Saturday, May 31, 2014

Auto-correct errors

I'm often amused by my phone's attempts at understanding me. Because I often text in French too, for instance, it likes to auto-correct the word remember to t'émmener, which is a tad bizarre, but nothing beats this week's photo caption...

Amaia was taking photos in the garden and she took this one. I tried to caption it 'A very dignified photo of me blowing bubbles on a space hopper thanks to Amaia.' as I uploaded it to facebook, but had to laugh when it corrected 'blowing bubbles' to 'blessing bibles'! So if you happen to see me in my garden, do check if I'm blessing bibles on a blue space hopper!

Definitely our child

It's been one of those days when you really don't need a DNA test to check you brought the right baby home from the hospital...

Thomas was out in Glasgow so I was doing the bedtime routine. I often sing Léon 'Hush Little Baby' with the obvious alteration of 'Papa' to 'Mummy'. Anna usually prefers other things so hasn't had that one for a while. But tonight she was still awake when I started Léon's song...

Hush, Little Baby

Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Mummy's gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won't sing,
Mummy's gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mummy's gonna buy you a looking glass

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mummy's gonna buy you a billy goat

And if that billy goat won't pull,
Mummy's gonna buy you a cart and bull

And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mummy's gonna buy you a dog named Rover

And if that dog named Rover won't bark
Mummy's gonna buy you a horse and cart

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town.
She listened happily right through to the end then said quite matter of fact at the ripe old age of 6 'The tense is wrong you know - it's not 'broke'. Only question is - is she her mother's daughter or her father's?!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Scottish voting in the Euro elections

I don't know about anyone else, but I find this level of apathy in the face of a swing to the right absolutely abhorrent. We hear the UKIP polled 10% but look at this pie - UKIP didn't poll anything like 10%, apathy polled about 65% and that's a whole lot more troubling.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More than ever, yes!

Presumably London isn't following for UKIP because they are less affected by the economic downturn so less in search of a scapegoat. Scotland, however, despite the hardships is the least taken-in in the country. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want the south east voting in my next government on the basis of this map. At least we have a viable alternative.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Glasgow School of Art fire

It just so happened today that I was in Glasgow with my DSLR when I heard about the GSA fire so I dragged all the four kids I had with me along.

I've always loved the art school - my first trip round it was with my school back around '84 and of course I've had friends study there while I was at Glasgow uni. Most recently Thomas and I first lived together in Rose street and for that reason all of Garenthill feels a bit special to our own story. It was hard not to be moved to tears today watching the windows blow out as the flames took hold of the roof. And everywhere many, many young people were walking around with tears streaming down their faces, their hands clutched to their mouths in shock. Others sat resigned on the pavement in the sunshine drinking beer in complete silence.

It seems 70% of it has been saved which seems beyond belief given what we witnessed first hand. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Teacher's pet

I know I'm her mother so I'm probably not meant to bitch but Anna is something else at times! Every day in life she comes out with a story of how many 'house points' she's earned for knowing this, that and the next thing, for sitting quietly, for not misbehaving like whoever 'got on amber', or god forbid 'red' today. She would unashamedly take the teachers flowers and an apple every other day to curry favour and likes to make them jewellery when she has the time. Anything that can endear her to Mrs McDougall makes her happy. She even volunteered to sing Danish songs and read Danish books to the class. As a mum, I'm very proud (as a fellow classmate, I'd probably have wanted to trip her up in the playground!)

And so we come to Maths. Anna was working on the above last week when I came in to inconsolable hysterics. Obviously it isn't because it is too hard. It's way too easy now she's 6... But when Charlotte and I finally managed to calm her down enough to get what was wrong out of her, not laughing was a hard task. She was appalled by the messiness of this mathematical technique. The thought of handing in work with things scored out was too much for her to bear! She was trying to insist that once she had filled in all the answers on her worksheet, she should then rub out all the workings. She needed to rid her beautiful jotter of the scorings-out, the rogue little numbers on the sides because otherwise Mrs McDougall might take house points from her for not handing in clean, neat work. Charlotte, who is now going into her third year at high school, mentioned that working was worth 90% of the marks by her age and that erasing it was practically punishable by suspension from school (she likes to exaggerate for effect). At this, Anna dropped to the floor, a blubbering wreck, trying desperately to argue she should at least be allowed to copy it out on a second sheet to prove her ability for neatness to her teacher. Poor wee soul.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


For as long I can remember cyclamen have made me think of my granny. I'm not sure why as I am pretty sure she didn't have any in her garden - it was all rhubarb, peonies and purple alpines with a lilac tree. Did she have them in pots in her house - I can't find any photographic evidence for that... or did she just tell me she liked them, perhaps? It's funny when you have partial memories like that.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I decided back around last November to buy one in B&Q just in her honour and I planted it in the garden, expecting it to last about a week in the Scottish climate but to my surprise it has flowered non-stop over a period of nearly seven months. I know it wasn't the coldest of winters, but it is definitely worth the money. Next winter I'll be supplementing my garden with a few more.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Inside the mind of a 6 year old girl

Inspired by something they found on Youtube, Anna and Amaia have taken recently to using Play-Doh to make outfits, shoes and accessories for their dolls. Given Lots never had a Barbie (she'd threatened anyone who bought her one with a painful death), this whole Barbie role play is a fascinating new experience to me.

I was pottering about the hall and could hear Anna and her friend Emma playing with Barbies in the dining room. I'm not sure what the conversation I overheard says about what kind of teenager Anna is one day going to be!

Anna: 'Emma, pretend this Barbie's boyfriend is coming over to visit her. Let's say she's invited him over to have a bath with her! She might not want him to see her privates when she's in the bath, so you make her a bikini, Emma!'


Thursday, May 15, 2014

One of those conversations

The three smallest kids currently share the biggest bedroom (as the master bedroom has been turned into the home office). As they are getting bigger, they are taking up more space and have more things. The chaos is becoming overwhelming. ( I need to get a DIY book on how to build your own extension!)

They'd been off for two weeks over Easter and every toy each of them possessed was strewn across the floor. Amaia's chest of drawers is in the far corner of the room but I couldn't even see a path to it as I went to put the washing away. I'd had enough. I snapped.

'I want this floor tidied now! I want a pathway cleared from here to the window before anyone goes out to play today!' I stormed out and downstairs to our room. I was sitting on the bed when I heard Thomas (who hadn't overheard our chat) enter their room. I heard him tell them in Danish that their room was a pigsty and that we wouldn't be doing anything fun until there was no longer a single toy on the floor and everything was back in each of their three toy boxes.

Anna then came out with a classic 'Well mummy said we only needed to clear a pathway, not clear the whole floor and since mummy is older than you she must be the boss so I think we only need to clear a path!' I'm not sure that was the best way to endear herself to either of her parents!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

If only we were Danish

Years ago I blogged about the odd Danish habit of single duvets. I'm a hugger. I can't think of anything worse than being under a different duvet in the same bed as the partner I am trying to sleep with. For years I have not been able to find a single justification for such an odd cultural trait... that was until I found my dream duvet last week on ebay... They don't make it any size other than single! Arg! That's discrimination - Danish couples can have lovely minion duvets while we Scots are stuck, unable to use them on our marital beds ;-)

Snails, anyone?

We always feed the kids the same food as we eat ourselves. I can't think of any exceptions. From they first taste solids chilis and spices are added to slowly build them up to the same tolerance as the rest of the family - you can't be making seven meals a night, can you? So on Sunday we had decided to start with snails. Marcel and Lots had had them years ago in France but 3, 4 and 5 had never been subjected to them.

Thomas brought them through. Léon and Anna stared at them in with a mix of fear and horror while Amaia laughed and smiled. I was surprised as Amaia, though great with very spicy food, tends to be the hardest when it comes to tasting new things. I told them I wanted them to try one each. Anna just looked disgusted, while Léon clasped his mouth firmly with both hands. Amaia poured the garlic and herb butter onto her plate and immediately started to dip her finger into it, delighted with the flavour. Again I was surprised how easy she was being. Anna eventually gave in and tasted one sliver, deciding they were vaguely similar to mussels, Léon pulled off a chunk with one hand, gagging dramatically as he put it to his mouth. But we got there. I happened at that point to notice Amaia was still only eating the sauce. Absent-mindedly, I pulled her snail out with a cocktail stick as I thought she couldn't manage it. She looked on completely shocked. 'What on earth is that?' she squealed. 'It's the snail! That,' I said, pointing 'is the snail sauce.' Without a single word she jumped in the air, somehow rotated through 180 degrees, landed cross-legged under the table with her arms folded, her nose in the air and her bottom lip sticking out. 'I've eaten the sauce, but there's no way I'm eating that!' 

I guess we're going to have to work on snails...

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Lost phone

Thomas lost his phone today. He asked Anna to look around the house to see if she could see it. Eventually she came and asked me if she could phone it with mine to save her looking.
'What's daddy under on your phone mummy? Thomas? Or 'My dear?'
Hahahaha - don't you love kids?

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Eye colour

I'm a DSLR man so have never really been a great fan of mobile phone photos but just occasionally I find they capture something completely right. And this is one of these occasions: Amaia's eyes often look monotone brown but in reality they are caramel brown with a fairly large ring of pale green around each iris. I was more than surprised yesterday to see the Samsung had managed to capture all that detail. It gets a thumbs up from me today.