Thursday, September 28, 2006

Everything was going so well until...

The policeman came to my door.

Something that never happened to my parents and I was supposedly such a horrid teenager. Hmm. Must have done something evil and it's payback time now.

Luckily, the policeman was the husband of a friend who I know quite well. Aedan was late home at the time, (yes, it was my eldest son. Nine years old! Won't be making it to ten at this rate...) and said MP, (yes, military police, not civy) had an imminent appointment, so Aedan had a reprieve. Now, this all arose because the mother of the other boy involved shopped her own son and mine for entering an empty property on the estate. In fact, just across the road from where she lives. She came to give me warning, which was thoughtful, so I was 'prepared' to an extent. She had only been able to give Aedan's first name because she couldn't remember his surname or address. Unfortunately, the copper obviously put two and two together and checked with his wife for the name of my sons. Bum.

When Aedan did return, we gave him ample opportunity to tell us what he'd been up to, but he chose to miss that bit out, so we let on that now was the time to confess, as we knew anyway. Of course, he denies being in the property, he was just in the garden retrieving a ball, but the way he didn't proclaim his innocence and cry uncontrollably tells me he's not being completely honest on this occasion and he accepted punishment without upset, which is highly suspicious. Grounded until further notice and sent to bed at the same time as Conall.

We decided to request that said copper returns today, after school, (unofficially) when Aedan will think he's got away with it, in order to frighten the child into submission, I mean, instill in him the reasons why breaking the law is not a good habit to form, to nip any problem we might have in the bud.

It isn't a terrible crime, the property had been left open and unsecured by the estate management, but that is absolutely no excuse. I don't actually think Aedan is a bad child, he just can't think ahead and fortell the consequences of his actions, which is going to make life fun. I hope my copper friend can give him something to think about.

Oh, the shame of it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A few bright ideas

Tent still hasn't arrived, which is a bit boring.

My sister has had a phenomenally good idea, well done Cathy! (Mind you, her and her hubby were at the pub when they thought of it, they may yet realise their mistake and change their minds!) Cathy has suggested that her and Ian take our children camping for a few days, week, or so and of course, I leapt at the chance. The children love their aunt and uncle to bits and will adore spending such quality time with them and I get to spend time with David with no responsibilities or distractions. Bliss! Might end up being cost prohibative though, as they have to come up from Worcester with a certain amount of kit, will they bring two cars? Will they fly then hire a seven seater? Dilemas, dilemas. I personally, prefer a good list. Not good at decisions.

We had Parents' Evening for all four children on Monday afternoon, (don't know why they don't call it Parents' Afternoon...) and they are all doing just grand, which is nice. It was just to check they are settling in ok and as they are all fairly independant and confident, this was never really going to be a problem.

Conall is in a composite class and this year it is unusual because it crosses three years instead of just two. We are lucky, because Conall is the youngest of four, he's completely at home being amongst a large group of children of various ages, it happens at home all the time. He's also quite bright, dragged on by his siblings, so that helps too, but there appears to be trouble on the horizon. Some parents aren't happy and can't put their trust in the teacher or school and just let them get on with the job. I hope they realise any changes they demand causes a lot of disruption which could be even more unsettling or difficult for their child to cope with. Not for my little treasure! He'll just plod on happily. We'll just have to wait and see.

I borrowed a Bissell carpet cleaner from my friend, Becca, this week and David has gone Bissell happy! The carpets are so clean they almost sparkle. I'm so glad we are getting a new suite, this one now looks even more tired and scruffy than it did.

Mind you, the walls now look as if they could do with a lick of paint. Oh no!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sorted and random waffles

Well, sort of!

I have bought a new tent. Yes, just one. I hope it does the job. It is 3000mm hh, so is definately more water proof. It doesn't have a top vent, so should be less noisy. It is a four bedroomed tunnel design, so should be less buffeted by the wind, although I had intended two smaller two bedroomed tents to make us even smaller, rather than the tent that I have ordered, which is positively palatial! The spare bedroom will give us more storage space though, so the 'lounge' will be less cluttered and easier to live and move in.

Roll on next July! I'm soooo excited already, we've decided to go back to Gairloch, possibly for even longer next year, ( if the weather holds up...) and I've started planning what recipes to add to my repertoire, so that we have more choice. Cooking fajitas whilst camping sounds fun to me, I'll give it a go! It'll make a change from rice/pasta/mashed potato based meals.

Grief, I need to get out more. I've ten months to wait, it's worse than being pregnant...

Made myself a cup of tea yesterday morning, in the obligatory bone china mug. Forgot all about it, again, but when I remembered, went back and removed the tea bag, added milk and took it back to my workstation. Only, I forgot it again. My mum would have said I had to break the ice on it to drink it by the time I remembered. It was, how shall I say, a little less hot than usual. Hey ho, the joys of internet grocery shopping.

I'm not so sure it's my memory as such that is suffering. Maybe just my attention span, or that when I'm concentrating, everything else goes out of my mind. Completely.

I am doing this instead of cleaning. Something we all put off for as long as possible. I know, I only had a good clean two weeks ago, but the mil might (yes, 'might', no definates or actuals, 'might') be putting in an appearance and I want to look, not so much as if I've made an effort, but as if my house is in an almost-clean-and-tidy state all the time. Instead of once every few months. Or so. I'd hate her to think I actually care.

Now, where did I put the marigolds...?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh boy

Who would have thought that camping could make life so complicated and distressing?!

What am I doing to have such problems? You might well ask.

Well, all I'm trying to do is buy two new tents. We've decided to down size to two two- bedroomed tents, so we have a 'spare room' for storage and so that we are less buffeted when it's windy. We do appear to be prone to a windy holiday. We also want a higher hydrostatic head (hh). Our current tent is 1500mm hh and we would like to up that to 3000mm hh. That means we'll be more waterproof. Our current tent has withstood the weather thrown at us admirably, but is more suited to occasional weekend use, whereas we want to camp for longer periods of time.

After much internet surfing, I have found what I want. Now, can I buy it? Oh, if only life was that simple! If it's in stock, it's expensive. If I can find it cheaper, it's out of stock and no way of knowing if it will come back into stock.

Then, there's delivery. I always check that first. Generally, there'll be a quote for delivery anywhere mainland UK, but you do have to check the small print. Since when has Scotland been an island? I would have considered it mainland myself. How silly of me...

Fancy having such an outlandish hobby.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Something new

They do say you should try something new everyday. I'm going to try something new.

My friend Ruth listens avidly to Radio 4, apparently, and whilst I was listening to Radio 2 the other day, I heard Clare Balding plugging her new series on Radio 4, "Ramblings". Guess what it's about? Rambling, not verbally, (although that might also have been appropriate...) physically, which is right up my alley, so, I'm going to give Radio 4 a whirl tomorrow at 3pm. I'll let you know if I enjoy it!

(If I remember to listen in the first place.)


I remembered!

It was, however, a somewhat bizarre experience. Listening to people doing what I love, in an area I haven't been to, (yet, it was Islay, I think) with no pictures was a little frustrating. Maybe it would work better on television, but I always think Clare has a good face for radio...

I'll try it again next week and see if I feel any different about it.


I am celebrating my 100th post with my Saturday Sky photographs, which I have been trying to upload since Saturday!
I've thrown in the other photograph in for good measure and a giggle. My youngest daughter and son, (the short-haired blonde chap on the right, if you couldn't tell...) with their little friend, Lauren, from next door.
Lauren is going to marry Conall, they are boyfriend and girlfriend, but they are not 'going out' yet, they are not old enough...!
It was a beautiful Saturday evening. By the looks of the weather today, it may not be so beautiful this Saturday, but at least hubby will be home. Hurrah.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I am so cross! I finally remembered Saturday Sky, had camera to hand, (explained by the other photograph) and took two photographs of a glorious sky this evening, here in Scotland, but there is a problem and I CAN'T UPLOAD IT TO MY BLOG!

I'm upset now, it's not fair.

I'm going to sulk.


Still misbehaving.


Update updated


Friday, September 08, 2006

Baby no more

My baby stopped breastfeeding, I didn't cry.

My baby came out of nappies, I didn't cry.

My baby started nursery, I didn't cry.

My baby started school and I didn't cry.

All those other firsts and I didn't cry.

My baby lost his first tooth today and all of a sudden, I'm not ready for him to grow up.

Get a grip!

Oh dear

I have a dear friend and her sister, whom I have not met yet, coming round for a 'drink' tonight. Knowing Bev, I'll skip the small, sensible glasses, (free from Esso, you know the sort) and go straight for the buckets!

However, I thought I should make a vague effort at the old bane of our lives, cleaning. Ofcourse, I have a little longer to distract myself from it now, (blogging or cleaning, blogging or cleaning...) but I have made a start. I've dusted the lounge, I will do the dining room, I've cleaned the windows in the lounge... WHOA, stop right there, did what? BIG MISTAKE. Ignoring the smears, I can see through the window on the inside to see how dirty the outside is. That window cleaner is well worth his £4.

On to the porch and did the windows and door. WHOA, NO, not again, you did WHAT? Yep, I cleaned them. Through the bits that aren't smeared, I can see how dirty the outside is, what with mucky mit prints and greasy nose prints, (who in their right mind would press their face on a dirty door? Oh yes, I have children...) AND THEN I CLEAN THAT TOO! 'Cos they'll be coming in and going out of that door, so they might notice. Ofcourse, cleaning the windows mean the surrounds look dirty, so I clean them. That then makes the walls look filthy and hey, we're out of control cleaning here, HELP!

The main thing I seem to have forgotten is that we will be drinking. Bev and Sue will be drinking large quantities, I can't 'cos I'm in charge of four children on my own and I have to be sensible. Apparently. So, they won't notice the windows. Or even care.

Oh woe is me.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Doing well

I was a little concerned Conall would be bored when he started school. He has been recognising the alphabet, writing his name and rather alot of other words for eighteen months, has known numbers up to twenty, been writing them and doing simple addition sums for quite some time now. I was worried because, once bored, boys are notoriously difficult to motivate.

When he came home from school for the first few days, complaining of being bored, my heart sank, but his teacher, Miss Cameron, is very experienced and I have great faith in her, even though she has a potentially difficult class this year. A composite of primaries one, two and three. I convinced him to be patient and give Miss Cameron time to get to know them all.

Last week, he brought home his first 'homework'. Oxford Reading Tree is the norm up here.
Me: "Come on Conall, let's sit down together and read your homework."
Conall: "I can't read it Mummy, there aren't any words!"

Silly Mummy.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

One book

Oh what?

Ruth didn't tag me, that was a relief. So Anne got me instead. Oh help!

Here goes.

1. One book that changed your life.
Oh my word, this was a toughy. Like John, I would have said it was people that had changed my life, not a book. However, having scanned my bookshelves, I came up with Oxford Babies Names, then changed my mind. Instead I've picked AA 50 Walks in Scottish Highlands and Islands. The first walk I did in the Highlands was Meall a Bhuachaille, near Cairngorm and since then, I have adored Scotland, walking here, the nature, everything and now I know where I want to live and what I want to do with my life in the future. I've since found out that that was my first Corbett, wey hey!

2. One book you've read more than once.
Do you know, there aren't many of these. Once I've read a book, I know what's going to happen, so it will be consigned to gather dust on the bookshelf. However, I recently read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder again, so that will have to do!

3. One book you'd want on a desert island.
the game cookbook by Clarissa Dickson Wright and Johnny Scott. Why? It covers all bases of the kind of meat you could possibly find in the wild, so I thought quite useful, if I want to eat. Got to catch it first though...

4. One book that made you laugh.
Quite a few, mainly autobiographies like Terry Wogan's or Alan Titchmarsh's, I like a good giggle, but I have this one, courtesy of my big brother, Richard. To people that know him, (Ruth) it'll say more about him than me, but it is a really good laugh. The History of Farting by Dr Benjamine Bart. Say no more.

5. One book that made you cry.
Before I Say Goodbye by Ruth Picardie. Read it.

6. One book you wish you'd written.
The Truth About Pregnancy, Childbirth and Babies. Why? Because nobody ever tells you what it's really like and that it's ok to feel the way that you do. We are, after all, all individual.

7. One book you wish had never been written.
I could have been sooooo controversial with this one and said The Bible, or the Kuran (spelling? Even less idea!) or other such books, simply because they all cause sooooo much trouble in the world, but I don't really wish that, they are rather important books, after all. So, I'll go for Vanity Fair by Thackeray. I hate that book with a passion, I never got past the third chapter, which made my A' Level English Literature a little difficult. In fact, I failed. Ooops.

8. One book you are currently reading.
Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis. Actually, I could have put The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe for number 2, come to think of it. I've recently decided to read the whole series, seeing as I have only read that one, so I started at the beginning with The Magician's Nephew and I'm getting on fine.

9. One book you've been meaning to read.
Aldeburgh's Affectionate Poet by Roger Frith. It's about, and contains poetry by, my great-grandad, who celebrated his one hundredth birthday when I was eleven years old and I rememeber him well. I may have inherited his talent, but I'm afraid to read it, incase I find out I haven't and my poetry is really rubbish.

10. One book you wish you'd written.
My book of poetry, which is going to earn me a fortune so that I can buy that house in Gairloch! Oh and ofcourse bring enjoyment to so many others with my lovely poetry...

Next thing is six weird (W.E.I.R.D. Ruth.) things about me.

I take exception to that, I'm not weird.

1. I am obsessive about the order clothes have to be hung out on the washing line. Apparently, that is weird. I think it's organised.
2. Nobody is allowed to write on my lists and I have to complete them using the same pen/pencil.
3. My shopping list has to be made in the order I will go round Tesco. A bit awkward now I use dotcom...
4. I make individual piles of clothes for all of us on the spare bed before I pack for a holiday.
5. David thinks I have weird feet. I don't.
6. Some people like me. I think that's weird.

I had no idea how hard that would be. You don't think of yourself as weird, do you?

As I don't know anyone with blogs except Ruth and Anne, (virtually), I shall invite anyone who happens along my blog to tag themselves. Neat!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

At it again

I thought, "Oh, another pinch!", then I thought, "No, can't answer some of these and I shouldn't copy again.", then Ruth said please copy this.

So, I have. Here goes.

1. I was born in North Devon
2. I have lived in Grimsby
3. I have lived in Scotland
4. I have 8 O' Levels
5. 1 A' Level (it was deliberate to fail the rest, don't ask)
6. I have my Stage One BHS Exam
7. I have grade 5 clarinet
8. I used to be a Sea Cadet
9. I have worked for two local papers
10. I met Jack Brymer
11. I have seen The King Singers in rehersal
12. I was a Trainee Legal Executive
13. My husband is Scottish
14. I have four children
15. I have a brother and a sister
16. I've never lived in a remarkable building
17. I once represented my 'house' at hurdles (?!) at sports day
18. I was in the tennis and hockey squads but never played. I did run cross country for my school. Once. I wasn't last...
19. I was a flunky in the school pantomime
20. I passed AO General Studies
21. I was Chair of the Ardersier Mother and Toddler group
22. I am a lapsed member of the British Horse Society
23. I am a member of the RSPB
24. My youngest daughter has given flowers to Barbara Dickson
25. I speak English, fluently
26. I prefer fiction to non-fiction
27. I have been to London once, when I was 12
28. I love Radio 2
29. II still have no idea where my maiden name (Flower) comes from
31. My father was an Insurance Inspector and I have never met his brother
32. I am anxiety prone
33. I'm TERRIFIED of spiders
34. I worked in a nursing home for a month
35. I used to go to PTA meetings
36. I have never been a bridesmaid
37. I have never been asked to be a god parent
38. My favourite book is Nick Nairn's New Scottish Cookery
39. I have read lots of books by Barbara Erskine
40. I have read lots of books by James Herriot
41. I have read every Harry Potter
42. I have read (I think) all of the Inspector Morse stories
43. I prefer food shopping to clothes shopping
44. I'd rather spend my money on a nice pair of boots than on shoes
45. I walked past The Glasshouse in Ambleside (Gordon Ramsay's Nightmare Kitchen thingy)
46. I still have the ticket stub from the Peter Gabriel concert I went to in 1988
47. I would love to see Billy Connolly live
48. As a child I would occasionally pinch small sums of money and spend it on sweets (scarey similarity here)
49. My favourite film is... that's too hard, too many to choose from
50. My favourite place to be is the Scotland, perferably the West Coast or the Cairngorms
51. I have had a general anaesthetic, once
52. I have no major scars
53. I have a small scar on my calf, where I was wellied by a pony
54. I am allergic to most animals with fur
55. I love cats, but they are not good for me
56. I am a bit scared of cows
57. I like zoos to be a part of a conservation breeding programme
58. I lurve chocolate
59. I don't like other sweets
60. I do not to mix chocolate with wine
61. I have read lots about depression, but have so far failed to accept help
62. I don't eat properly when my husband is away
63. I enjoy cooking
64. I plan to study for a degree
65. I also plan to run a B & B
66. I love my kenwood chef
67. I shout at my children waaay too much
68. They still say mummy's the best (daddy or chips, daddy or chips, the Mcaines ad...)
69. No-one else would put up with me like my husband does!!!!)
70. I am distinctly lacking in qualifications
71. I am not liscensed for anything
72. I am not a member of any institutes
73. My brother was a member of MENSA, does that count?
74. I have family in Australia but have never visited
75. Today has not been a funny day, but a very strange one
76. I feel loved and wanted by some of the people I know
77. I feel that some of the people I know are indifferent to me
78. I know that some of the people I know don't like me at all
79. I am short tempered, especially when hormonal
80. I can be great fun on a night out
81. I, too, did things in my teens that were plain stoopid and I could have ended up dead in a ditch
82. I once attended court for a traumatic child custody case, as Legal Executive
83. We honeymooned in, wait for it, Malta. Mmmm
84. Flying terrifies me, it makes me cry
85. I have seen a a golden eagle
86. I once found a hair in my risotto whilst having a meal at a posh Italien restaurant
87. I recently lost two and a half stone and have kept most of it off
88. I have no tatoos
89. I dyed my hair once- I went for black. My natural colour is brunett
90. I had my ears pierced when I was 14
91. I refuse to let my daughters have theirs pierced
92. I have a pierced naval
93. I breast-fed all of my children
94. I hate upsetting people
95. Only one friendship has ended in complete disaster, two years ago
96. I believe in love at first sight
97. I have lots of bad hair days
98. I had a teenage crush on Lewis Collins in The Proffessionals
99. I am currently the happiest I've ever been
100. ...most days


Today is a beautiful day. Clear blue skies, warm, a gentle breeze.

How ironic, when the village I live in is today in shock and mourning for this tragic loss, for this was a tragic accident, that could have happened anywhere, anytime, totally regardless of war or any other percieved threat.

A completely tragic accident.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A seasonal thought

I don't actually mean 'seasonal' as in Christmas, but I have been thinking about the seasons, prompted by the return of our very own, 'Bobby Robin'.

It made me realise that I quite like the 'transitional' seasons, Spring and Autumn, if not actually prefer them. Summer, in itself, is nice, you get to spend more time outside, (hopefully) can dry washing on the line, (...hopefully) holidays and all that, but it's nice and that's about it. Winter I do quite like, I don't mind the cold and I don't mind a blustery day, but I don't like horizontal rain. A bracing walk in a frozen, still landscape with clear blue skies is bliss. Struggling into force ten gales against driving rain, is not.

Autumn is full of change and colour, it's where the circle begins for me. The return of 'Bobby' means I'm going to be treated to birdsong all day and sometimes all night from my little friend and he's company in the garden, when I'm finishing tidying up before winter sets in. I can watch him strutt his stuff, marking out his territory, just incase any other robin was under the misapprehension it was up for grabs. I know now it won't be long before the geese arrive, to over-winter on the marshes where I go for my walk most days. The early mornings and nights are going to be filled with their haunting call.

We'll have these visitors all through winter, then, early spring, my morning walk will suddenly be filled with the song of other birds, marking their territories and trying to attract a partner. Did you know, they each have theirown perch where they sing, the same time and place, everyday? Creatures of habit, just like me. The countryside bursts into colour and leaf. Then, come summer, it all goes quiet and the birds are getting on the busy job we all know and love as parents of providing for the children. Deep joy.

So, that's what I think about the seasons, some are better than others, but not necessarily the same that you may have thought.

A smile

I recieved a text this morning from my dear sister which made me smile. It said:
"How come, one minute you have unscrambled egg in the microwave, the next, PING, you have omelette?"

I'm giggling again, poor Cathy.

And there was me, worrying about having to cycle three miles to Tesco in the rain. Mind you, in my nightmares about it last night, I was being attacked by doberman dogs on my bike and cycled for hours and not getting there!

Ahh, the weekend cometh.