Monday, July 08, 2013



Anybody there?

Not attention-seeking here, you understand, just wondering...

No. There is nobody here.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

On the subject of the older/adult child 

People say "Oh, you never stop worrying about them!".

Back when Sim was newborn, it barely seemed conceivable to me that I could worry as much about him as I did then- surely 20+ years of that kind of adrenaline-fuelled, well, edge of panic, for want of a better description, would see one safely into the grave before well said child reached adulthood?

Fast forward to toddlerhood and the seemingly endless trips to A&E, the seemingly unending death wish of my son, the seeming relish with which he attempted the thing most likely to injure him (successfully quite a lot of the time), fast-forward past the madcap tree-climbing, the rock-scrambling, the crazy expeditions avec enfants led by the Boff who behind a mild and unassuming scientist exterior, hides a core of utter unthinking recklessness*, fast forward past the only slightly potentially lethal Ten Tors expeditions and RAF cadet flying sorties, fast forward past all of these things and we are here: Sim at 18, setting out into the world on his own.

So Sim flew a few days ago to Spain, with Dill, who at just 14 (the previous day) is old enough to travel unaccompanied on the orange budget airline but not old enough to act as chaperone to our borrowed Spanish child. The plan for Sim was that he would walk/trek/take the train back slowly through Spain and southern France, before arriving at his grandfather's in northern France in about ten days' time.

My father was to have taken Sim on a tour of the Loire valley grandes caves castles. As turns out, my father is unexpectedly in hospital, very ill with peripheral vascular disease in his lower legs (about to lose a toe and undergo a leg bypass in fact- I guess the 30 units a day for the last 40 years is starting to catch up with him at 72).

Sim's increasingly mournful texts and emails over the last few days show that he is really slightly at sea on his own. Having set off with high ambitions and very little preparation, he is now faced with the reality of being on his own far from home and with little comfort and he is not embracing the concept. Far from relishing being Down and Out in Paris and London, he is Taking Trains North as Quickly as Possible, to rejoin granny's home cooking a bed.

I can't say I'm not slightly disappointed. Not in him, but in my failure to adequately teach and encourage him to seek out the world rather than seek to avoid it.

It is, I imagine, just one of many instances in his life as young adult where I have to watch him fall and have no graze to mop. It is perversely harder than 16 years ago. It turns out those people were right- you don't ever stop worrying about them. You just have less and less of a role- the worry goes underground by degrees.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I didn't deliberately decide to stop blogging. It just sort of happened, and nothing to do with being too busy, or the baby, or anything like that. It was because of the children that I must henceforth call "the older children". These teenage years with them have not been easy- rather like a rollercoaster.

They are all three blessed with pretty even tempers, so there's been nothing outrageous, no drink, no joy-riding, no drugs, no boyfriends or girlfriends to worry about. They have worked at school- some hard, some slightly less hard; they have played hard; they have friends; they are able to talk to adults with some degree of confidence. In short, they are turning out OK so far, and for that I am very grateful. I stopped blogging when they started saying "You're going to put this in your blog, aren't you?" whenever they did anything of note, and I realised that, yes, I really was going to blog that and it had to stop because it wasn't mine to blog any longer.

And then we were blessed with our wonderful Grub, who is (hyper)active and funny and talkative and whimsical and gorgeous, and it would have been a golden opportunity to blog her life from the beginning. Dill was blogged from 5 to 12 and when I look back on my old posts, I realise how many little details you forget and it makes me sad that I've forgotten so much about them as children.

So I'm wondering whether I could start to blog again, in secret like.

As Sim nears 18, a major life-changing event is about to occur- namely the first child leaving home. People tell me that these days they are all boomerang children- back before you know it. Is it wrong of me to hope that he does boomerang back and to hope he doesn't in equal measures? As we watch in fascination to see if he'll actually achieve his promise and match his achievements to his abilities in terms of exam results, and actually end up at a university worth going to rather than a former FE college masquerading as a higher ed institution (yes, I'm talking to you, "University" of Glamorgan, whose DDD offer Sim has fortunately turned down).

Do these places not realise that there are young people out there who do not listen to a word their parents say and will end up wasting their chance at higher education on a place where even the lecturers can't be bothered to turn up half of the time? The blood fair runs cold, I tell you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Little and large 

People say to me: "Ooh, you're brave, starting all that again!", gazing upon the beaming 9 month old daughter.

In truth, although she is not the world's bet sleeper, I lose less sleep over her than I do over Sim.

Sim is now nearly 17, and supposedly studying for the first year of A levels, the English school-leaving exams. This means that he ought to be studying ^very^ damned hard.

Instead, he is whiling his idle moments away with watching Pirates of the Caribbean for the umpteenth time.

Sample conversation between him and me would go thus:

Me: "So, Sim, anything more important you could be doing?"

Sim: "Weeeeell, I suppose I ^could^ revise X."

Me: "So??"

Sim: "Hmmm".

Some time later...and he's still ensconced in front of the telly.

Me: "SIM!"

Sim: "Huh?"


Apparently this makes me Unreasonable, Angry and possibly slightly Unhinged. As well as being Counterproductive and Misguided, because simply ^all^ the major business people in the world have no qualifications anyway and who needs A levels to be a fireman?

I know I should not compare children and on the whole I don't but, meanwhile, upstairs, Hen (15) is writing out 42 pages of Biology revision notes for internal school exams, not even proper exams.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lucky lucky lucky 

I've just been visiting my blog round about the time I was miscarrying back in Autumn 2006, and my goodness does it seem to be another world. I can't really even remember feeling that sad, scared and desperate. This baby is so lovely and so healing and so worth the 6 year wait. I feel...blessed - no that's really not too sappy a word- I feel as though I was chosen, as though she chose me to come and live with. Add to that the fact that she came out by Caesarian under a general anaesthetic and frankly, is she even mine? She looks like me and the Boff, which is my proof, but I sometimes feel that someone chose me to give her to. Which makes me feel all the more lucky. And the fact that she arrived with the sunniest, most even disposition of any baby I've met, has slept pretty decently virtually since birth are just more proof of how lucky I am.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You know, there's something else I don't understand. Broadband (ADSL for you transatlantic types) lines.

Yesterday afternoon, we perceived that our broadband speed had plummeted to new lows. A quick test (once we'd waited the 7 minutes to load the test page, that is) confirmed that our speed was indeed laughable, and would in fact be an object of derision in most developing countries: 8kbps download speed.

So I rung some very nice young men in Mumbai, the first of which told me under no circumstances was I to pick up the phone in the next 7-10 mintues as he was going run a test. So when the phone rang three minutes later I ignored it. And when it rang again two minutes later I ignored it again. When we listened to the answerphone, there indeed was Rajesh, increasing in his little voice that no-one was answering.

So I rang back and spoke to Sanjeev, who said that there was a limit on our line of 150 kbps (heights that we could only dream of frankly), and that he was going to request that hte limit be raised to 1500 kbps within 12-24 hours. That was it. An order of magnitude of 10, just for one small phone call.

And I just checked our speed, and found that it has gone from 8 to 1440 kbps in one fell swoop. Just like that. (which can only beg the question: "Why the heck did they not do it sooner?"...but I digress)

In fact, Sanjeev just called me back as he promised yesterday to check on the progress of the line. Now that's what I call the personal touch.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Scene: The car, radio blaring out crappy local station.

Rihanna: #And you can see my heart beating, You can see it through my chest...

Me: "Oh, so your chest is see-through is it luv?". I like to provide a witty and insightful running commentary on any radio station my children select. Captive audience and all...

Dill: (eyes rolling audibly) "Oh Mummy, it's meant to be a metaphor!"

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