Saturday, October 29, 2016


I can't have been a very confident child. I was never brave enough to ask my grandparents to explain half of their Scottishisms when I was a small child so constantly sat puzzling over what they were on about, as I mentioned recently.

Another amusing misunderstanding was my Gramps's name for my brother. I'd say up for 90% of the time when we were little Gramps called Derek Henson. Obviously the other 10%, he actually called him Derek.This confused me. You see, Derek's middle name is Henderson (my Granny's family name). So, what went through my eight-year-old brain was something along the lines of - Isn't it odd  a) that Gramps calls my brother by his middle name? (I don't have a middle name, so had no precedent to compare this to) b) that my Gramps gets his middle name wrong when it is after his own wife? I think I was about twelve before it suddenly dawned on me. Being a wee Glasgow man, he called me hen. Being a wee Glasgow man he called Derek son, but through habit came out with hen first (I had been around for three and a half years before Derek showed up so he was more used to addressing a grandchild as hen than son) then corrected his own mistake. So he wasn't calling Derek Henson, he was calling him hen...emm... son! D'oh!

First Bus 4

It's been a long week. No, in fact, it's been a loooooong week.

When you work from home and you have five kids, albeit only four at home term time, you need to schedule your time down to the last minute to fit everything in. You need to write to do lists all over your house so you don't forget that school meeting, that kid's party, that dental appointment, that presentation... You know there's something to hand in by the date specified somewhere... somewhere in one of those letters in one of those piles on the coffee table, or was it the dining table... or did someone stick it on  the fridge door? I swear there are weeks when I am hanging on by the tips of my fingernails and as I reach the end of my forties, I find that if I don't have my phone appointment system remind me everything not only when I waken in the morning but again ten minutes before an event, then I am doomed. And the kids - they need to all pull together or we're never going to achieve half of what is on that to do list...

So when First Bus Glasgow (grrrr, spit) gave us less than a month's warning before removing the bus (No 4) that Charlotte (and Marcel before her) has used every day since starting high school to go to and from school, I was fuming. This week marked the start of my new life with no bus. I now have to get all the kids up earlier - just what you need coming into winter. The latest we can be outside is fully 25 minutes earlier than it was last week so lunches, clothes and bags now need to be prepared the night before - but of course, there is now less, not more, time for that as we have to go to bed earlier now, to get up earlier. This is no big deal but it is a change to the routine of the last nine years (plus). And I really felt like changing a routine that has worked well for years. In the afternoon I pick up the wee ones at three and now have more than 35 minutes wait on Charlotte coming out. That's just enough time to drive them home and turn back and go back to school. That works on days Thomas is working from home but not if no one is home. On those days we all have to sit in the car and listen to the kids niggle each other. They are too tired straight after school to take out their homework books. They are too fidgety to sit and wait so if it is dry they can run round in circles, I guess but if it is raining we are caged for half an hour. Then we finally get home about 3.55... one hour and ten minutes to do a trip that used to take me thirty minutes. That's forty lost minutes every afternoon.

I'm sure after a few weeks it will be our new norm and when I have a lot of work on, I'll no doubt be found behind the wheel, in the high school layby on my laptop. But I ask you? Wasn't my life complicated enough without screwing up all my schedules? It's just so tiring.

Ironically, Charlotte herself is the only one not affected - she now gets up five minutes later than before and gets home half an hour earlier. She no longer needs to battle the elements on the way to the bus stop, because there is no bus stop. She's probably been quietly petitioning First Bus for years to drop their service!

I am considering running a minibus twice daily given how many groups of soaking kids I've passed on the 45 minute (plus) walk of the old bus route. It'd probably pay off.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Amaia's shopping list

Amaia was on dinner tonight so came up with a list of what she needed to make our meal. I miss this phonetic spelling stage once they get further into school. It has a sweet charm to it. I should savour the last months of it while I can as I sadly won't be going there again, I guess.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Trying to become Marcel

I feel these days like we're just clinging on the last seconds of childhood with Léon.

First it was his distinct lack of interest in play parks last year. He's stopped playing with all the younger kids in the street who always used to come in for him, usually claiming he's busy with some household chore. Of course, he's also grown to almost my height in the last year and has moved up four shoe sizes since Easter.

Then he and some school friends made a 'band' because it is ok to hang out with girls and talk to them on Skype as long as you have the excuse that it is because you're all in the one band.

Last week Marcel dropped by for dinner. He asked Léon if he'd like a designer t-shirt he'd grown out of. It was a size S adult, so there I was ready to put it in the loft (in a bag marked boys' clothes ages 14) when he put it on and it fits fine - arg! Mind you, I now think he might need more than one, given he's been wearing it three days solid, as he's so pleased to be in something his cool big brother recommended! I doubt there will be any further use for t-shirts with cute dinosaurs or skeletons now he's discovered plain teenager ones.

But I think yesterday was the real eye opener. He asked to go to the hairdresser... alone! And came back looking like this. It's not a huge change but I can definitely see where he's trying to go.

It is very sweet to see who his role model obviously is!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Never again

I probably didn't have my glasses on, and I like lilac so would have lifted this in my shopping rush based on its colour more than anything.

I can only assume it was possibly conceived as one of the tasks on The Apprentice or some similar show. You know, where they stick half a dozen enthusiastic but inexperienced people in a room and tell them to come up with a new fragrance, or a new shampoo, or the likes. Well, let me assure you, where lavender works well, rosemary most definitely doesn't! When you've just washed your hands, a overwhelming scent of rosemary is beyond appalling. You quickly develop a feeling greasiness, like you've been stuffing a leg of lamb for Sunday dinner. In fact, you smell like you need to wash your hands! You wouldn't use garlic or lovage in a hand soap, and I'm not sure rosemary isn't in the same category! As for using it to wash any other part of your body, I can't even imagine what experiences that could conjure up! The lipstick kiss on the bottle makes me shiver at the very thought!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


I've done precious little work today and it's all the fault of those fucking Tories.

I don't remember the last time I swore in the first line of my blog. I doubt I ever have. But I have a husband who is pacing up and down, fuming and my husband doesn't fume.

Four days is all the Tory conference lasted but in those four days I have learnt that my husband has the privilege of being one of the government's famous bargaining chips, so they sure as hell are not going to reassure him he can stay despite being the father of British citizens and being half way through paying for a house here. Human shield mentality - I'm sure that's been used before in Kuwait... I have learnt that the 62% of Scotland who voted to remain in the EU and for that matter the 48% of the rest of the UK who did are not to be listened to. And despite no one even explaining what Brexit meant before the vote, she apparently now has a mandate not just to go all soft and Norwegian on us, but to go full-out isolationist with no trade deals in place for our kids' future. By the time the kids are my age, they might just have a few deals in place, so everything will be hunky dory. Companies are threatening to pull out of banking and the car industry left, right and centre but who gives a toss - we have Union Jacks and the Queen! Who needs to work with scientists, doctors or academics from all over the EU if instead we can send home the doctors who are currently saving even Tory lives in England but only till 2025, when they can fuck off back to BongoBongoland (I think that's Boris's term of endearment for where they come from.) Then they'll all be replaced by nice white English doctors who will be fined £220K should they happen to fall in love on their holidays in Tenerife and try staying there... but of course they won't be going on holiday any more because the pound has fallen about 30% already in just 3 months. Then this morning I learnt I'm to inform on my business partner for being a foreigner employed by a UK registered company that I happen to own - the fact that he set up that company, is co-director/owner and the fact that it brings money into the UK from all over Europe and the world counts for nothing. Well you know what, Theresa? He's my husband so you can fuck off. I will be clyping on no one. It's time for civil disobedience. I will not be dancing to your tune. Then I heard at tea time that she wants to run a nationalist party with the values of socialism and ordinary workers at its heart. Now where have I heard that one before??? Maybe we could call it the Nationalsozialistische ... Arbeiterpartei. Hmm, that has a nice ring to it... FFS! Hey, here's an idea - maybe I could cut out the middle man and start sewing a symbol of her choice on my husband's and my children's clothes in case any one happens to take them for fully British. We can't have that, not compared to us ethnically pure Brits!

It's reassuring at least to know the opposition are right on their backs and trying to sort it, or actually did they not bother debating Brexit at their conference? It's a shame that they don't seem to have the time to sit up and notice that the new PM is an escaped nutter.