Saturday, December 17, 2005

Stuff & things

Can't believe it's been so long since I posted - I swear December just zips past before you really know it. Lots of stuff happening - school fair, school plays, my mother arriving for her visit, and lots of other stuff of that sort - seems like one day has just started when all of the sudden it's bedtime and then there it goes all over again!

Spent most of the day today making Christmas cookies (and other types of Christmas baking like Cranberry Orange Bread/Cake and Pumpkin Bread) - house smelled great, but now my feet are tired. Tomorrow should be an easier day, though, with only a Christmas drinks party to go to in the afternoon - and it's just down the road a bit, so we can walk (and therefore drink as much as we want!) and of course the kids can go as it's people from school - there will be dozens of kids there, probably, and they'll all be manic from too much sugar. Ah, Christmas...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A very useful engine

This guy who lives a few roads away from us has a model train running all through his back garden - he also has a full sized signal box of the old fashioned kind they used to have on the rails here - you can see a small corner of it behind Alex - but that's another story. Anyway, a few times a year, they have open days, with a donation to charity. They do one in late November, where they run trains with little presents and trees in, etc and call it the Santa Special. We took the kids along on Saturday - Alex thought it was great. As you can no doubt tell. All I can say is this guy must have a very tolerant wife, to have the whole garden given over to model trains...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Not your father's onion bhaji...

Went last night to Cocum restaurant in Raynes Park - excellent little unassuming Indian place, specialising in Keralan cuisine, with superb dosai (and other things). The food was great, particularly a starter we had called Chemmeen Karumuru, a crunchy prawn dish, which I could have eaten a whole plate of. Oh, and another starter of thinly sliced aubergine deep fried in batter. And the dosai - Geoff had Masala Dosai (thin rice pancaked, filled with potato & carrot masala) and I had Oothappam (thick pancaked with chopped onions, chillies, tomatoes, curry leaves & quite a lot of ginger) - both gorgeous. Also, I think they had the best onion bhajis I've ever had. So, ok, pretty much everything was fabulous. And also, a night out without the kiddies was pleasant...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

2nd time lucky

Apparently, it wasn't the board, but rather the pump, which had gone on the boiler. According to gas engineer guy no 2, who came around yesterday to install the new board. Luckily, he had the sense to do his own diagnostic work and determined that there was power getting up to the pump, so it probably wasn't the board. He was obviously right, as once he replaced the pump, it all worked again. However, he also said that the board problem was very common with our particular boiler - so it's not that surprising that the other guy thought that's what it was.

I asked if the fact that it was the pump meant that the problem could have been fixed the day before (when the first guy was there) as the board wouldn't have had to be ordered. He said, "Well, there's no guarantee the guy would have had a pump in his van stock". Which strikes me as a polite way of saying "yes, almost certainly." But there you go - as Geoff keeps reminding us, seemingly ceaselessly, it would be much worse if we were on an Antarctic expedition. Which statement falls into the category of "true, but totally uncomforting".

Monday, November 14, 2005

Don't make 'em like they used to...

So, had the man out about the boiler today - which is pretty quick service, though one does wonder about that whole service industry thing, wherein 12.50 is still considered "morning" (as in, "someone will be with you this morning"). Not to mention the whole staying in the (cold) house all day just in case the guy shows up while you are spending 5 minutes walking to the postbox or whatever. Which you just know would happen.

But anyway. Verdict is: it's the PCB Board. or the PCP board. Or the LSD board. Or something like that. Basically, boilers these days are all run electronically. Like cars. And you know what happens with electronic parts - they just spontaneously go kaput sometimes. Apparently, this boiler quite commonly blows its PCB board within 1-2 years of first being installed (according to boiler guy) - however, the good news is that he almost never has problems with them once a new board is installed (my personal theory: replacement board is a better quality part than board originally shipped from factory with boiler, which is obviously the cheapest one they can get away with).

So, he has to order the part, which means no heat or hot water tonight, but he (or another little boiler guy) will come install it tomorrow (and he offered me a 2-hr slot, rather than having to take "morning" (8-1) or "afternoon" (1-6), which is nice). The other good news is we have a service contract with British Gas which covers the whole heating system, including the boiler - and it covers service AND parts. Which means that British Gas has to pick up the £200-£300 bill for the board, and not us. Our service contract has paid for itself this year, certainly.

Right, now off to the living room, where it's warm (the electric fire is on in there!)...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Slacker II: return of the slacker

I know. And I always promise I'll be better next time, but I'm not. Oh well. So for those of you still checking in periodically, today's excitement concerns lack of heat & hot water. Yes, the classic "boiler-mysteriously-has-stopped-lighting-itself-and-won't-do-it-even-when-you-reset-it-so-you-have-to-call-an-engineer-but-they-can't-come-until-tomorrow-morning". I can't imagine there's anything seriously wrong with the boiler as it's only just over a year old (better not be!) but it's still annoying. Luckily, it's unseasonally warm for November, and also, I cooked dinner in the slow cooker (beef stew - apparently, for those who didn't know this, eating celery does actually kill 8 year olds, so beware...), so there wasn't that much washing up to do - which is useful when there's no hot water. The kids didn't have baths, which really upset Alex, who, being your classic toddler model, really likes baths (aka water splashing sessions) and really doesn't like changes to his routine. But otherwise, as long as they can fix it tomorrow morning, it's not really a problem, just an annoyance. As are so many things!

Monday, October 31, 2005

(insert snide comment in this space)

Posted by Picasa And don't worry, I've heard them all (this was at our local Halloween party on Sunday - it's Sarah's hat, though)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Possibly the best birthday message, ever.

In amidst all the presents and cards today for Olivia's birthday was a card from our friends down the road. Thalia, who is 6 months older than Sarah (and very precocious), wrote the following message: "Dear Olivia, Congratulations that you made it to 6. Some children in Africa can't do that."

What can I say. I am going to save it to show her when she's 30 - along with Sarah's drawing of herself and a group of friends, all carefully coloured and with elaborate clothes, with Olivia off in the corner of the page, half the size of the rest, and in pencil. Maybe by age 30, they'll think it's funny. Who'd have guessed that one of the biggest challenges of being a parent was learning to keep a straight face?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Land of a thousand fairy cakes...

OK, it was only 3 dozen, but they did seem to take a long time to ice and decorate. We thought Olivia would rather have a lot of fairy cakes than one big cake, and it was fun making them, mostly (though it's amazing the number of things sisters can find to argue about). And it will be much more practical for her party tomorrow, as I won't have to slice the cake to put it into party bags - I'll just be able to grab a cake each and hand them out.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Bald Truth

OK, so today's lesson is this: when you are using electric clippers to clip the hair of the men in your family - husband, son, etc - be sure to hold them the right way around or someone will get a much shorter haircut than originally intended. Sigh. At least hair grows back quickly!

Monday, October 10, 2005

"I not naughty"

I was hanging out washing today and Alex was helping (i.e. playing with clothespegs). I have a couple of giant pegs for hanging things like blanket, etc and he was messing with these - putting them on his nose and stuff like that, when he dropped one onto the patio and it broke. "Oh dear" he says - I looked up and saw the peg was broken so I said "Did it break, then?" and he immediately says "I not naughty". "It's ok, Allie, you didn't break it on purpose" "No, I not naughty". It was very sweet...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The pumps don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles...

Recently we watched the excellent Dylan documentary No Direction Home (the one directed by Martin Scorsese) - may I urge everyone out there who is the tiniest bit of a Dylan fan - or in fact, everyone who is not antagonistic towards Dylan, even if you don't really like him - to watch this if you get a chance. It was just really really really fabulous. We'll be watching it again in future, that's for certain!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sarah's birthday party

from the left, Olivia, Amelia, Elle, Thalia, Sarah, Daria, Lucy, Flora, Emma. They went bowling. It was fun, actually. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 19, 2005

"A monster eat me"

Alex woke up crying in the night, obviously having had a nightmare. When I asked what the matter was, his reply was "a monster eat me". Poor sausage. He and the girls have a great time during the day playing games about monsters - hopefully it won't affect his nights TOO much.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Well, here are the girls on the first day of school (last Wednesday). Olivia is very pleased because now that she's in Year 1 she gets to wear the regular school uniform, which allows dresses and skirts for girls (the Foundation Stage uniform is tracksuit bottoms or shorts only on the bottom). We found out yesterday that she's going to be on the school council this year - they have one representative per class from years 1-6. She's very excited, though I don't think she really understands what it's about. Still, she understands that it's an honour to be picked and that it's something special, so she's very proud of herself... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Last of the summer whine

Feels like the end of summer today - lovely day, probably about 28 degrees - we had the paddling pool up in the back garden and decided to deflate it and put it away at the end of the day. (We're away for Saturday next weekend, so probably won't use it again before it gets to chilly - and if we have a freak heat wave, well, we have a sprinkler thingy). School doesn't actually begin until Wednesday, so we're off to the Transport Museum tomorrow - a trip aimed largely at the boys (we're going with Lana & her kids), but which I think the girls will enjoy too if they don't get all righteous and prissy about it. And if they do, well, they can just cope and console themselves with the thought of lunch and a browse through the shops in Covent Garden afterwards...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

To swim or not to swim

Today was one of those days where you just kept wondering if you were ever going to actually accomplish anything...

The forecast was for 31C, which is hot, even by standards other than British, so we decided to have a walk in Richmond Park, feed the ducks & have a picnic (in the shade) and then toddle along to the Hampton Open Air Pool to refresh ourselves. Well, us and the rest of the universe, apparently. After getting there (about 30 minutes from our house) we find that they are full & we can wait if we want, outside the gate but the queue inside is an hour long and there's no guarantee we can get in anyway. Needless to say, we decided to pass on that. So I rang the local pool we usually go to (indoor) and their main pool is open all day but the little pool is shut from 2-2.30. Fine, we drive back, making a stop on the way, and get there for 2.15, at which point we are told that ACTUALLY, the training pool is closed until 3.30 for swimming lessons. Argh. Off to McDonalds for an ice cream and a quick browse in a few shops and we do finally make it to the pool, but small kids and being told "no" don't really go that well together.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Big rainbow out this evening - more impressive than in this photo, but it's hard to take photos of rainbows... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Midnight in the bedroom of good and naughty...

I've just finished tidying up after the girls (which includes their friend Thalia, who is staying with us for a few days while her parents are showing longarm machines at a big quilt show) had a "midnight feast" - yes, I do appreciate it's not quite ten pm yet, but at their ages (8.5, nearly 8 & nearly 6), that's quite late enough. I expect to hear giggles for some time yet, though there's not nearly as much stomping and other loud stuff as I thought there might be. They seem to have finally resolved the issue of who has to sleep on the floor (Olivia), with no bloodshed. Which is nice.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Riding in cars with boys

Went to Oxford for the day yesterday - I put Alex in pullups for the day as he was going to have to ride in cars and I didn't know how easy it would be to find a toilet, so better safe than sorry. Anyway, he stayed dry the whole day - asked for a wee about 6 times, though he only actually went once or twice, but still, it's progress. And I've now used the last nappy in the house - we'll be using pullups from now on, since we only need one a day (at night), or occasionally one during the day, for instance, for our day trip. Hoorah!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Spam, eggs, comments and spam

Unfortunately, unlike some blogs, Blogger doesn't seem to have that option with comments where they let you approve them before they get posted. You either have to set everything so that only registered Blogger users can post (which eliminates legitimate comments from friends or casual readers who might not be) or you have to allow anyone at all to post, regardless (which generates lots of spam comments from people who are pushing their own spam websites). I've had three of these spam comments (now removed) in the past 2 days - they haven't been obscene, luckily, but still bloody annoying, so I'm turning off the comment feature.

If you have a legitimate comment, you can email me and I'll post it, but that does take some of the fun out. When I have a little time I might explore around and see if I'm missing something, or write to the blogger people and suggest that modification. Don't hold your breath!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Queen of the Wild Blackberry

Not quite so garish in real life - a little more purple than pink - homemade blackberry ice cream, made with blackberries gleaned along the side of the road on the way to Alex's nursery - we picked them today... Posted by Picasa

The Way To Amarillo

For some bizarre reason, my kids and their friends all adore that old pop song, The Way to Amarillo (ok, it's not that bizarre, it's because because Peter Kay did a Comic Relief video using it, but still, it's a strange song for kids to like - or maybe not, after all the words are fairly clear and not too obscure for kids). Anyway. I just found out that one of the women in one of my online quilt groups lives in Amarillo (Texas) - Sarah and Olivia would just thing that was SO cool. No idea what Amarillo is like (hot and dusty, perhaps, or maybe it's not in that part of Texas!) but that's not what's important if you are 7. Sha la la la la la la la...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Prima donna kids

Went to the pick your own farm today, in slightly dubious weather. It was alright through the runner beans and the peas, though Olivia had a (rather predictable) strop when she slipped in the mud while picking peas and insisted on staying in the car when we went to get raspberries. It was looking like rain by then anyway. We all had rain jackets on, but the minute it starts raining, Sarah wants to go back to the car. Alex, too, though I think that was more copying Sarah than really minding the rain. Of course, in the next row of raspberries, someone else's kids are running around with abandon and singing at the top of their voices: "We love rain, we love rain." WhenI was little there was almost nothing more fun than playing outside in the rain - we would have done it for hours. Sheesh. Sometimes I'm sure I must have got someone else's kids by mistake...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The boy with no pants

Well, Day 3 of Potty Training and we're doing ok. He had a little leak on the dining room floor today (no carpet - excellent choice of floors, though the kitchen one would be the ideal, being vinyl flooring, while the dining room is wood)but then later actually requested the potty and made a wee in it. Hoorah! He also did a poo halfway in the potty, halfway in his pants, which is a start - but frankly, it works better with no pants on him - if he's wearing pants, he tends to just go in the pants - I guess they feel too much like a nappy.

Under pressure

As though I didn't feel guilty enough already about not updating my blog, I've now been told that my blog has a fan - oh, the pressure - now I will have to be amusing on a more regular basis just so my fan doesn't feel let down. Of course, anyone crazy enough to be a fan will have got used to my irregular postings and assorting whinings already, I suppose, so perhaps I can still breathe easily...

Monday, August 01, 2005

Going potty

Back from holiday (great time, bad weather), and ready to get into the swing of the summer break from school - tomorrow we are going to start potty training Alex, so that should be fun! Maybe the weather will warm up a bit so I can let him run around with nothing on bottom, which would make it easier. Will keep you posted...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

where the time goes, revisited.

I always seem to be wondering where the time goes. Guess that's a hazard of growing older. But another school year is nearly finished (hurrah! but also, in some way, oh no!) and we have our little summer holiday - a week off in Devon, and then 5 and 1/2 weeks at home. How long will it take for the "I'm bored" chorus to start, I wonder!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Red, red wine...

Just been on the website of my wine club buying some wine - and I discovered that they'll let you spread payment out for your order over 3 months at no extra charge - this is very useful as it means you can order several cases at once, pay the delivery charge (£5) only once, but not completely bankrupt your food budget for the month on wine (because that would be such a crisis!). I only have enough space to store about 3 cases of wine at once, but it's always nice to have a selection of options. And hey, if they aren't going to charge you for it, you might as well take advantage of it!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Pinkness of Floyd...

Keep thinking I should write something but not being inspired by anything, except maybe the Live 8 concert on Saturday, which was fabulous. Top acts were U2, REM, Annie Lennox, Madonna, The Who and Pink Floyd - wow. I don't listen to them often any more, though I've been a Floyd fan for a long time, but hearing them Saturday reminded me how great their music is. And how modern it sounds. Frankly, it sounds ahead of its time even now and it's 30 years old. They really are amazing musicians, and the music is so sophisticated.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bad Wolf?

So this morning, Olivia tells me they have a new game at school - all the girls are Daleks (except Hannah who gets to be Rose), the boys are all Dr Who, except if the girls catch them and turn them into Daleks. Suprisingly, Olivia goes along with this, even though she has to be a Dalek instead of being Rose. However, she tells me she's the leader of the Daleks, so I guess that's why she doesn't object. Wouldn't have thought a Dalek was glamourous enough for Olivia, though! The new series of Dr Who is almost over, though, and then no more Chris Eccleston, boo hoo.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Tamogotchi Hell

Oh, and can I say that in my own personal hell (meaning the one I design, rather than the one I will no doubt inhabit as punishment for my evil ways ), in addition to there being a special room for whoever invented the car alarm [with lots of different car alarms, each going off randomly, usually just as you are going back to sleep], there will also be a room for whoever invented the Tamogotchi (or however the heck you spell it). This will consist of walls and walls of Tamogotchis all needing to be fed, entertained, cleaned up after, soothed, and so on - and all of whom have got their sleep schedules off, so that instead of sleeping 12 hours at night, they beep constantly from under the sofa or wherever one's darling children have left the blasted things, at all hours of the day...

French market mishap

So this morning we went to the little French Market they have a couple of times a year in Wimbledon - very nice, got some bread, salami, sausages, and so on. Got home to realise that one of the items we bought at the deli stall wasn't in the bag (celeriac remoulade, which is kind of like coleslaw, only made with celeriac (celery root) and a bit of mustard in the mayonaise) - such an annoyance. It seems like a total waste of money not to go back and get it, but round trip to Wimbledon including having to park the car and whatnot is probably at least 40 minutes, so it's also a matter of what one's time is worth. So we decided not to go back. Missed it at lunch though. Oh well, at least I know how to make it and can make my own after I go grocery shopping. Doesn't stop it being annoying though.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Hayfever. what's it good for? absolutely nothing.

OK, someone out there explain to me precisely what the point of hayfever is. I mean, who gains from this? Today is insane, both eyes and nose still awful even after drugs, and frankly, I'm losing my patience with it. Not that there's anything more to do be done except move to Arizona. My luck, I'd probably be the only human allergic to sand. Sigh.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Leaving abnormal

Right. Half term holiday over - kids back to school tomorrow. Steve & Christine safely home after a nice visit to us and relatives in Spain. Still too much to do and too little time, though. What else is new?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Foreign invasion

D-Day is almost here - my brother and his wife arrive for a visit tomorrow! Hoorah! I've actually never met Christine in person, for one reason and another, but we've talked of course - god bless email - but still, I'm really excited to meet face to face. And I haven't seen Steve in ages, so it will be nice to see him as well. She's been here before ("here" as in England, I mean) as her dad is English so she has relatives here and stuff. Steve's never been, though, so I'm sure it will be fun for him to have his first taste of Europe. Tonight's task is to clear off some space on surfaces in the girls' room/guest room so they have places to put their stuff. The girls are being temporarily moved to Alex's room, which they think is cool. They are arguing over who gets to sleep on the floor and who has to sleep in the top bunk (Alex sleeps in the bottom bunk). There's the different between kids and grownups right there - grownups would consider getting the floor to be losing the toss! (Our solution is to have them alternate - but then of course, they argue over who gets the floor first... If there was more floor space they could both sleep there, but, well, that's the way these things go.)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

And that's that.

And Olivia's - she's big on writing at the moment. Partly because Sarah & Thalia spend a lot of time making lists of things (usually important, secret things, being 7 and 8...) and partly because it's something they are working on in school. Posted by Hello

The houses in Bobville

Sarah's turn for glory here - this shows her picture and the original she copied it from. She's very fond of copying things - and quite good at it, too. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cutting edge

Alex's "artwork" from nursery - he was practicing cutting with scissors. He's only 2, so it's not really that showy. But he had a great time with it... Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

where the time goes

Haven't posted in ages, I know. This is partly the usual, and partly that Olivia's asthma has been acting up a lot and we've had 4 doctor's appts and two trips to casualty in the past two weeks, so I'm feeling a bit inundated with that stuff at the moment. Poor chick. She hasn't had any proper asthma attacks, thank goodness, but her breathing is really tight and hasn't been responding well to the usual treatment. Hence the repeat visits. Of course, it never stops her bouncing around all over the place :)

Anyway, will try to do better in future - I've got some photos of a fox in our garden and the kids' artwork to upload over the next couple of days, so at least there will be something there to look at!

Today we're off to a fair at Morden Hall Park - crafts and entertainments. The weather is supposed to be very nice, so hopefully that will prove to be true.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Well, seems my social life is a bit like buses - nothing for ages, then several things come along at once. Not only have I got the only two activities the entire month in the same week (quilt group meeting & a Pampered Chef party at a friend's house) but also, the weekend I had planned to go away with some quilting buddies for a retreat, my mother will be here visiting from the US, so I probably won't go - will just go for the day. Why does that always happen, anyway! At least I have things to choose from...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Here's the kids playing Pooh Sticks on the bridge at Morden Hall Park. We had a nice day on Friday, finally, so we went out for a little picnic lunch, trip to the Farm, walk in the park, visit to the Garden Centre, etc. Posted by Hello
Kids back to school tomorrow - mixed feelings about that. In some ways, it's nice to have a little more leisure, not have to run around taking them places, not have to get up early, and so on. On the other hand, they do better with some structure, really, especially the girls, otherwise they tend to squabble. "Squabble" being a diplomatic word for it. But it's always nice to have a breather, even if it did seem to come almost immediately after Christmas this year. We'll be desperate by the end of May!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

So, as I was saying :)

Alex started today at Carousel, a local nursery - he's going 2 sessions a week - Wednesday morning (8.30 to 1.00) and Thursday afternoon (1-5.30). He had fun today I think, though he's a little tired, admittedly. Not surprising, I guess with so much unrestrained playing going on. It meant I could go to Asda (supermarket) with only 2 children in tow - given that last time I took Alex he insisted on getting out of the trolley and pushing, it was a distinct improvement. Next week, no kids at all while shopping, hoorah!
Spent the Easter weekend at Grandma Lucy's house (Geoff's mum) - no computer access for a whole weekend. Weird, but kind of relaxing... Anyway, the kids had a lovely time - it's the first time we've been up since Geoff's Dad died, as Lucy didn't really feel up to being invaded before now (she's come down to us, but it's a bit chaotic going up to her with lots of small kids - better now that Alex is getting older, though). Oops, someone at the door, must go, more later!

Monday, March 21, 2005

So, after our shock snowstorms :) it's turned summer all of the sudden. Wednesday through Saturday were lovely, sunny days with temps up near 20. Yesterday and today more like spring, but still nice enough to do stuff outside. And as the kids finished school at 1.30 Friday for 2 weeks Easter Holiday, let's hope it stays.

Sarah's off this afternoon to a birthday party - Thalia's. She's 8, which I find amazing - almost as bizarre as Alex being 2. They do grow fast. Olivia was slightly jalous she wasn't invited to the party until I reminded her she's been to 3 different parties over the course of the last week. It's birthday season, I guess. Funny how they go in cycles - none for ages and then a whole bunch come along at once - like London buses!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

New nomination for Most Boring Task in the Universe - thank you letters for school fundraisers. Necessary, yes, but dull dull dull. Of necessity, am splitting my time between addressing & stuffing envelopes and catching up on surfing. Nothing too exciting yet, but some minor laughs, like If Condoms Had Sponsors. The more bored I get of thank yous, the easier I will be to amuse, no doubt...

Friday, March 04, 2005

Ok, so you know how I said it was sunny? All of the sudden it got that blacky-yellow colour and dumped the most enormous quantity of HAIL all over us. This isn't a light dusting of snow in the garden, it's hail. Snow, sleet (when the snow was beginning to go), rain & now hail - what form of precipitation is left for today? Brimstone? Cats & dogs? Posted by Hello
Snowed again this morning - a real blizzard for a few minutes, but it didn't stick. Now it's all lovely and sunny, though it still looks really cold. The kids are loving this winter - I'm sure it will go down in memory as "the winter where it snowed all the time". It may not compare to many places in the world, but for London, it's been pretty snowy!

Friday, February 25, 2005

We didn't make this giant snowball - it mysteriously appeared in the field between when we walked to school and when we came back. Pretty cool! Posted by Hello

Alex building a snowman (with a little help from Mummy) Posted by Hello

A better snow - actually covered the ground a few inches deep and stayed around for most of the day. Great packing snow - really good for big snowballs & snowmen & stuff Posted by Hello

Monday, February 21, 2005

So who says it never snows in London? OK, not a lot, but it's still coming down now, so who knows what it will be like in the morning. I hope there's something left or the kids will be disappointed. (Photo is terribly out of focus as I can't use the flash - but you get the general idea!) Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 20, 2005

We went to Kew Gardens on Thursday and saw lots of interesting stuff, including some wondrous orchids. The strangest thing we saw, though, was one of these - an axolotl. Remarkable, in a rather bizarre way! Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Well, it's officially the half-term holiday now - no school tomorrow. So of course the kids are manic. We have plans for several of the days, nothing too strenuous, hopefully. Today we are going to take the kids swimming, that is, if they ever finish eating breakfast, etc. You'd think with the exciting prospect of going swimming (which they nag us about all the time) they would hurry up, rather than messing about, but then, that's kids for you, I guess.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Just booked our holiday for July this year - we are going to hire a cottage with our friends Cathi & Dave, who live in Ireland - they have two little girls, Aine, who is a few months older than Alex and Aisling, who is about 9 months old. We're going to the West Country (my favourite part of the country) - near Exmoor this time. Should be fun & the kids will really enjoy being able to hang out together - my girls love the little girls & Alex and Aine are just getting to be old enough to actually play together rather than just fighting over who gets what toy...

We were considering going to France, but it was just too expensive for us this year, so we decided to split the difference between London & Waterford and get something in the UK, but not too far from where the ferry comes in from Ireland. Here's the cottage we've found.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

this is a photo from Alex's little party we had today - lunch at the house and then a visit to Cheeky Monkeys, our local soft play place. Doesn't show the kids very well, but it's hard to photograph 2 year olds. Can't believe he'll be 2 on Saturday! Posted by Hello

Friday, January 28, 2005

AFTER - Alex with his new haircut - ta da! Posted by Hello

BEFORE - Alex about to get his first haircut Posted by Hello
Such a slacker. I know. Just seems like nothing to say, except it's darn cold out there right now. Anyone living in Norway or Minnesota will laugh at me, of course, but when it comes to weather, it's all relative anyway. Makes the trip to and from school a little faster, though - even the kids hurry when it's cold & windy. A nice change!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Back to school and back to the normal busy day to day life. Plus my mother is visiting at the moment - came in on Thursday morning. I'm sure that will make the time fly. Today we went to the Farnham Maltings Fabric Sale - they have it every January, and you can often get some really good bargains - fabric for £2 and £3 a metre, which is a great price for quilting fabric. I managed to find backings for several projects in the works, as well as some fabric for a border and several things I just liked - you can do that when it's only £3/metre - when something is £8/metre, you have to be a lot more selective. One of the reasons why quilters in the US have it easier than here in the UK...

Monday, January 03, 2005

Here's my little cutie - this was taken while he was on a little ride - like a carousel for very small kids, with cars they can sit in, but the individual things don't move, just the main platform. Anyway, he loves cars, so he was very happy. Only a month until he's TWO - where does the time go? Posted by Hello
Not much happening here - it's the end of the holiday, almost. Today is a bank holiday (for New Year's), but tomorrow is back to work for Geoff. The kids have one more day, as although tomorrow is technically the first day back to school, their particular school has an INSET day (teacher training), so the kids aren't actually back until Wednesday. It won't be quite as frantic a week as normal, as most of their other activities don't start up again until next week. It's been lovely being able to sleep in (we are blessed with kids who sleep late - Alex is the early riser, normally (around 7.30) but as he's had a cold for the past few weeks, he's sleeping later), but I won't be entirely sorry to have the kids back in school - they just need the constant stimulus or they go ballistic.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

My house is back to normal (i.e. no Christmas decorations) - spent the day taking them down & then having a good clean. Really feels light and airy now, which is not really something you can say about my house most of the time - it's tidy, but we have a lot of stuff, so light and airy doesn't really describe it.

We all had a lovely lie in this morning - until after 9.30, which is amazing. This is due to most of us being up to see the New Year in, of course. Olivia was the only one to miss out, as she fell asleep on the sofa around 11pm, I think. Alex, however, was awake. Although he'd gone to bed at a normal time, he has a really bad cold, and spent a lot of time half sleeping/half grumbling & coughing a LOT. Eventually, he coughed so much he made himself sick, poor chap. However, as I said to Geoff, if he's going to be sick late at night (it was about 11.30) and then want to be awake for an hour or more, he sure picked the right night to do it - probably the only night we'd all be awake anyway. So he saw the new year in. And Sarah, of course, is a night owl, so she's bound to be awake if we let her.

So, we had a nice family New Year's Eve - watched Spiderman 2 on DVD (Christmas present) and then Jools Holland (music programme) on telly - very civilised, and although drinking was done, it wasn't the hangover inducing type, which put us much more in the mood to spend the day clearing the house. Wednesday, the kids are back to school - calloo, callay!