in this story!) Finally back in bed I asked Lots this morning if Léon could have seen anything scary on TV - a horror movie with an unacceptable certificate perhaps? It turns out he was watching Tom and Jerry at Granny's house during the week and Tom's eyes fell out and rolled away... so much for the U certificate, no?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

MAYBE I AM STUPID?


Pound & Euro
Originally uploaded by ~ PaulG ~
Last December I blogged indirectly that inflation on non-mortgage goods would have to go up because of the fall of Sterling but apparently today it is a huge surprise to economists. Am I missing something? We bought Spanish oranges last year in Euros, this year we still buy them in Euros. Euros are worth 25%+ more, therefore oranges go up in price. I'm sorry but it doesn't take a rocket scientist, does it?
I think I'm going to give up dictionaries and become a highly paid, unsurprised economist.
Another career I may consider is proofreader for the BBC. The 'expected' in their first paragraph must be 'unexpected' if you believe the headline and that Economists had expected both measures of inflation to fall ... sloppy!

DIVORCE


"Divorce parties"?
Originally uploaded by wwhyte1968
No one seems to be talking about the effect the recession will have on divorces, so I thought I would.
Divorces are not fun. Firstly in the period leading up to one of you moving out, you ask yourself a hundred times if there is something you can do to make it right again, to fall back in love, to be happy again, you drown in guilt towards your kids, wondering if you have the right to be happy by divorcing. It takes a long time to realize that your kids will not be happy with a miserable parent. When you use all your energy just to stay, you have no energy left to be a happy parent.
When you finally move out, where do you move to? You don't have the finances to just buy another house further down your street. You are disrupting the kids' lives so you don't want to drag them to another town and school if it can be avoided. I spent a year driving mine from the city back here at 6-45 every morning to keep them in the school with their friends. That's costly and tiring. Then there's the joint property. Either you sell your house and split the proceeds, or one of you buys out the other doubling your mortgage on one income. At the same time you try to draw up a separation agreement and a custody agreement with your ex paying around £150 an hour to your lawyer. This easily costs more than £2000. You also have to pay eachother out of each other's pension plan. When the two year separation deadline finally comes and you've been desperate to reach that deadline for two years, because the time spent deciding what was best was the year before you walked out not the two years they make you wait, you then have another several thousand pound lawyer's bill for the actual divorce.
Let's analyse the steps:
  • Pay several thousand pounds to a lawyer - during a recession people are losing their jobs or simply under the threat of losing them so you don't want to pay thousands to a lawyer. You don't want to use your savings, you can no longer get a loan because of the credit crunch. If you are still clinging to your job by the skin of your teeth or your partner is, you don't get any legal aid.
  • Sell your house - you can't the housing market has collapsed.
  • Buy a house - you can't - you can't get a mortgage.
  • Pay your ex half of your pension upfront - you can't - the pension funds aren't available and you can't get a loan.
So if I was planning to walk out today instead of back in 2006, I have to conclude I couldn't. I can't begin to imagine getting to the stage where you need to get divorced for your mental well being but you are unable to because of the credit crunch. The levels of stress some couples must be under at present is unimaginable. Ironically, I imagine the stress caused by redundancies and house repossessions are probably actually increasing rather than decreasing the number of people wanting to divorce. I can't begin to imagine being in their position.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

SO CHARLOTTE


Mother's Day card
Originally uploaded by PhylB
I was given this Mother's Day card made by Charlotte today. I really like it because it is so her! On the front, as you can see, are hearts and greetings and a pretty butterfly and flowers - the sort of thing you'd expect on a Mother's Day card. but when you open it, you get something only Lots would have considered appropriate for the inside: a rather sinister drawing of a vampire and spooky castle! She saw absoultely nothing wrong with the strange juxtaposition. It's just so Charlotte!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ONE OF US IS MARRIED TO A NUMPTY


Chef Widmann
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Thomas now tells me he actually meant 50g of pine nuts, not 500g - he claims he read it out loud to me and I must have misunderstood the Danish recipe. So it appears my drive from Newton Mearns ASDA to Silverburn Tesco in search of affordable pine nuts for my pesto was a wild goose chase! He's now laughing his head off at my lack of pesto-making experience as we speak, ridiculing me for imaging I could need 500g! When I came home ranting about £7.50 for the pine nuts for his recipe, did he query it? No! He's now claiming he figured the inflated price was just the recession biting! Well at least when he stops laughing at me he might make me homemade pesto next week to make up for it!

GOLD PLATED PINE NUTS


Pasta al pesto
Originally uploaded by lucadea
I really like pesto. Last Monday the three big kids were eating with their father so Thomas suggested that since there were only the three of us at home we could have a quick and simple dish of spaghetti and pesto. To make this more interesting, he volunteered to make homemade pesto. I was sent out to buy garlic, pine nuts and basil etc. With all the ingredients in my trolley, I searched for the one remaining item: 500g of pine nuts. Finally I found them in tiny useless little 100g bags for £1-50 each. Call me Scrooge but I refuse to spend £7-50 for pine nuts to make homemade pesto when I could stick a decent steak on my spaghetti cheaper. It's just ridiculous!

Friday, March 20, 2009

STALKING ME?

Is BBC radio 2's lunchtime programme stalking me?

Today they are discussing:
  • Google street view
  • Debaptizing
  • Ms versus Mrs
I'm away to check if they are reading my blog!

MRS BUCHANAN??


The bride
Originally uploaded by PhylB
I blogged last year about the hassle value of changing your name in this day and age. The BBC was discussing it today too.
Having got married two weeks ago and not changed my name, I am finding a bit of a shortfall in the English language. Maybe it's to do with the unpronounceability of 'Ms'? I tell people my name is Phyllis Buchanan, as soon as they ask my marital status, I am instantly addressed by people as Mrs Buchanan. She's my mother. I am Ms Buchanan or Mrs Widmann, but I am definitely not Mrs Buchanan. Whole professions, such as teaching in the UK, which still uses the formal Miss or Mrs address cannot cater for women getting married and not changing their name. If I become a teacher tomorrow, the kids can't address me as Miss Buchanan because I am not Miss, they won't necessarily know my married name so would I become Mrs Buchanan again?! It definitely doesn't work any more.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

MAPS ARE GETTING A BIT TOO REAL!


View Larger Map
I went on Google maps new street view today. Firstly, I was impressed at how nice the weather in Glasgow seems to have been on the (I presume) numerous days these photos were taken. Secondly, I was more than gobsmacked to see Charlotte clearly standing in my back door on the view of my house. The photo seems to have been taken before our old garage was knocked down and replaced by something a bit less messy - can I apply to google for a newer photo, do you think? After that, I went wandering round a few neighbourhoods I know. I had to laugh when I found my dad sitting on a deck chair reading a magazine in the photo of his house!
These maps are definitely a bit more real than the old ordnance survey ones, don't you think?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

HOW DO YOU GET UNCHRISTENED?

Given I wasn't christened myself, it had never occurred to me until I read this today that this could be a problem. It got me to thinking about how I would feel as a devout () atheist, if I had been christened and I concluded that it would make me feel extremely ill at ease to belong on paper to a religion chosen by someone else and forced upon me. It would be a bit like my parents choosing to have me tatooed somewhere as a baby without my consent! I am relieved I don't actually have to face this dilemma! Thanks mum and dad!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Here is a photo of me out playing with my teddy bear (left) at the age of ten! I know that dates it straight away, given kids seem to give up bears a bit younger and swap them for boyfriends around that age these days! Anyway, my pride and joy at ten was my red and white stripy dolls' buggy. In fact if you have a look at this week's flickr uploads, my red and white stripy buggy doesn't look any different today than it did in '78, and can still hold a substantial weight, as you can see. They just don't make toys the way they used to, do they?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

CAPPUCCINO MAKER


Cappuccino maker
Originally uploaded by PhylB
We got some money for our wedding from my parents' good friends Joyce and Steve. Our trusty old cappuccino dinosaur had be acting a bit wobbly recently so we opted for a new cappuccino maker, given our funds for visiting Tinderbox and Costa in the near future are likely to be somewhat limited.
We ordered it online and it arrived about 3 days ago. Pudge was delighted by the arrival of a big box - he couldn't wait for Thomas to get home from work to open the present.
We have used it two or three times already and this morning Léon astounded me by actually showing me from step one through to step 19 (click on the photos in order if you don't believe me) exactly how to make a cappuccino, all by himself, with no prompting. I actually took photos of him going through each step, party because I was so impressed and proud of him, but in truth also for reference, so I can make myself a coffee if he happens to be out at nursery!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

SCAVENGER BABY

I was watching Anna the other day.
Despite being only 14 months old, I simply know that she would survive indefinitely if I was suddenly to drop dead of a mysterious illness while everyone was out.
She came into the living room on Thursday morning. My parents had dropped by the afternoon before for coffee and I had been working afterwards so hadn't tidied up. She walked round the coffee table carefully picking up every biscuit crumb, every raisin that had fallen from the leftover wedding cake we had been eating. She found a whole chunk of icing under the coffee table and downed that too. She ate a hairy leftover biscuit from under the couch that I can only assume had been Pudge's a week or two ago. She lifted a soup spoon and fed herself the half cup of latte Charlotte had left on the table. Then she moved on to the bin where she picked out several fusty food items that were barely recognizable. From there she shuffled through to the dining room and started on the crumbs, noodles, cheese and bread crusts lying on the splash mat under her high chair. I swear I could lie dead for a week and she'd just eat her way round the house!

Friday, March 13, 2009

CONTRARY BESOM


A walk on the trampoline
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Anna has been able to walk since she was about one. She walks between chairs and tables and the likes. She doesn't like walking, finds it scary in fact so does it as little as possible. She is quite simply the wussiest girl on the planet. Over the last week Pudge has been out in the garden playing more than once so I have tried to impress upon Anna that unless she gets off her knees and stops wrecking her clothes, she won't be going out to join him. The trampoline, however, had to be the final straw. Today while Léon played she was left sitting on the trampoline. Not only did she stand up on it, and jump, but she stood there waving a spade with one hand while waving at me with the other while gently bouncing up and down. With balance that precise I really can't understand her feartie stance on walking.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WHY REFERENCES ARE A BAD IDEA INTERNATIONALLY

In the UK we often rely on references to get a job. If you have never worked anywhere else, you probably aren't aware how alien the concept is abroad. Some countries use them, but do them differently, some just don't understand the concept at all.
I remember when André first came to the UK to work and was asked for a reference. His company simply refused, saying it didn't know what that was. Fortunately, he still got the job. Recently I became very aware of the disadvantages of this once again through foreign contacts.
Last week I was asked to proofread a reference given by a Danish academic for student looking for a fellowship in the US. The reference was extremely long (several pages), positive and very gushing. He explained that he only wanted the English checked, he knew the reference seemed quite over the top from and English perspective but knew that that was the norm in the States. To read it, you would have believed you were employing possibly the nicest, cleverest person ever to walk the face of the Earth. That referee knew the game and was playing by the rules. Yesterday however another friend asked me to help with a reference. This time it was a German academic translating a French reference for a candidate to work in the States. The French candidate had worked in two schools. As I said above, the French are not great users of references. The two references this candidate was sending to the States in the hope of achieving employment simply said 'I confirm Mr X worked here in my school as a teacher, Yours faithfully Headmaster Y' Now if my Danish contact is correct and Americans like positive references, then this poor teacher doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting an interview, though he may be equally as suited to the job as the Danish candidate whose referee was more clued up. That's not ideal is it?
Thomas also amusingly told me of his own experience. When applying to work in the UK, he was asked for two references. One referee knew the system so wrote a few positives and sent them off, the other (a Dutch man) however didn't realize what form a UK reference takes so sent off a list of all the positive things he could find to say about him, and attached a list of areas where he could see need for improvement! Of course, this may be useful to the employer, but had the UK employer compared this to references he would have received about UK candidates, Thomas would of course have been at an unfair disadvantage. UK candidates would have areas they'd need to improve but these would not have been underlined in a UK reference. A UK employer who wasn't used to foreigners would probably have assumed Thomas was a less capable than normal employee if the referee had dared to point out areas for improvement.
I am tempted to say references are a minefield and not something we should be using in this new globalized work setting.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DECEPTIVE TARTAN


Tartan 'n' roses
Originally uploaded by PhylB
I was born a Buchanan as you know so I have always known what Buchanan tartan looks like. If you'd asked me to describe it without showing me a sample I'd have said predominantly red and orange with two shades of green and a wee bit of yellow.
Yesterday I decided to colorize a photo of the wedding just for fun. To do that I obviously had to magnify if to 400% and colour in each patch of the kilt individually. I was amazed at how deceptive the overall effect is. Firstly it seems to contain almost no orange at all but has large patches of both bright blue and fuchsia pink. I stand amazed!

Monday, March 09, 2009

MY HUSBAND


Preparing the wedding cakes
Originally uploaded by PhylB
One of the reasons I love my man so much is that nothing is a challenge to him. Whatever adversity life throws at him, he knows if he reads the right book, he'll find a passable solution. That kind of positive attitude just makes life much easier to bear.
Currently of course he's looking for a book entitled something like How to feed 6 after you're made redundant, but last week I found him reading this. We couldn't afford a wedding cake so he just whipped out a cake decorating book for beginners and got on with it. The resulting cake top was of course so comical, it was adorable and it made my day. Never mind it looked a bit like Gordon the Gopher marrying Les Dawson in drag!
I know whatever life throws at us, Thomas will simply pick something off the shelf and get on with it.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

A CULTURAL DIFFERENCE OR A FAMILY DIFFERENCE?


M-Budget Kitchen Rolls
Originally uploaded by iwouldstay
Is it a Danish thing, or is it simply a Widmann thing?
I am compelled, from curiosity, to blog this as it has been puzzling me ever since I moved in with Thomas. You see, if it turns out to be a Danish thing rather than just a Widmann thing I swear we should all buy kitchen roll shares in Denmark and then retire!
I grew up in a house where there was always a kitchen roll hanging in the kitchen. We used it when someone spilled their coffee or if a child sneezed and we couldn't quickly find a hanky. That was about it.
We had it but it wasn't a big part of our life.
When I left home I didn't really bother with kitchen roll and when I lived with André, we bought it occasionally but 70% of the time we had none at all.
When I sneezed there I used a tissue, or loo roll (that I can't live without!!). When someone dropped a coffee, I'd throw a tea towel over it and then put the tea towel in the wash. To clean the table I'd use one of those little sponges which is green on one side, rough on the other. I dried the table with a blue cloth, which I would also wash afterwards. I never actually needed kitchen roll.
Then I moved in with Thomas and on our first shop in ASDA he bought a pack of six. Handy to have around, I assumed. A week later he bought 6 more, and so it went on!
His family came for the wedding. The pound has crashed against the Danish currency so his family had great days out at Silverburn stocking up on shoes, clothes, suits etc. They'd come home each time arms full of bags from various designer outlets, but I had to laugh because both his mum and his sister dropped into the big 24 hour Tesco and bought a six pack of kitchen roll for use here too! (His sister was only here 48 hours!!!)
If the UK was repopulated by Danes/or Widmänner tomorrow then landfill would be overflowing with kitchen roll by a week on Tuesday!
They use half a roll at each meal. They wet it and use it as a cloth to wash the table, then dry it with another 10 sheets, the pile of used kitchen roll taking over the bin. If they bake a cake in the kitchen and get chocolate, flour and icing sugar over 15 square metres, they happily go through 4 kitchen rolls cleaning the kitchen from head to toe! Now I don't argue with the fact that it must be more hygienic, but maybe it is the mean old Scot in me, but I just couldn't use pounds and pounds of kitchen roll after cooking every meal. I am happy for Thomas to come round the kitchen after I have used my trusty sponge and cloth, and wipe each surface once more with a sheet of the white stuff if it makes him happier but if I was expected to use a whole kitchen roll every day I'd be quaking at the expense. Amazingly, when Thomas runs out of the stuff (not that that happens often!) he is actually happy to use half a toilet roll to clean the dining room rather than a cloth. That is really weird, it just isn't absorbent enough to wet and use as a cloth to my mind!
Anyway I am really intrigued as to whether I have just stumbled upon a kitchen-roll-loving family or if the whole of Denmark is overflowing with used kitchen roll!?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

LA TASCA - SILVERBURN - DON'T TAKE YOUR KIDS!!!!!


Meatball Sundae
Originally uploaded by puppethead
Thomas blogged this too so this is probably overkill but as he said himself, our experience was bad enough for La Tasca in Silverburn to merit 2 bad reviews in the one night!
Poor Lots is here while Marcel climbs mountains, canoes, sleeps in a dorm with 5-10 of his mates and generally is probably having the best week of his life so far at Primary 7 school camp.
Thomas and I weighed up our current financial catastrophe and decided we should take Lots out for a meal. After all £4 isn't bad on a work night to make her feel special, not if it's a one-off.
We had considered Frankie and Benny's at Silverburn because it is just perfect for families. Add to this the fact that Lots absolutely loves it there... but we thought we'd try something new and give her a new experience. We certainly achieved that .
We arrived just before 6pm and ordered drinks. Adults were only allowed to order four tapas each despite the 'All you can eat' banners everywhere. It seemed you had to earn your right to a second batch by finishing the first one! Of course this then doubles your waiting time as you have to order twice. We were soon to find out their slogan was actually: Four tapas for a tenner... dare to order a second batch and we'll make sure you come close to dying of old age before you receive it!
The kids' menu intimated that kids were to be given 2 tapas each, we assumed half an adult portion, but theirs came with dessert so it was fine. It also said it was suitable for kids under 10. I guess they either don't have many kids visit or my kids have some sort of eating disorder because when Lots's portion arrived, it contained (I am not exaggerating here for effect!) one single meatball in one soup spoonful of tomato sauce as one of her tapas! Not ideal for a 9 year old! Even Bits at 14 months and Pudge at 3 and a half wanted more than the La Tasca portions so how these were meant to satisfy up to 10 years old is beyond me. (The meatball, by the way, was the size of an IKEA meatball. To put this in perspective if you don't have kids - at IKEA Annabits would typically eat 3 meatballs, Pudge about 7, Lots around 12, and Thomas 15). The bowl La Tasca used for the kids' portions was about a quarter of the size of the adult tapas bowls, therefore making the kids' portions one eighth the size of the adult ones rather than the expected half! My kids eat as much as me most nights so even that would have been bad!
Charlotte's second bowl contained one small (IKEA sized) potato diced into maybe seven 1cm cubes. Bits had 1 soup-spoonful of paella as her first one and a meatball as her second one and Pudge excelled with a sliver of tortilla on one plate and another with two Spanish chicken pieces, each 75% of the meatball size.
Now if you are going to give kids ridiculously small portions you should have quick service, because you want them out before they start wailing and misbehaving. Fortunately after their 100 calorie dinners none of mine had the energy to misbehave while we waited over and hour for 3 extra tapas after finishing our first round.
We were served at 8 minutes past 8 having resolved to walk out if nothing was forthcoming by 10 past! The table behind us had arrived at 7 on the nose and were also served at 8-08, of course they were in for a long night, having only ordered 2 each in their initial round so as not to clutter up the table (there were 7 of them) and of course they were now past the 8pm cut off for all you can eat for a tenner and were trying to ascertain from one of only 3 waiting staff covering the whole (large) restaurant, if they could actually get a second round at all, but of course given she didn't speak English, other than to write down people's orders, they weren't getting very far.
Now anyone who knows me knows I am not a bit maker of scenes, nor a big complainer, but as I handed over my card to pay, the same waitress asked how much I should put through on the card! Could this person seriously be looking for a tip!?! The amount on the bill, I retorted. Why, was there something wrong with your food? she adventured!!!! No, actually the food was ok, well mine was - the kids' food probably looked ok, had I had a microscope on me to find it on the plate but to take 2 hours and 20 minutes to feed my kids 3 meatballs is an experience I won't be tipping or paying for again. I imagine the other table is probably still waiting on its next round of tapas as I write!

AN UNFORESEEN PROBLEM


The groom sorts his socks
Originally uploaded by PhylB
When Derek so kindly offered to lend Thomas his beautiful Buchanan tartan outfit in its entirety there was one wee problem we missed. Thomas is probably an inch taller, so we knew that wasn't significant. Derek's neck is half a size wider, again no problem there. Waist and chest sizes look similar too. The obvious difference that none of us overlooked were the feet. Derek has the smallest feet I ever encountered in a reasonably tall man - 7ish (41ish) I believe. Thomas is a typical 9 (43). We knew this so Thomas hired some brogues in town for the afternoon. Problem solved...! Or so we thought. What none of us had worked out till half an hour before the ceremony was that kilt socks aren't cotton and lycra blends to fit size 6-10 like normal blokey socks, but are wool... unstretchable one-size wool. That made Derek's socks 2 sizes too small and therefore 3 inches too short. With the heel in his instep Thomas had the additional problem of them constantly falling down! OOPs. Poor Thomas was paranoid about them all afternoon, and now we're desperately hoping he hasn't stretched them beyond future use by Derek too. Though in the scheme of things a wee socky problem is fairly minor.

THE WEDDING


Outside
Originally uploaded by PhylB
As many of you know, we brought forward our wedding after being threatened with imminent redundancy. It wasn't a difficult decision to take. We were told the job news 13 days before Thomas's parents' last scheduled visit to us before the summer. The law in Scotland says you need 15 clear days notice to get married and we were 16 days from the only Saturday they were planning to be here. Easy decision! We'd bought the rings anyway when we got engaged so that was one expense off the shopping list!
Anyone who had read this blog since we got engaged back on 11-1-09 probably knew I wasn't much looking forward to getting married. Don't get me wrong, I was very much looking forward to being married, it was just the actual ceremony and the plans surrounding it that were stressing me.
Before the work bombshell, we had more or less settled on some combination of a do somewhere in Ayrshire on 6-6-09 with a picnic in Culzean and a meal and ceilidh at Dad's golf club inviting many people from here and abroad. I was also hoping to get a wee week in Santorini or NY thrown in. But life had other plans, and when you are faced with being unable to pay the mortgage and feed the kids suddenly you don't want to be spending your month's (or several month's) salary on a meal for your pals - however much you love them!
With just 15 day notice to the wedding, going on a diet was the first pointless item on the list to be shelved, not just for me, but for my parents and no doubt several others. That was one piece of stress out the window.
Next I went through my cupboards to see if I had a dress and dug out what I'd worn to Siobhan's wedding for me and each of the kids' best jeans and t-shirt. At this point my parents stepped in and offered to pay for outfits for the 4 kids and me, citing the fact that they had not bought me a dress the first time I got married. I imagine mum probably talked dad into this! Thanks mum (and dad)! Work commitments meant I had just one afternoon to find something for us to wear. Another piece of cake - no stressing for months over finding just the right dress and whether my shoes were the right shade to match. It also meant buying things from M&S and Next rather than bridal specialists so expenses were a shadow of what they'd have been in June.
Derek came to Thomas's rescue offering to swap his usual Buchanan tartan kilt for a suit so Thomas could borrow his whole traditional dress kilt for the day. It was so special to be given that opportunity free of charge. How lucky they are almost the same size... 1 small problem, but I'll blog that separately! Thanks Derek!
Next was location. With my brother and his wife living off Park Circus we could walk to the wedding doing away with the need for wedding cars or bus hire.
Flowers were next to go. No buying bridal bouquets at £100 when a small bunch of M&S roses at £6 could be split between Lots and I on the morning. Brita also rustled up a pretty floral display for the table.
Wedding cakes were crafted amazingly by Miriam, despite flying into Scotland arriving after 6pm on the 27th! Amazing, and they couldn't have tasted better if we'd spent a fortune.
Hair and makeup by me definitely came in cheaper than official alternatives!
Lots and Dad took many of the photos - I was finding taking photos of myself somewhat tricky!
Finally, Amanda selflessly volunteered her flat as a venue making our wedding possible and provided a buffet and some booze, while we provided the champagne and cakes. Amanda, you're a star!
My friend Karen summed it up for me when she emailed after the event: You seem to have stumbled upon the happiest and least stressful way to have a wedding!
She was so right. Instead of stressing till June and snapping at everyone, we just did it and enough of our friends dropped everything to make our day wonderful. They managed to help us forget our current problems and didn't seem to angry at missing out (for now) on the traditional 3 or 4 course meal with cheesy speeches.
After everyone had gone, Derek and Amanda ordered us a nice curry from the Shish Mahal so we did get a wedding meal without doing the dishes, and even kept our 3 big kids overnight.
I can say, hand on heart, that it was my 'perfect wedding'. The timescale was just right for my nerves, the registry office beautiful and the party was so special. Thanks to everyone who came, those who sent their love if they couldn't come and our 2 families for making our day truly wonderful.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

EDITING AWAY

Thomas and I got married on Saturday. Ever since I have been bombarded by people asking when the photos are going up on flickr! Given many were taken by a 9 year old, I am having to straighten and chop them a bit before they go up, so with that and work, and guests still here, I have very little time to blog at the moment. I will blog the wedding tomorrow once my guests have left but for now, I have managed to upload the photos up to our arrival at the registry office.