Thursday, February 28, 2019

Tenth wedding anniversary

Kids can get offended at the oddest things and one thing that has offended Amaia all her life is that she was not invited to her parents' wedding. The fact that she wasn't actually conceived until 5 weeks after we got married, is apparently not an acceptable get-out clause either! We had both our other daughters at the wedding and therefore we have offended her deeply by not waiting to see if we were going to have any more kids, then waiting till they were born and old enough to wear a pretty dress!

So today is apparently the day she's been waiting for all her life! Charlotte was 9 years and 8 weeks old when we got married. Amaia is 9 years and 7 weeks old today, which means she gets to try on Charlotte's bridesmaid's dress. (The fact that Lots was a tomboy back then and had to be bribed into that dress, kicking and screaming is of little interest to Amaia!) She assumes that because she thinks it is stunning, Charlotte must have thought the same, back in the day. She says she intends to keep it on all evening, then put it back into storage for her bridesmaid!

Here she is in all her glory!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Everything is Theresa May's fault!

Newton Mearns and Barrhead are currently taking part in Beat the Street. From being reluctant to go on our daily walks, Anna has become a demon walker, organising outings with friends and even walking the more than two miles from school to our house. The unusually lovely spring temperatures are helping too, so since the whole thing began a couple of weeks ago she has now clocked up more than 30 miles on foot!

It is also great for community spirit. People are out with their maps and even talking to each other, especially in times of adversity... The nearest beat box to my house is actually across the road and up a lane from where it appears on the Beat the street map, so there's a great sense of camaraderie in my street, as people join forces to hunt it down!

Every morning we are now walking 2000 steps to school so we can beep three boxes. This morning as we reached the last one in the spring sunshine Amaia came out with the cutest comment: 'I hate Theresa May, she just ruins everything!' Now, I don't disagree with the sentiment there, but I was curious to find out what exactly she was referring to. She elaborated 'So many things are being ruined by Brexit. It could break up my family, I don't know if my daddy will still be allowed to stay or work here, or if I can still go and see Farmor and Großvater, it affects jobs and food and medicine and everything and it's even gonna wreck Beat the street!' That had me stumped. How exactly was the Maybot wrecking Beat the street? 'Well, it finishes on Brexit day too, so it must be because of Brexit!' The competition does indeed finish on Brexit day - quite astute of a 9 year old to be clued up enough to have noticed that - but this is actually because it is the last day of the current academic term in East Ren, rather than because Brexit! Brexit is not going to be banning us from walking. In fact, you could even find yourself having to walk much more, Amaia!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Put in my place

Marcel has managed to secure himself a post-grad job in London/Singapore/Manhattan with an investment bank. It's only a two year contract, but he figures that will be enough to give him a taste and some experience of that sector so at the end, he can choose to apply to stay, move to a competitor, or run for the hills screaming that that wasn't for him. He starts in London in September.

He was discussing the fact that if he saves well, he could even decide to do some sort of post-grad or PhD after his two years, as he'd have the financial backing. Excited by all these possibilities, I made the mistake of saying out loud that he'd be welcome to stay with us while he was studying if that was any help. I hadn't really thought about it, I just mentioned it, because he is still my little boy after all. But as I said it I saw it in his eyes even before he let me down gently. There was a mixed look almost of pity and puzzlement, that I should even have thought it! 'Mum, I love you dearly and all but moving back to the gaff and living with the fam, seriously, at my age?'  

And then it hit me like a tonne of bricks. My wee boy grew up, so far up and away that he is a man now. He loves me, but he doesn't need me any more. He's self sufficient, both emotionally and financially. Parenting, when you do it right, means giving them the tools to make their own life, and the confidence to do so. Somehow, completely by fluke, I seem to have managed that. But how quickly did it happen? It's both wonderful and crushing in equal measures. My first little baby is unlikely to ever live with me again, unless ironically, I become so old and doddery, he takes me in!

One down, four to go...

The human life span really is immeasurably short, the further you get into it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I wasn't expecting that

Thomas has been going on for years about wanting a record turntable he can hook up to his PC so he can digitise his remaining obscure records. To be honest, I couldn't really be bothered with it because I couldn't see why he'd want a digital copy of three kiddie records we no longer need and some weird Georgian stuff he hasn't listened to since the mid-90s.

But, his birthday came round last week and stressed to breaking point with all this Brexit nonsense, I couldn't really come up with something imaginative this year, so I opted for this. I figured he could digitise the stuff he had over a week then sell it second hand for almost the original price.

How wrong was I? Literally within five minutes of him putting it on, I was captivated. I never believed before that vinyl sounded better than cds or mp3s, but this felt like I was in the room with the orchestra, rather than just listening online to the flatter perfect sound of digital. Within a day, I'd been up to the loft and dragged down my old LPs and now instead of reselling it, I'm trawling through ebay for used vinyl.

This really has been an eye-opener.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Paesano pizza

We don't usually go out for birthday dinners - there's so many of us it ends up costing too much, and cooking is something even the little ones have mastered fairly well. This year, however, Thomas's birthday fell on the first day of the kids' February break, so he suggested that the biggies could meet us for lunch in town. It turned out Marcel had a fluey bug, so that just left Lots. As we were only meeting one uni student, finding somewhere near her uni then suited best. We opted for Paesano Pizza in the west end. At first I assumed it was a big chain but it turns out there are only two of them, both in Glasgow.

The menu had pizzas from only a fiver, you could have all the normal drinks or even just a glass of free tap water if that suited your budget better. They cooked the pizza in less than five minutes in a real wood-burning pizza oven like the ones we use ourselves whenever we are in Tuscany. I have to say I came away with the question - why does anyone in Glasgow ever go near Dominoes, if you can have this quality at this price?

The only thing that put a damper on the whole thing for me was the fact that I could hear, given the open kitchen, that all the pizza chefs and all the dish washers were young Italian men, speaking together in Italian. Given there is no way a single one of them is on £30K a year, I assume that the shelf-life of this wonderful and authentic Italian restaurant is unlikely to go beyond March 29 this year.

What goes through that mind?

Léon: Muuuuum! 
Me: What?
Léon: I'm just cutting my toenails - what bin do they go in? The black one or the recycling one?

What actually goes through his mind? What could a 13 year old's toenails possibly be recycled into that would be of use to the greater public? Drinks cups? Disposable cutlery? Packaging of some sort? My mind is boggled!

It's never dull...