Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Cat Has Ideas

While we believe he is simply spending those 18 hours a day cuddled up on the sofa fast asleep, Cat is really scheming for world domination, or how to get those pouches open without needing me in the house at the time - whichever comes first.
He has never forgiven me for giving him the same name as an airhead shhlebrity socialite - hey, *she* wasn't famous 7 years ago matey!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Eldest Hobbit fell down the stairs in a most spectacular fashion the other day.

There is a moment, when you realise the noise you are hearing is not a normal thumping of heavy size 12 feet but a rather different sound. Heart in mouth I literally leaped to the bottom of the stairs in time to see him end his cartwheel in a heap at my feet. Nothing was broken, the only memento he has are two bruises, one on his hip another on his knee.

I am ashamed to say he is not the first to take the express route. When they were 18 months old Youngest Hobbit escaped from the stair-gate (we binned the damn thing after it became apparent the adults in the house were the only ones to find it troublesome to open.) The next thing, that sound of child hitting steps, filled me with horror. I rushed him to hospital, sure I would be told that I had broken my own child and what an awful parent I was!

"Don't worry about it," the doctor said nonchalantly, "babies bounce."

I won't mention the fact that Eldest Hobbit's first visit to hospital happened after he dug his tiny 4-month-old feet into his changing table mat, gave an almighty push and shot off the end of it. Their hapless father was in charge that day, it very nearly ended him. Say no more.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Reasons To Be Thankful?

I'm not American, I've been there, lived there and partook (its a word if I say it is) in Thanksgiving when there. I also pondered if the Native Americans feel particularly cheery on this day but that is another matter.

So here I am, wondering what to be thankful for whilst glad I am not having to cook a grand feast so soon before Christmas (oh yes it all falls to me now.)

I am thankful for my freedom. (Not in an overly patriotic way but in a hey-I've-got-the-bed-to-myself way.)

I am thankful my boys are healthy and seem to be coming through these dark days relatively unscathed.

I am thankful...okay this is hard.

This week the fuel prices hit an eye-watering level. I would use public transport if I could, but I can't, so I get to pay these over-inflated prices - yipee.

The personal details of 25 million peeps, handily available on disc-size, has gotten lost. Fingers crossed that the criminal gangs that have been allowed to flourish unchallenged don't get their hands on it, eh? Perhaps the details of yours truly will get into the wrong hands, they'll have a nose around my bank account, think "bloody hell" and transfer some money in. Double fingers-crossed that in 10-15 years time neither Hobbit finds their identity stolen in time to ruin their clean and shiny credit rating.

Circumstances are still running on stress-level high. You think you know someone and then...

Our government, who hasn't enough money to offer cancer sufferers all the medicine they need has enough to bail out some bank. Do you think I could get them to "loan" me money? I'll promise to pay it all back when Northern Rock pay theirs, i.e. when hell freezes over and the camels come skating home.

Reasons to be thankful. The clouds are overhead and they don't look good. I've always liked Hello Kitty, perhaps if I concentrate on this picture, look into the eyes, not around the eyes, then things will seem cheerier.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Love Of Books

It would seem that both Hobbits have inherited my love of books. Something I will encourage with much enthusiasm.

At yesterdays birthday party eldest Hobbit had, in his goodie bag, a little book. He was delighted and so was I when I realised it was an updated version of books I had read when I was little too. The Littlenose series, with new artwork, is bound to be a favourite considering the Hobbits loved Ice Age (both films) with a particular fondness for the woolly mammoth!

Ex used to sneer at my love of books, the piles of books that cover every shelf, I used to point out that the reason they were called book shelves was an indication for what they were to be used for. I have books that belonged to my (maternal) Grandfather, his atlas he used at school in 1911. I have books given to me after my Uncle C died of cancer nearly 15 years ago, my Aunt knew they would get no better home and he had some classic books, lots of Nevil Shute. Books have given me solace when nothing else would; they offer a way of leaving this reality and entering another; involving yourself in the characters, the situations if only for a half hour at a time.

When I was ill in hospital having the Hobbits I read all the Harry Potter books that had been released until that point - 4 fyi! Not only that I read them to the Hobbits to the bemusement of everyone around me. They might not have know what I was saying, they might have been more concerned with the newborn priorities of food, sleep and poo, but I read to them anyway.

Nearly every night I have read to them, sometimes library books and sometimes from their own impressive bookshelves (charity shops are great places if you haven't a lot of money but want to get good childrens books plus I've added all my own books from childhood - the ones my mother didn't give away, the horror!) So from tonight Littlenose will be devoured...and I look forward to it!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


This is a photograph of a rather lovely wolf. It has nothing to do with the topic of this post at all.
Eldest Hobbit was at a classmate's birthday party this afternoon. He was at her birthday party last year too so this is a continuing friendship. A really nice girl too, the kind he can bring home to meet me in another 15 years or so and I'll be happy for him. He tells me, on the way there, that she likes magic and High School Musical. Though possibly not at the same time.
It was one of my biggest fears when the Hobbits began their school life: would they be popular? Oh, I wasn't wanted the type of children where they were the be all and end all and arrogant with it; I just wanted them to have friends and be happy. I was always the outsider at school (yeah, I know here is the worlds smallest violin, playing just for me. Poor old me.) I had friends but none of them close and I never kept in touch with anyone nor had anyone who kept in touch with me for that matter, I regret that now. The social exclusion of the only child. I didn't want it for my boys. Lucky I had them two at a time then.
Youngest Hobbit I worry about more, while eldest Hobbit seems to have found his niche - to be pampered by the girls in his class and well liked by the boys - youngest Hobbit is more like me. Content in his own company. Then I hear him talk of playing with the other children, such as The Kissy Girl, it should ease my concerns but I know he has no one he is particularly close to. I am probably reading too much into this, they are only just coming up to 6 years old.
I just don't want them ever to turn out like me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Friends come in the most unexpected guises.
That wasn't too saccharine was it? I was trying to be genuine. I thought the way the rhino looked at the raven was so fascinating I drove the Hobbits mad by watching them interact for ages. At least 5 minutes, that is an age in Hobbit-time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Will We Remember Them?

Another year, another Remembrance Day and I wonder how long before the relevance is questioned and the commitment of two whole minutes of silent contemplation in our time precious day is considered too much?

These are selfish times we are living in, perhaps WWII still has impact on today's society, particularly considering the lines between good and bad were much more clearly drawn than in certain recent conflicts. (Yet our soldiers continue to go wherever duty requires regardless.) There are films made, heroes commemorated and many books written on the subject of what went on during 1939-1945.

Those who remember WWI first hand are fading: it is all second-hand, sometimes third-hand memories of family members sacrificed or lucky escapes. Certainly there are the books and the photographs but not in the same way as WWII is chronicled.

Since learning the words of Dulce et Decorum Est in high school, there was a realisation of the monumental waste of human life, of future generations of possible geniuses wiped out for reasons I have yet to understand. That is the point, in WWII the motives were more clear cut, we knew what they were fighting for and why. But WWI? Oh I know the details but the link between the catalyst and the huge loss of young men huddled in filthy, dank terrifying trenches has always been sketchy. More to do with generals trying to prove themselves and resulting in needless sacrifices of the soldiers than any strategic plans - to win what exactly?

Last year we visited Ieper while in Belgium, took the Hobbits to the Menin Gate where list upon list of the names of men never found...that is just the men whose bodies disappeared in the mud forever, not the ones they did find and who lie buried beneath crisp white crosses, inspired a dreaded awe. The brilliant museum In Flanders Fields brought home the experiences of those young men, on both sides, in such a way I felt that perhaps WWI is the war we should pay tribute to more on this day.

Lifes cut short, families left to grieve and for what? The lesson wasn't learned as they did it all again 20 years later. And that is why Remembrance Day has to continue...

"...I died in Hell
(they called it Passchendaele)..."
- Siegfried Sassoon

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Indoor Rain

There I am, relaxing while watching Friends With Money and thinking "if only!" Ha.

And I hear a noise.

And it is not a normal noise but the sound of water pitter patting down the stairs.

Oh holy god but there must be a burst pipe somewhere, will this ever end.

Yes, a burst pipe, but not of the household plumbing. Poor eldest hobbit, having turned right instead of left, missed the toilet by a whole room and peed down the stair, that's right - peed down the stairs - narrowly missing his school shoes which, being the slattern I am, are stacked in pairs up the steps. Ease of use you see.

"Oh mummy," says he finally waking up properly, "wheres the toilet?!"

You see son, I have the house on wheels and while you are asleep I move it about, just to confuse the sleepy child needing the toilet. He is now cleaned up, fresh jammies on and back to bed fast asleep again. At least he didn't pee the bed.

It fair lightened up the dark mood that the you-know-what had put me in.

Bye Bye Exhaust

I had a look under the car today.

I wish I hadn't.

The exhaust pipe, where it is attached to the fat bit (right so I don't know what that part is called, sue me) isn't attached to it anymore.

Ah feck.

It is almost like I am being tested to see how much crap I can deal with. Well, the bank is closed, I have nothing left and I am shamefaced I've had to go cap in hand to borrow from my parents. It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Trying to think of a link to choosing this photo:
More money down the Swanee.
I make no apologies for cringe worthy jokes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Didn't Forget...

Not to mention the fact I failed to write a post on Hallowe'en, with the Hobbits looking so fine in their pumpkin outfits. We are working our way through the haul of teeth-rotters, a little each day.

Last night, yes, the 5th November.

Time for the next-door neighbours to re-enact the Battle of the Somme again. It wasn't so bad this year, it only went on for 2 hours as opposed to the 3 hour endurance test of last year. This will be the only time I am glad Alex the dog is not with us anymore, it was torture for him last year, stayed in his crate shivering, wouldn't come to another room with me so I spent the time in the kitchen with him. Out of badness over what they were doing to my dog I kept the kitchen lights on. Well.....

According to the Hobbits version of history Guy Fawkes actually managed to make "the castle explode and he killed the King." Almost babies, almost! I tried to explain what really happened, short of going over the whole death thing, didn't really work out! How gory do you go with dealing history to children?

Is This A Castle I See Before Me?

I shall not concentrate on the fact that the car is making a very funny noise today that may just be the excessive cold and may just be the exhaust giving up, through exhaustion. See, the first signs of madness are found in the hysterical laugh. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.
So if anyone reads this, and one day finds themselves in Edinburgh, at a loss what to do, the Museum of Scotland is free. As it is attached to the Royal Museum, also free, you could kill two birds with one stone. They have stuffed birds as well, might not after the refurbishment so get there quick if that is your thing.
Take the lift (elevator if you are American) to the 5th floor and before having a nose around the very interesting historical nick-knacks go up the swirly stairs to the very top of the museum for a panoramic view of Edinburgh. You can then see this, and take a photo if you wish, or not.
(P.S. no I don't know if that is how you spell nick-knacks, pedants are more than welcome to illustrate the lack of decent education afford at my schools - hey it was the 80s the teachers were out on strike! - and correct me, please.)

Monday, November 05, 2007


Back to what we did in the October holidays. Well, what is the point of going somewhere and not reminiscing!

The thing about Koalas is that there is an indescribable urge to rip them off their perch and give them great big cuddles. Naturally one doesn't act on such urges but there is the necessity to speak in a babyish, silly voice and say "Oooh wook at da wittle bubby!" Hence the rather surprised look on this little chaps face.

Sense will prevail, perhaps it was the smell of the eucalyptus leaves.

"I'm so cuddly, I like you!"

Sunday, November 04, 2007


October gave me one last kick in the ribs when I backed out of our drive only to end up in the side of a neighbour's car as she hurtled past. Only the car didn't belong to her, it belongs to her friend, a mobility car (don't get me started on that subejct!) as well, and apparently she doesn't have a licence. And she kept insisting on giving her friend's name rather than her own (6 years as neighbours and I don't know her name says it all really.) Through other neighbours it is passed on the info about her non-existant licence and well-known reckless driving. Which I guess makes sense if she never sat a licence!

First accident I have ever had and it grinds at me that I have to be made liable because I was reversing. Never mind the fact that there was no way she could have missed seeing me move out of the drive, never mind that she sped past in an effort to get by me despite the fact I was fully out of the drive and...ah what the hell, it doesn't matter. It happened and that is that and at a time when I have been squeezed financially to the point of extinction so the excess is an unwelcome burden.

One thing after another, after another, after another.

So I duly tell my insurance company that I do not have the driver's name but only that of the car owner, I give them all the information I have and they don't seem really bothered. I guess I was wrong in thinking you weren't supposed to drive without insurance or licence.