: blogs : china : me : photos : work : life : things : links :


Web Log

Below are is my complete weblog:

38 So Soon?

I think I always do this, just before my birthday, or the end of the year, jump up and write something down to capture the moment. The moment to capture today is one of exhaustion. Having two children is hard. I managed to actually write some Christmas cards today with one baby strapped to my chest and the other gnawing at my legs for attention. Broken sleep, no free time, endless washing and worries all squished into a house that is really not big enough (thoguh I imagine in Victorian times it was filled with more children than now). I'd like not to dwell on it, but that is pretty much it presently. The very occasional moment here and there to work throuhg my photograph backlog (which keeps extending out the other end) or a bit of light gaming on No Man's Sky (a galactic exploration game). I was also very kindly honoured a little birthday party yesterday which was a real surprise - we were going to have a bit of a bonfire untill freezing rain forcast, so instread we were invited to a friends house for baked potatoe tea with all the kids from four families. I was even given some really splendid thoughtful gifts (largely fire related) which made me feel so loved and nurtured.

So it's been a full on end to the year and I hardly feel on top of things, althoguh I did clean and re-paint a little mouldy patch on the wall today with the help of the little guy, so a tiny slither of progress. Fingers crossed for the coming year.


Shaun the Sheep

This weekend with the weather being largely grim, we decided to loosen up a little and let the little chap watch a film. Shaun The Sheep Movie was on offer which I believe he has seen before once when some friends came over. I had not seen it so was quite keen myself, and the offer seemed to go down well at his end causing high levels of excitement and anticipation (and some early pestering which we managed to quell with a trip to Tesco and then to the Christmas Tree farm. So after getting home yestreday we set up the video, sat together on the sofa and pressed play. I was holding the baby and after about 20 minutes of enjoyment fell asleep (which I my usual response to films anoyingly). So today, after a much more enjpoyable day all round - lovely church service, some walking, good lunch, bike trialer repairs, a cycle trip to buy our christmas tree, and then home - we finished off the end of the film. That involved some scenes of mild peril and watching him respond to those was really rater lovely. It finished off with him clutching my arm as the credits rolled. A lovely experience all round.


This looks like the day

The air is cool but not cold at 5am when I wake to hear Dr K fully in labour and groaning downstairs. I am dispatched to rise the parents who are staying on the green. The moon is full and bright and Orian stands proudly overhead. There is this lovely front door with a proper bell. Sounds gorgeous in this weird half-sureal atmosphere.[2018-09-27]

First Day of Lego

Today was the first day we played with Lego. Actually, not quite true, as about this time last year while on holiday in Korea staying in an Airbnb place we found a huge box of the stuff belonging to the owners child and had quite a bit of fun playing with it all over the floor. But today was really the first proper go at real Lego, a kit, with instructions. I'd half been tempted to open it after his first day of school, but he was completely exhausted that evening. The following morning I brought it out before breakfast, realised it was a mad idea in such a short time and so stowed it away again. Since then he'd kept asking if we could play with the "magic Lego", and on this wet grey Saturday morning I could not resist.

For over two hours we sat together at the dining table and constructed this rather marvellous model of the Space Shuttle with opening cargo bay doors and a satellite that comes out on a Canadarm. It was brilliant, he was brilliant - attention maintained throughout, a stop half way for a cup of tea, his little fingers able to perform practically all the manipulations required and he loved following the constructions (sic) - which is what I love most about Lego. It was wonderful. In the afternoon after lighting the stove fire we set about dismantling it and then building the moon base (which is one of the other instructions the set comes with). Actually, the dismantling was the hardest thing for him and I admit he was less involved in the second mantling, but I enjoyed it :).

The final joy, after all this, was that then we spent another hour or so later in the evening building fun things with Duplo - we built a garden centre with outdoor seating and a fireplace - by which time he was totally and uncharacteristically exhausted! Duplo and Lego existing side by side. However, saying that I have popped the space set back in its box to avoid loss until it's requested again.


First day at school

I had the privilege of waking my little boy to school for his first full day today. He started yesterday afternoon for a half day and I had a definite frog in the throat which required a manly cough to prevent getting out of hand. This morning was the same, in fact I welled up but he was far enough away by then to notice. There was a nice gaggle of mostly mums dropping off their tiny tots for the start of the day with a few good friends which helped ease the situation. He took hold of one of theirs (and mine) and we walked in as the doors were opened. He found his name tag, chose a peg and then changed his shoes to fit with the local orthodoxy. While he was sitting down to do his shoes he caught sight of his teacher and gave him a little wave which gave me a very good feeling. Then we had a hug and kiss, then another one (but not the twenty I sometimes get when I leave for work) and then I let him walk off on his own to the circle forming round the teacher. He found a spot to sit as I backed away (holding in the tears which are popping out now). As one of the other mums popped her girl next to my boy I saw him making a funny face at the kid on the opposite side of the circle - he was all set, and so I left.


Rainy Day Turned Good with Friends

My apologies to you, future me, for not writing more regularly. It's been ages. I guess there is simply less time these days to open up my laptop and do some typing. Indeed, I rarely do open it up and I'm way behind in my photo organisation (see lack of photo blog for evidence). Having a small child does consume a lot of time.

I write today after a splendid Saturday which had started with all the promise of a grim wet summers day, but a text first thing from a village family suggesting a trip blackberry picking was the turning point. How can I resist picking free fruit? I checked with the little guy and he exclaimed "ooh I want to yeah" - so that was settled. We had breakfast and then some cleaning (he was helping with the sweeping and really enjoying it) and after a little play when his friends arrived (we grabbed a coffee and catchup) then headed out in the rain to go picking.

Many prickles and scratches later (one a little more serious than the others!) we had a good haul of fruit and the day was even warming up along with spirits. We headed back home for lunch of delicious bibimbap followed by a mango lassie. By which time it was already gone four and our friends set off for home. I took the opportunity of the relative warm (still cloudy) to do a little gardening with my boy and after squeezing the potentially alcoholic juice from a mouldy apple, we (well, he) decided we should have a fire. How could I refuse? So we did. And we ate outside a meal of cheese and biscuits followed by marshmallows on the fire which by this point had grown to an exceptionally smokey bonfire. Glorious day.


First Family Run

Tonight we went for our first run with the little one. After dinner he was really keen to go out for a run, which was news to us, but with some fine evening weather it sounded like a great plan. We strapped our shoes on and set off round the block following his lead, up to the butchers, around past the pub and down the 'hill'. When we got back, he was keen to go again, so we said bye to Dr K and were off. He just loved it and was so happy and cheery laughing almost all the way round stopping only occasionally to smell a flower or remark on something he'd noticed. We got home and enjoyed some yoghurt for dessert before bed. What a lovely evening.


Village Cycle Ride

After last weeks impromptu post-dinner run, tonight the little man's suggestion was to got for a balance bike ride. I was game and so off we set, but just after strapping on my wellies I decided to opt for a bike myself rather than walk. Turns out wellies are not idea for cycling, but nevertheless we made it right the way round the village to nearly its most northerly boundary before returning home. A lovely sunset kept us enthralled all the way round.


A Sunny But Sick Day

I had a terrible night last night, soar throat, cold and achy followed by sudden rather incredible over heating together with a dry painful cough. Sleeping was erratic and even podcast wouldn't send me off to sleep. It was grim and I woke feeling grimmer. By lunchtime the paracetamol had taken hold just enough for me to get downstairs for some lunch. After that, encouraged by the sunny weather and undeterred by the fresh brisk wind, my tiny gardener enticed me outside to do some gardening. God I love it when he says "I want to do some gardening", warms the very deepest cockles of my heart.

We were soon joined by a village friend who was here for a play-date. I'd heard that she loves gardening despite being a flat dweller, and that they have had good independent garden play on previous visits. Indeed, I'd found the evidence - a cat bed made of logs in the vegetable patch, gravel distribute around the lawn, holes dug liberally in the borders, and all sorts of things hidden in the watering can, so I knew they would have fun. This allowed me to be fairly hands off on the parenting and simply exist next to these little people in the garden having chats about plants and soil, discovering superworms, and occasionally managing conflict over usage of the mini red wheelbarrow.

By the end of the afternoon I was finally beginning to feel a little better and took on the task of sorting out the wood pile that I'd amassed from the recent village tree felling. This involved sawing up the logs and then splitting them with the axe. Yep, I enjoyed showing my little chap how to split logs with an axe. I didn't give him a go (I'm not crazy), but they did 'help' out taking the split logs and putting them in entirely the opposite place to where I wanted them. It was such a joy to be out with my little friend on his last day as a two year old, so much so that it was well gone seven by the time we came inside ready for bedtime. Goodnight my sweet child.


First Day of Spring and an Accidental Funeral

The weather today was sublime. A slightly frosty start but with blue skies gave the hint of a promising day despite the forecast being clouds and only 8 degrees. Still, with a little patience and some post breakfast indoor play the outside soon beckoned us and we tottered out into the garden. Actually, this is where we brushed our teeth, in the sun, on the grass in spring. Glorious.

We pottered about for a good long while digging up some weeds, cutting back the ivy and aggressive honeysuckle on both fences, doing some soil moving in the mini wheel barrow. Lovely gentle gardening. Then the bells began. I assumed it was a wedding, though admittedly an odd day for a wedding. And they continued, on and on, a repetitive peal through the air. The little guy was intrigued so we decided to go and have-a-look. As we approached St Andrews church it seemed that it probably wasn't a wedding after all, rather a funeral. So we hung around outside listening to the bells continue. I checked the order of service and realised that I did know the deceased man, or rather his wife as a prominent villager. We ducked our head through the door but decided not to go in (it was getting towards lunchtime and hadn't planned on coming to a funeral. But as it happened we ended up sitting in the sun in the graveyard for the entire hour of the service until the precision came out and the burial took place right next to us. We'd already taken a look in the grave already - surprisingly deep - and met the pallbearers who hung around outside until their duties were required. Three things were quite remarkable, firstly sitting with my little guy for an hour in the exact same spot chatting about various things around the idea of death and funerals, but also watching the ants, wondering about bell ringing, contemplating the new gate to be hung - he was not only delightful but interesting and patient. Then there was the coffin itself which we hadn't seen earlier - it was a wicker basket weaved around the edge with lush green foliage - it was truly beautiful. I was quite tearful by this point and even more so when I heard the vicar have to gulp down a frog in his throat as he did the committal.

The final thing, and what made me stay (and also well up) was that I was able to share something with my son that I never experienced as a child. I recently learnt that when my dad died I did't go to the funeral, it just wasn't a thing that children did. Now I don't remember that day, so I don't have any hangup about that, but it was somehow very special to be there at a funeral (or just outside) with my little boy at about the age I would have been and to talk about death with him. I'm sure mum must have talked with me about these things back then that I don't remember, and I'm sure he won't remember either, but it was very special to be there and to witness this important part of life's journey with and through the eyes of a person just on the very beginning of that path. I guess it was the circle of life in physical form on a beautiful day in a little village in England.