Sunday, 26 February 2012


Oh dear, 4 to 6 against the blog I started alongside this one. I think it's a lot easier to blog about gardening - especially when that's all I seem to be doing at the moment, sprinkled with childcare and peppered with the odd sleep.
My other excuse is that I've fallen foul of a cold and sore throat, and I want to splat on the sofa and feel sorry for myself, uninterrupted by even as pleasurable a responsibility as blogging on a blog I promised myself I would stick with for at least a month...
Oh, and one more excuse - compulsively writing takes up far too much of my time, I'm the first to admit it. I think perhaps I'm story-obsessed. I'm always reading, up to three books at a time, plus anything else I can get my paws on. Obviously that's not enough, because when I'm not reading I'm scribbling the longest, most involved story ever, peopled with characters I probably know better than I know myself. I have absolutely no plans to publish this story, ever. This is strictly for my own entertainment, so anything goes, which is fabulously liberating. I am never, ever bored, because I have an endless storyboard in my head if any other story is not immediately available. This is all fine as long as I don't get something caught up in my head that needs to get out right now, because right now is rarely a good moment to pop out a pen and notebook and start scribbling.
Hmm..I'm beginning to wonder if I should seek help..
Anyway, I would dearly love to hear of anyone else with this freakish compulsion, so comment, please, if you nodded along at any point. Otherwise I shall continue along in the probability that I am simply slightly bizarre in my own particular way.

Up until I got my beloved 'third child' - my iPad - these were the precious things that went with me everywhere. Now I need to add a photo of my iPad in its battered, butterfly-covered metal case. Stories on the go, anywhere and everywhere. Modern technology and beloved paper and pen. Contentment.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Springiness is happiness

Is spring sproinging at last? The lovely mild weather is bringing the greenery out, and yesterday morning my husband stepped outside and when he came in, he brought a waft of green and earth and growing things, and oh, that was good for the soul. Of course, I've been out, too, but somehow I notice the smell more when someone brings it into the house.
Suddenly I am feeling brighter and more optimistic, less prone to my winter drama queen mode. And that can only be good.

My older child is poorly at the moment, and has had day two off of school. He's the best patient ever - apart from waking his little brother up in the middle of the night to fetch us when he needs a drink. He takes everything in his stride, and I often think I could learn a lesson in patience off of him. I'm not a neurotic mother by any stretch, but this child has Keratitis in his right cornea, and every recurrence brings a risk of scarring. Eventually the scarring is likely to be bad enough to need an operation or it will result in blindness. The virus is set in motion by tiredness and illness, so I'm taking the poor mite's temperature every five minutes, shoving vitamins down him, and making him drink...juice, water, milk, anything that comes to hand. And through it all, he gives me his ear for the thermometer, lets me shine torches down his throat, and gives me matter of fact updates about how he's feeling on demand. What a star.
I'm a huge fan of Sheffield's Children's Hospital, I think they do a fantastic job. But we don't need to spend any more time there than we already do.

This week we've done loads in the garden. I have that sinking feeling that the weather will close in soon and spring cleaning fever will attack. Which would be fine if the damn house ever stayed clean, but today I mopped the floor and it was filthy - absolutely shamefully filthy - within 15 minutes. I'm tempted to sell the boys and buy in a cleaner...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Counting my blessings

Life is a funny old thing. We've been really struggling since last year when my hours and pay were cut by half and my husband lost his job shortly after. There's a lot of ranting I could do about the financial crisis and how Cameron's government is strangling the voluntary sector, but I'll save it -this is a positive post. Anyway, it's a terrible time in so many ways; there are massive blows to finances, to confidence, to hopes and dreams. Feeding and clothing everyone becomes a worry, even a week away in a tent seems excessively decadent (wait for the positive, it's coming).
BUT (here it is) two really important and life-changing positives have come out of all this worry and stress, and for that reason, I've found to my shock that I'm almost thankful for it.

The first is that we have found that when the chips are down our family and friends gather round to offer support, love and belly laughs - and what more can you ask from your friends and family than to know that when times are hard they will be there to pick you up and then make you fall down again in fits of uncontrollable laughter?

The second is a surprising but unspeakably valuable and precious thing: time together. We previously worked four days a week and full time respectively, which meant that with the best will in the world, our time with our children was limited to evenings, weekends, and a week in summer, a week at Christmas, and a few days around the annual vomiting bug. This is not unusual, most of us have to work to make ends meet. But there's always the guilt, the feeling that you have these precious critters and then abandon them to the care of others. It isn't, you tend to feel, in any way fair.
So, hard as it's been in many ways, it suddenly occurred to me (I'm a bit slow on the uptake) that we've had nearly seven months of walking the kids to school and nursery in the morning and home again in the afternoon, often hand in hand like soppy teenagers. We've been able to spend long hours with the little one that we never had with the big one playing with playdough, drawing and cutting, chatting, and praising his mega superhero skills. We've been able to spend time listening to the big one's rambling stories about everything and nothing, teach him how to make stuff like puppets, foster his enthusiasm for reading, and so many other things that are tiny but also really huge. And we've gone to parks, made dens, and generally been utterly silly all together. In a way I feel like we've learned to be a proper family through all this.

I think both children will look back on this time as a very important part of their early lives. I like to think it's brought them closer to each other, and closer to us. I hope it's given them time to really know and feel how much we love them and like to be with them. I also think it's been good for us adults to spend so much time together, with and without the kids (and usually I'm the one pushing him into his garage so I can write in peace). I think it's a real  pity that we could never have found the funds to take a year out and make this happen in a nice way. But hey, you count your blessings where you find them.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Recording random acts of being

As a compulsive reader and writer, my head seems to be perpetually full of, well, stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Far too much stuff. Most of it isn't very useful, but sometimes I think some of it might be worth recording, and you can make your own decision.
And perhaps some day it will give my kids some little insight into my head. If they can stand the thought.

Likely subjects include rants on grammar, musings on parenthood, government based grumblings, and bemused ramblings.

I'm looking forward to it.