Friday, 28 December 2007

Feliz Navidad

We flew to Spain on Christmas Eve morning and are spending a week slumming it in my parents´b&b in the mountains. All rooms en suite, all meals provided and more babysitting than anyone can reasonably expect. Their place is on the church square and the current village problem is the church clock. It was put right again this morning and is now more than ten minutes fast - it may as well bong randomly for all the use it is. The first night we were here the call to mass began an hour before midnight, so the bells were tested to the max. Unfortunately, we had just drifted off to sleep. Etholle couldn´t sleep through them (reasonably enough) and having said I was too tired to attend mass I felt that my penance was delivered immediately.

Today we have been to the snow, soooo pretty and sunny. A shame we had to come down the windy (long i) road home. Three of the passengers were ready to vomit by the time we got back, and I´ve had quite enough of that recently...

I´ll add photos when we get home.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

What haven't I cleaned vomit off this week?

The doctor asked me, 'What makes you say it's bile?' I replied innocently, 'It's green'. Perhaps I should have added that it looked just like it would emulsify fats nicely and aid the absorption of lipids in the duodenum - but probably at 6.30 on a Friday evening the last thing he needed was a facetious answer from someone who has not had opportunity to flex their biochemical muscles for a while...

There is not much to say this week because all I have done is wipe up sick and do laundry. I believe I have written extensively enough about the latter, and the former - well, let's not go there.

There are no pictures in this posting for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Keeping warm in winter

A few weeks ago our boiler started making a weird clicking noise so I phoned 'Boiler Man'. I exagerate my efficiency; I ignored it for a couple of days and then phoned someone who is organised enough to keep BM's details somewhere accessible. The last time BM's services were required, Steve had stuck his card on the front of the fireplace to remind me to ring and I don't know what happened to the card after that. It probably got removed in an attempt to 'depersonalise' prior to trying to sell our house (we didn't sell!) Anyway, after several calls and messages to BM he turns up on our doorstep at 11am one Saturday morning just as we are about to leave to go to a wedding. Now, Steve promises me BM did nothing other than take the cover off the boiler and note down a secret code on the back of an envelope, but he must have looked at the offending clicking part in a very stern manner as it has not been badly behaved since. The thought does cross my mind that maybe the cover of the boiler was loose...

Steve decided last month that we should have new radiators downstairs because the old ones were not 'strong' enough to heat up our living area. He duly went and purchased two double finned radiators (as if I know what that means) and stashed them behind the sofa until he had chance to fit them. He was, in fact quite efficient and on two successive weekends fitted them both. He nearly came unstuck when the shops of Didcot failed to yield a radiator key, but I dashed over to a neighbour who has brand new central heating and they were able to supply him with the correct tool. (I was completely unable to describe the radiator key so there was a lot of running up and down the road in the pouring rain...) For want of anything better to do with the old radiators, Steve added them to the pile of disposed of armchair and old sideboard in our front garden. It was a kind of 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' mentality to the collective scrap heap that is the front gardens of Queensway. Who needs a skip when you have got a bit of hard standing? I was rather glad of the rain as it prevented us from being tempted to go the whole Didcot hog and set fire to it. The heap has now been removed and taken to Drayton dump. We are only left with a few paving slabs that have been there since May 2001 when I removed them and planted a hedge. Not all of the slabs remain, some are outside a friend's house (who has since moved) and another is in two pieces in front of our fire place in lieu of a proper hearth.

Friday, 16 November 2007

My lovely sideboard

Marvellous isn't it? I was out when a local farmer delivered it, but I did see it being driven through the streets of Didcot on a flat bed truck. It was deposited in the middle of our living room and is of course much, much bigger than it looked in the shop. We had to throw away an armchair to make room for it - well worth it, just don't try and sit on it!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Art Deco sideboard

I have bought a sideboard that I don't think will fit into our house unless I dispose of two of our armchairs (and one of the children). I am so excited, it was the bargain price of £35 at the Animal Sanctuary shop in town. They are delivering it on Wednesday. I hope it is as nice as I remember, I could describe it, but I think I'll take a ridculous number of photos of it instead...

Steve has decided that central heating is, in fact, over-rated and has lit a fire - we do have a fireplace (phew!) I won't experiment with the drying properties of the fireguard, tempting as it is.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Mothercare and their washable mattresses

Hmmm...when they say that the top layer is removeable I mistakenly thought it meant that the whole outer cover could be removed, just like the mattress I had previously purchased from John Lewis. How disappointing to discover at 6am the other morning that only one side of the top layer is in fact washable and my lovely daughter had vomitted all over the other side. Full marks go to Steve, however, who had the foresight to buy yellow fitted sheets for the cot-bed so that they are easily discernable from the white cot sheets - the man is a genius. Having washed down the non-machine washable side of the mattress he even allowed it to be put against a radiator to be dried. Wonders never cease.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Proclaimers and washable nappies

The Proclaimers are brilliant! Last night I went to the Hexagon, embraced my middle-ageness, jumped up and down whilst praying my pelvic floor would hold out and waved my arms about to the wonderful, wonderful Proclaimers. Fantastic - and back home in bed by 11.30!

The pressing problem of the week is how to dry nappies and all the rest of the laundry without the aid of a tumble dryer. It is threatening to take over my life. I have a large clothes horse and an airing cupboard, but I still have a slight shortage of space. One potential answer is to bag stuff up and whip it down the launderette to go in the industrial strength t.d. but that would involve moving the washing around the town, not something I'm keen on doing. I think things will ease up when the heating is on, although I am not permitted to dry clothes over the radiators because the clothing will eat up the heat and the rooms will all stay cold and we will have to turn the heating up more and then the clothes will burn (or something awful, I can't remember the exact reasons that were stated, but they seemed to make sense when we had the conversation and I agreed). Steve really is very clever, he could probably provide pretty physics-style diagrams to prove conclusively that one should never place a damp object over a metal tank filled with hot water. I am in a dilemma as to whether I should buy more nappies or whether this will merely exacerbate the problem, because if there are more nappies I would be tempted to wash less frequently and then the load of nappies will be larger and thus take up more space in my already crowded (and somewhat damp) bedroom. Of course the best solution would be to move to a place where the sun shines everyday and I could always put the washing outside, but then there would be myriad other issues, I'm sure...

Friday, 12 October 2007

The Boxing Day of my Birthday

I have put both my girls back to bed this morning so I can eat my breakfast in peace and listen to the Today Programme. Etholle is awake, I can hear her singing. I got one card through the post on my birthday and one the day before. This is not because I am hopelessly unpopular, but because there has been a postal strike. A few people have admitted that they have not sent me a card because of the strike (Father in Law and Brother) but I bet everyone is using it as an excuse not to bother. I am also using the postal strike as an excuse not to send thank you cards for all the lovely gifts people bought us when Hephzibah arrived (3 months ago!) My best (only) present was a beige 1970's telephone that rings so loud it makes you jump. Better go and have a shower - today is 'Coffee and Kids' - yippee! I just love the mayhem that is a toddler group - not!! I actually find them vaguely terrifying, but Etholle thinks it's fun. Pre-children I set up a group called 'Coffee No Kids'. It sounded slightly more exciting than 'a prayer group for people who are about during the day because they don't have proper jobs' (I let people join who did in fact have proper jobs but worked shifts, but not if they had little ones in tow......I am so mean). Alan Johnson on Desert Island Discs? That's my cue to go, I think.