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January 19, 2014

Daddy-daycare need no better advertisement than my daughter’s new-found phrase.  In less than 24hrs she has learnt two crucial new things:

1. Insulting people with words made from any form of decrement is funny.

2. The concept of fairness, or rather the unfairness of being the youngest/only 2 and a half.

On the plus side, wee man has now watched his first PG-13.  Jurassic Park.  Apparently not at all scary.  I imagine however that it might mull a bit in him, and then surface.  But what do i know?  Hope not.  As the hat keeps telling me, King Kong was much scarier.  So maybe it’ll be fine then.  He was fascinated by it, as you would be, were you a 5yr old boy with a life-long interest in dinosaurs.

But they did all enjoy their walk.  More of a scoot.  Perfect.  Just through the quarry, no bracing hill-top winds to contend with.  Daddy’s far more realistic in terms of what is achievable…

Happiness is...

Happiness is…


Lyth Hill 1 Laurences 0

January 15, 2014

Well, the intention was there.  And i’m pretty sure i said that it was all about the intention?  Not really about the actual walk per se.  Not yet.  Conditioning, that’s what we’re aiming for this year.  Next year, maybe actual walks.  Which is just as well, considering.  The day began ominously.  I should’ve taken heed.  It took us thirty minutes just to get out the house, as the Hat was having a tantrum.  Possibly about the possibility that she might not be able to take her scooter.  Possibly.  Either that or it was because she couldn’t decide which shoes to wear.  It’s a bit hard to know.  What ever the problem was it was incredibly serious, until it was instantly forgotten.  But damned if i was going to let a two year old win the war.  Walk it was.  Walk we would.

On reflection, maybe not...

On reflection, maybe not…

Admittedly, it might also have been a bit cold.  The car said 2 degrees, but the wind chill was pretty impressive.  It’s amazing we made it as far as we did.  Which is as far as you see in this photo.  Yes, possibly a whole 50 yards from the car.

Much like Carding Mill Valley, there’s two carparks on Lyth Hill.  Unlike Carding Mill Valley they are practically next to each other, and unlike Carding Mill Valley, we didn’t even manage to walk between them.  Apparently, just past the 2nd carpark there’s a windmill, and other great vistas and sights.  We drove up (oh the shame as i write that), with intentions of getting out and trying again (or indeed just turning the car around).  But once we’d been back in the car for 5 seconds , the kids had decided we’d had enough.  And that was that.  No point forcing the issue.

There’s always a next time.  It does look beautiful up there…and i did say that the point wasn’t the actual walking didn’t i?

Where’s the time gone?

January 5, 2014

Tonight is the second Sherlock.  Which means that the first was a week ago.  How did that happen?  More importantly how did a year pass since my last post?  Apols.

Let’s not dwell, either on the lost week, nor year.  But carry on, regardless.

Amongst the plethora of new year’s resolutions, one was to go for a walk each and every Sunday.  It being only the second Sunday of January, it feels a tad early to self-congratulate myself, but still…by the end of this post, i will potentially have made a good start on three resolutions, and that ain’t bad.

Last week we ventured to Haughmond Hill, for a successful bout of scootering around the “20 min” trail (approx. time taken, 65 minutes).  This week we took ourselves off bright and early, to avoid the rain, to Bury Ditches.  Supposedly a magnificent example of an iron age hill side fort…

It's around here somewhere...

It’s around here somewhere…

According to our new bible, “Kiddiwalks in Shropshire” (which i can cross reference against my four other walking in shropshire books, i seem incapable of passing one by…), the fort is the biggest and best, affording panoramic views etc etc.  So, armed with wellies and binoculars, we headed off confidently.  There were only 6 instructions, but the 2nd, “turn right to reach the toposcope” proved too much for our orienteering skills.  We never found the toposcope, nor the fort, despite standing in what must have been it’s epicentre.  It doesn’t bode well for other, more complicated walks.

But not to worry.  The point of these is to get the kids prepped and practised…the Shropshire Hills proper can wait…and we had fun exploring the woods, or at least the first twenty metres of them.

Respect my Nativity!!!!

December 16, 2012

It’s been a busy week chez-shrews…wee man performed in his first ever nativity play, which we were allowed to see on Monday.  When rehearsals first started, obvs i was a bit upset for him to discover that he wasn’t a King (which he wanted to be), nor a shepherd, nor angel, nor anything that sounded remotely like a major role.  Though, tbh, i don’t think he really noticed that rehearsals for a play were going on until at least a fortnight into them.  I got my information, as usual, from his more observant mates.  Eventually we discovered (via a note from the teacher) that he was to be a ‘chinese boy’.  Yes.  Not a part that i remembered from school.  Though i was energised to learn that other kids were also chinese boys, and some were even polish dancers…and so to the big day.  Grandma came up, and we both took our places on the lowest, most uncomfortable bench we could find.  The angels, kings and shepherds were all on stage, and wee man was hidden over in the corner – what suspense to see how this would unfold!

The older kids, able to remember (just) lines, explained that we would be taken on a trip around the world, to see how different christian countries celebrated xmas.  Hmmmm.  China – that famously christian country?!?!  What kind of political geography do they teach nowadays?  And so we duly saw Australia (kids in summer clothes, enjoying xmas on a beach to some nice ‘aboriginal’ music), Malawi (hmmm, the 99% white cast wearing odd petals dancing to a curiously choral – no drums whatsoever – hymn), America (dull),  Ireland (actually, some quite good river dancing on display here, considering…) – and of course the not-at-all communist/anti-religous China.  Aw bless.  The more observant kids (and to be fair, this was not nec restricted to the older ones – it would appear that if your kid is away with the fairies most of the time, school doesn’t make a huge amount of difference…), were doing some kind of hand dancing.  My kid was playing with his hat.  Though, looking back at the photos, he wasn’t actually the least observant, that was his mate Rufus, in the back – who in all my photos is literally doing his own thang…at least wee man was attempting to keep up with the moves – in between knocking off his hat, and putting it back on to much comedy affect.  Rufus, bless his little cottons is actually more away with the fairies than our boy – he even has a masking taped ‘X’ on the floor in the classroom where he has to sit, to ensure that he’s amidst the rest of the class and not doolllalying distractingly at the fringes.  Am amazed (and obvs proud), that this shame has not yet been imparted on wee man.  Who, for all his reticence to tell me what on earth is going in school (and leading me to believe that he’s no real idea) – does seem to be catching on relatively well to reading and numbers and such – am amazed…!!!!  And happy…

And what of the kinds and angels and shepherds?  Well, we waited, through all the agonising countries, anticipating a traditional story as the finale.  But nothing.  The poor kids, whose parents had been somewhat silently crowing that their progeny would be playing the ‘parts’, merely sat on the stage for the whole performance, not dancing.  They were very good, bless’em.  At first, i thought that they’d been chosen because they were so good and attentive – now i think it was because they were so good and attentive that they were given the parts that were the least onerous.  Had they made our boy or even Rufus a king or some such, they’d’ve been creating merry hell with boredom!

I would love to accompany this post with pics, but sadly, i took’em badly on my phone – and since we were massively warned against posting pics of kids we don’t know online, shan’t risk it…(sad emoticon).

Meantime, i’d love to say xmas preparation continues unabated.  But that’d be a bare lie.  In comparison to last year, where i was making cards and mince pies like they were going out of fashion – this year, other than the xmas cakes there’s been little action…i had intended on making cards again – but have been let down by my materials (bad workman/tools yadeya).  And time has been eaten by work and ill kids…that’s my excuse anyway…soz peeps x


December 6, 2012

christmas cookiesSometimes it feels like all i do is bake…not that that’s a bad thing per se, but…have just put the second xmas cake in the oven – mad dash to get it in time – what with it’s 4.5hrs baking time, and the school run being in essentially the middle of the day, there’s limited time to use the oven.  The hat was simply NO HELP.  Honestly.  But fingers crossed this time i manage to get it out without any mishaps.  The dry-run on the gingerbread (my frugal christmas pressies for the kids friends) ended up with disaster.  Not the cookies, but for me.  Managed (and i do not know how), to somehow throw the oven in my face, leaving me with an attractive hitler moustache of a burn, which has now gone all crusty, and, well, quite frankly, i look delightful.  Good ol’ Bio-Oil being applied liberally from now til Christmas in order that i don’t look too ghastly – but it is still quite shameful.  At least i can now smile without it cracking…!

Other news is thin on the ground…cider is coming on nicely, fingers crossed we’ll have some fizzy and some still for the holidays, and a few more gallons for the cold January which is inevitably going to follow this freezing December.  Still can’t quite bring myself to taste it, i must get over my childish abhorrence of the appley-booze…

Wee man is still loving school, though in his own little world.  I do wonder how much he’s taking in.  The nativity play is on Monday, and despite daily rehearsals, it is a big struggle to get out of him what is going on.  He is a ‘chinese boy’ – can’t say i remember that from the traditional story – not helped by the fact that as we’re revealing the nativity scene (via the hat receiving a character a day in her advent calendar) wee man’s latched onto a shepherd insisting that that is a “chinese boy like me”….hmmm.  Can’t wait to see it…no doubt he’ll be the one wondering around of his own volition, oblivious to the story and what’s occurring.  Bless.

Not as cute as she looks....

Not as cute as she looks….

And the hat?  Well, by gad, she’s gotten big.  18months now…how did that happen?  Babbling and gesticulating wildly, running, skipping, jumping and generally growing up far too fast.  She’ll not be my little baby for much longer, almost makes me broody.  Almost.

Where is the time gone?

November 25, 2012

Holy Cow…well, i can only explain my lack of blogging to a seriously nasty cold (or to call it by its ‘proper’ name – man flu).  Again, as with most things in life, i bring it upon myself by being far too cocksure.  Was only metaphorically patting myself on the back a fortnight or so ago at the fact that despite the kids were trailing home from nursery/school with all manner of colds and sniffles, i was managing to stay strong and healthy…when the bastard bug struck.  Luckily, the kids nor Adam seem to have caught this (though as i type Adam is not v well with ‘food poisoning’…we were out last night, but more of that later), so tis just i struggling on like a zombie.

I struggled through hosting the Steering Group meeting for the Green Shropshire Exchange – my pronounciation so impeded by cold that they couldn’t understand why someone who was ‘gold-orientated’ would want to get involved with a friendly fringe – this caused a bit of a parallel conversation until i had to correct them that i was in fact ‘goal-orientated’, which to be fair, didn’t make much more sense either – neither gold nor deliverable objectives are what the green movement is exactly famed for.  hey ho.

I hosted the editor of the county mag, through a fug of fever, but managing to snare a chance to run ‘splurge and purge’ for 11 months next year.  A few hours after he left i finally looked down at the floor (sinus pain having previously precluded me from doing so), to notice that right by his foot, on the filthy ‘protective mat’ that sits under the hat’s chair – ostensibly to protect the carpet from her detritus, but in effect being just a minging bit of cut-off table cloth – note to self, now that i’ve actually outted myself/this particular example of utter slovenly behaviour, i must get a new bit of table cloth – there was an upturned, semi-gobbed piece of jam and toast.  It’s the finishing touches that always let me down…

And so it was with the cakes.  5 of them.  in 24 hours.  For our neighbour’s surprise birthday party.  But, for those of you who’ve met my decorating skills, the end results will not be a surprise.  I tend to go for flavour, rather than finesse i think it’s best to say…the party was excellent – black tie!  Ooh, a proper dress-up…in the boat club – where there was an added element of frisson, due to the heavy rain and bloated river Servern – threatening to engulf the carpark.  No great drama in the end, sadly…just awful awful, shameful, never to be repeated dancing to gangnam style (oh oh oh, really?!  shame).

But it’s not been all doom and gloom.  Somehow, we also managed to make it to a lantern-making workshop – which it has to be said i did envisage as being slightly less full-on than it was.  Wicker modelling to create a 3-d shape, followed by papier mache covering (it’s amazing how, having done none, zilch, zero papier mache for, ooh about 30 years, i’m suddenly surrounded by it, and i fear it is not a passing phase…).  Obvs, wee man was supposed to be helping, but he and the other kids ended up racing around like, well, 5 year olds, whilst we the mum’s struggled on with their lanterns.  All to participate in the lantern procession for the turning on of the xmas lights.  V twee.  And lovely.  Though the quaintness somewhat marred by the appearance, on every street corner, or stalls selling multi-coloured light saber-type things, of every imaginable shape and connotation.  Luckily i ‘had no money’, predictably mummy’s homemade lantern holding no allure once the modern tech-solutions were presented as an alternative.

Have i told you about the town crier? He genuinely is that tall. Born for the job.

But this means that it’s officially Christmas!!! YEAH!!!!!!  Bit late with the christmas cake making – that’s this week’s job – next week it’s mince meat and christmas trees….hmmmm, sheeeeet, might need to start doing some shopping too eh.

Chuggington Lives! Alas.

November 6, 2012

There are some toys that just won’t, no matter how incessantly they’re played with, ever run out of batteries.  There are others, whose batteries are forever needing changing.  Despite my best intentions of being a ‘natural material’ kinda toy owner, the reality is that i have 3 kinds of toys:

  • Toys that don’t need batteries
  • Toys that need batteries, but need batteries
  • Toys that would be better if their batteries needed changing

It is to this third category that Chuggington firmly belongs.  We inherited him, like most trains, from Baaad Aunty Alice – though all of the other trains fall into the first category and are therefore, it would appear from studious observation of my sample pool of both kids, simply not as interesting.  Though, the problem with Chuggington, is that actually, he’s also not that interesting.  He doesn’t really fit on the track, and although he might do a good impression of chugging along on a straight, give him a bend or a bridge and he’s easily defeated.  And so, he is left, lying like la cucuracca, his wheels turning, and whining, and turning and whining.  The kids, oblivious to this white noise play on regardless.  Turning and whining.  And so, it was with great joy that this weekend i was presented with a Chuggington that was broken.  Having been dropped from a good height by one of the gorgeous Cox bairns.  “oh dear” i grinned, “looks like Chuggington isn’t chugging anymore”.

Fast forward to this morning, and before e’en a sip of coffee had passed my lips, eldest child fell into my path waving Chuggington triumphantly.  Apparently, somebloodyhow, the button that you pressed to turn the bugger on has managed to re-assert itself, and the bastard now works again.

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