Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wedding anniversary whiteout

Here's a photo of me with all my kids (then) on my wedding day, nine years ago today. No, I don't know what Marcel is doing to Léon either and I'm not even sure I want to know!

Although we'd been living together for a number of years, we had not got round to marrying before then (something to do with my ex-husband refusing all attempts at divorcing him, but that's another story!)

Today Thomas is having to work from home, rather than Edinburgh where he should be, because of this major snow lock-down in Scotland (and much of Europe). I was postulating over lunch that had our wedding been today rather than then, it would not have happened. Glasgow has shut all its schools and museums so I expect the registry office is also shut. We'd have got some cool photos, mind you!

During this conversation, Anna pipes up: 'Do you still have the dresses Charlotte and I wore at the wedding?' I think I saw them in the wardrobe recently, so I say I do and she immediately asks if she can have them for her kids to wear at her wedding! Charlotte then tries to gently point out that it isn't really the norm to have your kids at your wedding in this country and Anna, sweet and naive, looks terribly upset and asks why people would consider not even inviting their own kids to their wedding 'Surely they don't just leave them at home?' she sobbed! You've got to laugh! Charlotte finally spelt it out to her 'Most people live together, then get engaged, then get married, then have kids'. 

Anna's reply? 'Well, that's just weird!'

Amaia's reply? 'I still think you were selfish getting married before you had me. That makes me the only one of your kids who you didn't invite to your wedding!' 

Funny! I think we have some rather unorthodox kids in this family.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Robin Hood

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dishwasher issues

Is it just us? We go through a minimum of three of these bloody things every year. They are minimum £8.50 a pop and no sooner are they delivered than holes appear on the bottom and knives fall through and block the rotor. I know most families don't run their dishwasher twice a day but there are lots of us. I mean we don't even use it for pots, they need to be done by hand! Anyway, I am utterly sick of forking out for them when I know they are flimsy and useless but I can't find an alternative at any price. I'm seriously considering making one out of rust-proof metal - I bet I could make a small fortune on them!

Can you 3D-print them using some space-proof material or similar? Any idea?

Saturday, February 10, 2018


When Léon was about five or six months old, Charlotte invented the nickname 'Pudge(man) for him. Well, he was kind of pudgy back then - unfortunately he didn't shake off the name till he was about eight and people were always puzzled why the skinniest member of the family went by 'Pudge'.

For about three years he got to be Léon, but now she's come up with a new name for him. It started out as 'Doughball' because he was forever doing the daftest things, to her mind anyway. He was so consistent in his Doughballness, that she started shortening it to Doughb', which seems to be his current nickname.

On Thursday Charlotte had her Adv Higher Spanish prelim. You get disqualified from an exam if you are found to have a mobile phone on you, but as she keeps all her Spanish notes on her phone, she wanted it before the exam started, so leaving it at home was out. As S6s don't qualify for lockers at their school (fewer subjects, less need than the lower school), her original plan was to borrow Léon's locker key for the day, put her phone in there for the duration and then retrieve it, but of course 'Doughb' has managed, some time in the last fortnight, to misplace his locker key (with his PE kit inside!) so plan A was out.

Strangely, she decided to trust him to look after it while she was in the exam hall. As they got out the car, I saw her zipping it into his inside blazer pocket, not trusting him to do it himself. The plan was set, on the way up to school she had ascertained that he had Mandarin when she finished, so if she went to the Mandarin class and asked to get her phone back, all would be well. Of course, Doughb' couldn't be trusted to have remembered his timetable correctly, could he? So when he suddenly realised mid-morning that he, in fact, had French, not Mandarin when her exam finished, he helpfully sent her a text to rearrange where she had to meet him to pick up her phone. Doughb'!!!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


Because I am never likely to own my own vintage Fiat 500, I have a Fiat 500 key ring on my Ipsilon (as in 'Lancia') keys (sad, I know). It's very sweet and only cost a fiver off eBay a few years ago. I figured it was as close as I'd ever get. This morning I asked Léon to grab the keys to go to school. Somehow he dropped them on the wooden floor and the little car snapped off the chain irreparably 😢

Being a sweet kid, he handed me his debit card and told me to buy a new one off eBay. First, I found this,


which I was on the verge of ordering until suddenly this popped up! OMG - it never occurred to me in a million years that they sold real Chuggies on eBay!!! Anyone out there want to buy me a belated birthday present? please, please, please?!!

Product review

I don't usually bother reviewing products but our  latest food processor was so spectacularly bad, I thought I'd make sure everyone was warned off it.

When I got married to my first husband in 1991, we got a Moulinex food mixer as a gift and I used it all the time - it had many different sizes of grater, a shredder, and a knife that was great for 'liquidising' old bread into wonderful breadcrumbs. It was great! Being somewhat more of a chef than him, I got it in the divorce settlement. Phew!

It finally kicked the bucket last summer at the ripe old age of 26, not bad going for a £50 machine - £2 a year, if you like.

So we replaced it with a VonShef (left). It was in approximately the same price range. It had a good, even more powerful motor, so what could go wrong? Firstly, the grater discs had a space between the edge of the discs and the bowl so nothing grated, it just got clogged up with carrot mush every time we tried to make coleslaw. 😢

Having ruled out grating anything, ever, we resorted to doing that manually (for seven portions of things, this is a pain in the backside). Always trying to see the bright side, we decided at least the spinning knife attachment could be used to make our breadcrumbs (we always dry out all our old bread for breadcrumbs - why wouldn't you?) Wrong again, large chunks simply seemed to rotate uncut till you gave up and took the bread chunks out and chopped them, again by hand, into manageable chunks.

Pushing optimism further we attempted to attack a bag of carrots with the rotating knife last Saturday... The plastic safety clip, that you need to engage before the motor will start only went and snapped off! So after less than a dozen uses, it has been chucked in the garden, where I might plant a flower in it, as that would be a more apt use of it. 😠

So, if you're looking for a fifty-quid food processor that neither grates, crumbs nor shreds, I'd thoroughly recommend you buy yourself anything by VonShef! I, on the other hand, will not be buying anything by them ever again, just in case!


There are certain experiences in life that you just don't get if you never have kids... profound things like receiving a coffee cup in the shape of a lama for your birthday! 😀

Into the bargain, it's actually impossible to drink out of because its head gets in the way!😐


When I was growing up in Scotland, I learned to pronounce this word with an 'a' sound like in cat, but most people older than me seemed to pronounce it with the 'a' from cake, more like today's US pronunciation. Nowadays, the kids tend only to encounter my pronunciation, but older teachers do occasionally use the other. This morning I had to laugh as Léon and Anna were having a bitch about one such teacher who they'd both encountered in primary school. Hearing it with my (dare-I-admit-to-it?) 50 year-old ears, their understanding of the older pronunciation had never occurred to me but Léon summed it up this morning as 'Of course, it's transparent (like in cat), because transparent just sounds like your dad hangs about in a dress!' 😃

Saturday, February 03, 2018

One flash

It was Wednesday just after lunch. I was sitting at my living room window, reading Twitter on my computer when the hailstones began to fall. 'Wow, they're big', I thought to myself. So I picked up my mobile from the arm of my chair and pressed record, so I could show Thomas, who was in Edinburgh, the storm when he got home.

Within the first ten seconds after I started to film out my window, there was a flash and less than a second later the loudest thunder I have ever heard, including electric storms I've lived through in southern Europe. So shocked, you can see I nearly drop my phone(, while discussing religion with myself!) I continued to film for two more minutes but there was nothing. It was the most violent and the shortest electric storm of my life.

I stopped and pressed upload, but the Internet was down, which it definitely hadn't been less than two minutes earlier. I brought up the available connections, my two router extensions were listed but not the main house router that runs the whole thing... weird.

I went through to the router and no lights were on. Had the one flash blown up my router? I was seriously doubtful. I unplugged it and plugged it in again, nothing. I lifted my phone to ring Sky to report the fault, the phone was dead too. On inspection all my phones were also dead.

I got through to Sky on my mobile, they tested my lines, said they could do nothing and booked me an engineer for Friday. In the meantime, mum, who lives three streets away phoned to tell me neither of her TVs were working. Could one flash really do that?

The engineer arrived on Friday morning, exclaiming he was rushed off his feet as call-outs in my area had increased 10-fold in two days. In fact, he even had three more call-outs in my own street! I showed him the video on my phone (see above). The storm had actually hit my street!!! A house further up now had a tarpaulin on the roof where the one flash of lightning had blown a hole in their roof and unlike us they seemed fairly unconcerned, according to the engineer who had seen them, about the demise of their router. You see, the lightning had melted all the wiring in their house, inside their walls and sockets and of course had blown up everything that had been plugged in - their fridge, cooker, freezer, phones, TVs, computers, you name it. My house was just 100 metres from the strike. How scary is that?

So we're £120 down and Mum's engineer still hasn't been round so I fear her TVs may be fried but I'll update this once we hear.

Update: Final count at mum's was one satellite dish, two Sky receivers, one amplifier!