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!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010


You ain't seen me, right?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

You know, I'm usually fairly cutting edge, fairly early to adopt new technologies, but I'd starting to wonder whether I've shifted into being a luddite without realising it.

I simply cannot understand Twitter.

I mean, what is the point? Being interested in other people's tweets seems rather akin to collecting shopping lists (apparently people do). Tweets are ephemera, and vapid and useless as a spent shopping list. They have meaning only as part of a continuum of tweets, that together add up to...a life.

I wonder whether it is actually worth documenting such intervals. Do they elicit debate? Do they add anything to the sum of human of knowledge?

Imagine that in 5000 years' time archaeologists attempt to reconstruct our society from tweets and reality television. I can only shudder at the idea they will get of us.

Friday, February 05, 2010

It must be our age, I guess.

I'm slightly overwhelmed at the moment with the number of friends who are having problems in their life. I want to help and support them, but not entirely certain where to start.

I suppose I've just neatly avoided or postponed any potential midlife crisis by plunging back into nappies (which neatly answers the Why? question on many people's lips about the Grub, back last year when we tentatively started to tell people that maybe, just maybe, this might just happen this time).

Amongst my friends are several usually rock-steady and capable women who are suffering. Some have health problems, most are simply exhausted by the juggling act they do on a daily basis, some are watching their parents fade, some are questioning where their life is taking them.

I'm trying to be a good enough friend to them, but it's hard to know where to begin sometimes.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


What I may have forgotten to say last year some time is that finally, after five years of shivering and feeling undermined by my own body, my obstetrician put me on thyroxine. And crikety jimmit did my energy levels go up!

So I did what any sensible person would do, and decided that the only thing to do when working full-time (well not all that full-time during that little recession thing we had going on there), gestating, and looking after three increasingly teenaged children (actually that is relevant, for what they no longer require in active tending these days, they more than make up for in the attitude; and it is really wearing), so I thought to myself that what I really needed in my life was a load more work, preferably voluntary. So I went on the parish council for our 3000 strong village. And then had a baby in the least ideal possible way, and then got a lovely Spanish au-pair, and then went straight back to work. And that's what been happening at Purple Towers these last few months.

I think the best way to catch up at this point is to break the last five months by month and give you bullet points. (update, later- If I knew how to html bullet points that might help)

So, here goes:

September, month 1 of new baby life.
Came out of hospital on the 3rd, which was rather like a Beckett play. I thought they weren't going to let us go. Apparently discharging a mother and baby from two different units (postnatal in my case and neonatal unit in the Grub's case) is beyond the wit of any organisation to achieve in less than 10 hours.
Home, to my bed, where I stay resolutely based for the next week, having been firmly instructed by surgeon not to overdo things for several weeks. I took her seriously.
Discharged by midwives, which was a wrench.
Au pair arrived on the 12th.
Phone call on the 16th. Would I like to do a big and really interesting translation with a fairly easy deadline? Well, for better or for worse, my motivation is what proportion of a term's school fees a job represents. This was a good proportion, so I accepted it. Even though I was basically still groggy from the C section general anaesthetic and needed frequent naps. It's called flying by the seat of your pants and seems to be what I specialise in at the moment, whilst pretending to be running a perfectly professional outfit.
So I fed the baby, changed nappies and translated from my bed for the next three weeks.

Second week of the month I took off and slept and talked to the lovely Spanish au pair who had been looking after the baby between feeds and nappy changes. The baby does not sleep as newborns should. She requires endless entertainment rather like her big brother did.
Third week was half term and we all shuffled off to a friend's father's house in Tuscany to help him sort out his olive nets. The nets have to be spread out under the trees before the olives start dropping in about November-December and we rather liked the idea of staying in the flat above their house with a view over glorious hills in exchange for a few hours' work. Lovely Spanish au pair went off to help my sister Persephone in London for a couple of weeks.
We had to have two hire cars as two small cars (with a total capacity of 10) cost roughly half what an MPV with a capacity of 7 would have. It's a mad commercial world.
Sim, Hen, Dill and the Boff all swam in the sea a Via Reggia while Italians looked on incredulously. The Boff decided on a mandatory trip to San Gimignano, which turned out to be two hours away, whichever route we drove. The Grub does Not Like Car Trips. The Boff knew this, but his solution was to offer to take her with him, without any means to feed her, which of course I turned down. On the way back, we chose the motorway route, which was fun which the Grub screaming in the back while Dill attempted to keep her entertained with Sim's light sabre application on his iPod. It didn't work, and the poor baby was in shock by the time we got back to the village where we were staying. I am ashamed to say that I stopped at the supermarket without calling the Boff to tell him we were still alive, changed and fed the Grub, and took my sweet time because I was so damned cross with my husband that I wanted him to worry. And he did. And then I felt guilty, but not guilty enough to apologise to him.
Friend's dad took us to a lovely mountain top restaurant that runs only at weekends and serves 8 course lunches, most of which were pasta or meat, or pasta and meat. Hen was happy as a sand girl.

Back into rainy November, twinning skittles fundraiser.
Actually can't remember much of November. May come back to me. There are pictures to suggest that November happened.
Ah yes- Second sister, Henna has her third child, and and lovely Spanish au pair and I go to France for a few days.

Thankfully no work until mid month, when a document that followed on from the September one materialised. I negotiated what I thought would be an easy January deadline.
We all get bad colds, including the Grub. Hen's has lasted for over a month, she got it first and passed it on.
Christmas at the Boff's mother's, with my sister Persephone and my mother, who gets on very well with the Boff's mother.
New Year Eve back at home. It is my mother's 70th and I'm suddenly struck with the awful thought that she may not be around for ever although genetics would suggest otherwise. I worry about her marbles a little though- she has always been quite dotty. Anyway, Persephone and I have arranged for our mother's brother and sister-in-law to come for NYE and my mother's birthday. We've decided to keep it a surprise, and I manage to drag my mother along to go to the station to pick them up. My mother makes a crassly racist remark about another driver on the way to the station, we have an argument about it and she's in a sulk when we go to pick up my aunt and uncle. Not a brilliant start.
Brilliant party- a whole bunch of fun 60 and 70 somethings, plus us and my sister. A friend in his 60s turns up unexpectedly when his NYE arrangements fall through. Great fun.

My mother leaves and Lovely au pair comes back. I go back to work, which is to say I begin the document I got before Christmas, even though I am now late starting and will probably not finish in time.
Another client, knowing that I have a new baby, has arranged a brilliant three month job with easy deadlines which means no work panic for several months.
The December job runs over and I panic. I panic some more when the client for whom I'm doing the three month job rings assuming I'm doing hers. Fly by seat of pants.

February (now)
Back on track with work. Been a long-haul. Hopefully a lot more time available to blog, have lunch with friends and do some parish council work.

Will be back with photos. Must go to post office.

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