Saturday, May 27, 2017


This was taken the last time we spent a whole day in Pisa - we've flown through it since, but the kids haven't been to the tower since Anna was 18 months old, so that means Amaia was -5 months last time she saw the tower. So we were discussing it tonight and Amaia decided she just has to visit it this summer.

She sat looking at photos on the computer with Charlotte as she hadn't seen the tower before and then as always she came up with a profound question: See before the tower started leaning to one side, what was its name? Ehhhhh...

Friday, May 12, 2017

Teenagers are definitely getting younger

Is it normal for an 11 year old to stand admiring himself in the mirror (when he hasn't noticed his sister is behind the door 🤣 ) and remark 'Looking swag, if I do say so myself!' 😂

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

7 year old philosophy

Fascinating question of the evening from number 5: Amaia: Is this a leap year? Me: No, last year was. Amaia: But we leapt over the 29th of February this year and last year we didn't, cos we had a 29th. Woah - I'd never thought about that before! She wants to know what others think!

Monday, May 08, 2017

Cunning plans for cheating

Léon has always had mild allergies. He doesn't even need to touch himself to end up looking like this, he simply needs to swim a couple of lengths of a chlorinated pool. He dives in looking fine and when he emerges at the other end the life guard tends to look somewhat alarmed - are there perhaps sharks in there, that I've somehow overlooked? Giving his back a gentle rub tends to result in 6-10 hours of this attractive look. There's hay fever too and blue food colouring used to bring him out in eczema. We, of course, had him allergy tested at hospital for all the usual culprits - grass, milk, egg, nuts, sea food etc - all showed a very mild reaction, nothing bad enough that he should avoid it, nothing good enough that he can stray too far from the cetirazine. It's odd though - he has good months, then bad but the one thing that is always bad is the skin thing - diagnosed when he was little as dermatographic urticaria.

Although it looks sore and itchy, Léon claims it doesn't actually bother him - it's apparently neither sore nor itchy despite the dramatic look. He told me recently he has been known to play knots and crosses on his arm with school friends when bored in assemblies (but only when he gets a seat at the back)!

With Charlotte half way through her Highers, it suddenly occurred to the wee bugger last week - hey, when I'm Charlotte's age I could write all the Maths formulas or English quotes on my skin with my nail and they would fade away by the time I come out the exam! I don't think so, pet! He even gave me this demo!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The amazing things you find hidden on Youtube

We are used to being able to track (some parents, literally, though not me) our kids. When Marcel is in Edinburgh I can see on Instagram or Facebook where he's been or what he's been up to. You always know where they are these days. But when the kids go off on their World Challenge trip, they don't take their phones so you are completely cut off. Phones are strictly forbidden - the rationale being that if they're having a wobbly 10 000 miles from home, then they would contact their family or friends and it would leave both them and their family in a state while being unable to help, if however, they have no phone or social media, they will rely on their team mates for support and they'll quickly get through any downs. Because of this, I've never seen any footage of Marcel's trip through India, just some photos.

Charlotte is in the final countdown to her trip to Nicaragua - 39 days, so while procrastinating over her Maths studying today, she googled MCHS (Mearns Castle High School) World Challenge and happened upon three wonderful videos of Marcel and his team in India.

I have to admit, watching it brings on a whole host of emotions. I'm thrilled to see my boy on the other side of the world, so happy and at ease. I'm tearful seeing him handing the gifts to those villagers and waving them goodbye. At the same time I'm sad that I never had an opportunity like that in my day and desperate to jump on the nearest plane to experience the chaos, the heat, the smells... (I was born to travel and that need has never left me). Finally it fills me with determination that all my kids should get to see the world while helping others - what better start could there be to adult life?

Next month when Charlotte gets on that plane to take her fifteen hours away, I'll be scared witless that my tiny little girl is stepping out into the world, and at the same time I will be so thrilled for her. She is such a lucky girl.

Hey, maybe they do World Challenge for pensioners? Maybe my day will come... one day?

(I have to say too how much I love the third video - it's so cute, but I think Marcel's auntie Gillian might need to give him some dancing lessons!) Lol.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Swimming perspectives

We took the kids swimming at the weekend. Léon and Anna were competing on lengths of the pool. Léon managed twelve without stopping, so Anna tried (and failed) to beat his record, only managing about ten. Later on, discussing their achievements, Amaia chipped in with a surprising - Oh, I managed fourteen! Of course, she went on to elaborate, I stopped to rest after each one of course and I did seven of them up and down the way and the other seven from side to side! 

Side to side lengths is quite a sweet term for breadths, but give the other two their due, they let her believe she was the winner, which was sweet.