Thursday, November 30, 2017

It didn't drive like that in my day!

When I came back from living in Italy in 1986, I was desperate for a Fiat 500 (as you may have guessed by now). They were too old to be readily available (in a decent state), yet too new to be collectors' items yet. The majority of them were beaten and bashed and in a complete state, so I decided that as I wanted to buy a newish (and reliable (that turned out to be a joke)) vehicle, I opted for a more sensible two-year-old Fiat 126.

It coughed and spluttered. It had a top speed of 68mph (110kph)... I managed 70 in it once, (fully-loaded, downhill with a tail wind, I think!) It had a 4 speed gear box and a manual choke. It had the engine in the boot and the boot in the bonnet (opening the opposite way to a normal bonnet, like the old Saabs did in their day). I loved it because it was my first car, but it definitely didn't drive like the one in that video! What fun I could have had if mine had had a souped-up engine like that one!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Parenting a space cadet

I sometimes wonder if you need the patience of a saint to be mother to a 12 year old boy, or maybe  just a good sense of humour. I made chilli con carne yesterday and then popped out to pick Léon up from debating at school at six. On my way home I realised I needed some shopping so told him the only way dinner could be ready for seven was if I dropped him at home and popped straight to Aldi for 15 minutes. He cooks dinner at least once a week so it wasn't that he isn't capable in the kitchen, he's just lacking somewhat in the memory-span department. I emphasised how important it was to the point where he impressed me by taking out his phone and writing himself a note on it. The instructions weren't hard - Put four portions of rice in the rice cooker and press on, then relight the gas under the chilli, but quite low just to keep it warm. What could possibly go wrong? I dropped him at 6:10 and was back by 6:30. I walked in. The chilli was on (a little too high but on at least). The rice was in the rice cooker, with water (no salt), plugged in but no lights on. Léon, Anna and Amaia were happily microwaving three hot chocolates complete with mini-marshmallows, all jolly and happy. 'What was the most important thing I asked you to do, the only thing I absolutely needed you to do?' I asked 'Put on the rice', he replied proudly. 'And is it on?' I asked more tentatively... 'Well it's in the rice cooker, oh it's not on! - one out of two isn't bad, is it?' We ate half an hour late! But hey, at least they had hot chocolate!

Fast forward a few hours. After violin practice, he was last seen heading to his room with his violin carefully strapped on his back, pity he forgot to close the case, and thank goodness for that tiny little Velcro strap round its neck. He spent most of this evening trying to track down the neck rest for it which had dropped out the case as it wasn't Velcroed down... turned out to be in the cupboard with the school juices, where it had dropped out when he had been making his lunch last night while apparently wearing his violin.

Wonder what he'll forget tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Living in the mad zone

With each passing day it puzzles me more and more why any EU nationals want to apply for PR (permanent residence) and/or UK citizenship. This week alone we have lost the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency, not that you would know it if you went on the BBC front page news summary; they've not bothered to report it, or if they have, it is so many layers down, you'll only find it if you already know it's there. Those who are reporting it are headlining with the actual number of posts lost in each agency rather than pointing out that international bodies mean international visitors which means hotel rooms, restaurant places, international schools and a whole host of knock-on effects.

And last night in the Commons they decided that one of the highlights of Brexit means not only can we scrap human rights but animals can be voted to have no consciousness of pain etc either. FFS. Who still wants to live here? It's a basket case country heading for the toilet quickly. With each passing hour, I feel more clearly that this is not the kind of country I want to bring my kids up in. I am beyond disgusted by everything the Tory government stands for and if this continues, I will have no option but to leave with the rest of my EU family.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

If you do something long enough, someone will notice!

It's not often quote of the day goes to one of the biggies; they've long grown out of the cute stage. But maybe we are entering a more perceptive zone...

Suddenly, without warning, yesterday Charlotte came out with 'Oh my god, I just realized what you do, mum!' At first I figured she meant lexicography, or translating, copy-editing or even the more tedious proof-reading, but no she wasn't talking work!

It was dark, with freezing drizzle and everyone was snapping at each other and generally winding, she elaborated 'You get up to take us to school, even on days when you don't have to work first thing!' It's quite perceptive really; I've only been doing it since 1997 (with an end-date of 2028 now almost in sight)!

I think she'd been in denial till now! And her closing remark? 'And I thought I wanted kids...'

Doesn't look like I'm going to be a granny any time soon!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A weird bunch

My kids were walking down the street together in Edinburgh the other week. Thomas and I were far enough behind that we didn't look like we were together. It suddenly occurred to me that you don't see groups like that walking about. To an outsider, they must look quite a curious bunch. They obviously aren't a group of teenage friends, they can't be students or schoolchildren either, and they definitely aren't a couple with kids. They don't fit into any known mould really and people don't really expect families of five kids, let alone and age spread of 7-20. They are very cute to observe together though!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Surreal video

I was procrastinating the other day before a job when I decided to take a trip down memory lane. Obviously in my youth, you stuck on a cassette, you didn't have music videos on demand. I started looking on Youtube at the things I listened to as a child and found all sorts of amazing footage that was never available to us as kids. This Abba video from '74 definitely stood out as the weirdest one I came across. Maybe I'll set myself the task of finding myself a surreal video a week from now on to give me a laugh.

Rotting crabs

Why don't people use crab apples in Scotland? There are so many trees around where we live and many different varieties as you can see in the pictures below, that Thomas and I collect enough to make jam for the year, every year. So many trees end up looking like this one!

Are we the only apple jelly makers in Newton Mearns?

Glasgow wedding suite

I'm sad they decided to sell the Glasgow registry office not long after Thomas and I got married in it. It felt like the right place to marry and was stunning as well. It's a shame we can't go back there to share others' happy days, or even show it to Amaia who was born after our wedding.