Category Archives: Children

Autumn Tree

This has been done by the eldest (twelve) on my phone when she was sitting in the car for a few minutes whilst I bought some dog food at the pet shop.

This has been done by the girl who says she doesn’t like art (as it’s taught in school) anymore.

This has been done by someone who has an instinctive approach to form.

tree (1)

Purple Heart

Gracious living: it’s not something I major on, I admit… unless a jug of warmed milk for the coffee this morning counts.

Ungracious living is more my thing, so it was nice to find this on the youngest daughter’s wall this morning. Even better that I could walk on her small patch of bedroom floor without kicking my way through a pile of crap.

It seems that even amongst such domestic disarray a little girl has some room in her heart for romantic and chaotic swirling in purple. Thank goodness for that, although I can claim no credit.


What can it all mean?

Don’t ask me, it’s Sunday.

by Elodie

by Elodie

I was there when…

You, the dear reader, may expect this kind of blog post title to lead into a fervid description of some event of relative or even national importance.

Let me warn you now, it’s not going to. Not today anyway.

Rather, here is the place I choose to record that I was there when…

My youngest daughter came home and told me she had had X education at school (with a heartfelt shudder and a grimace)

My oldest daughter came home from school with a bag full of vegetable soup (which she drained and ate)

I was there when… and it felt like we could probably sink no lower as a family unit, for just a second, before we laughed quite immoderately, truth be told.

How can you not when the book your daughter is receiving her X education from is entitled ‘My Mother Laid An Egg’ and next week’s will be ‘Hair in Unusual Places’ How can you not curl up with laughter?

For the record I should like the world to know that the X-educated daughter was not entirely ignorant of the facts around procreation (and who ever thought the Facts of Life covered either sex or life must have been either a) a nun b) insane) but that she is of squeamish disposition and felt that she would rather have been appraised of the situation in Year 6. She is in Year 5.

She also reported that the boys showed a great deal more interest in the subject than the girls (apart from one who ran away) and that the girls had worked out that they would have ‘a lot more to do’ growing up than boys. The girls gave X education a thumbs down; the boys a thumbs up. Such is the way of the world?

For my own record, I would like to add that ‘Hair in Unusual Places’ is a terrible title for what I imagine will be a book all about hair in all the usual places, were it not for society’s obsession with women, and now men, going about their daily business like skinned rabbits.

My other daughter ate her vegetables, formerly known as soup. She has already done all this X education stuff at school and it is of no interest to her currently because her school is full of Munchkins and she is an Amazonian warrior. Good. Now I’m off to grow my moustache.

I’m not joking.

(There’s not really a photo for this post – is there?)

A Centenary

This week, so far, has taken the form of some kind of major test. I won’t bore with the details.

However, this day can’t be allowed to slip by without noting that my grandmother would have been one hundred years old today. Sadly, she didn’t quite make the milestone, and we lost her in the summer of 2010.

She was a great influence on me and I miss her greatly. Things happen with the children, or me, and I think, ah Granny would have enjoyed hearing about that. And that was really the thing with her, she was fully engaged with her family for her whole life. It’s a rare thing – not to be engaged with your family hopefully – but to be so on the ball with everyone’s minutiae and daily dealings; the humdrum and the spectacular, the triumphs and the disasters.

I don’t feel sad so much when I think of her these days, which is fairly often. I just smile and am glad we knew he for so long.

My sister has a super photo of her, taken when her last great-granddaughter was a baby. I have some of her with my own children too. I might dig them out tomorrow. In the meantime I remember her with such happiness and gratitude. We read this at her funeral, and it was what she might have said herself.

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much.
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it’s pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.

And then, there was this, which was kind of perfect.

Dead Pigeon

It survived the night and then died between 8.00 and 8,30 a.m.

Poor pidge.  Feeling gutted.  Probably disproportionately so for a bird that I never knew existed as an individual prior to yesterday afternoon.  Still, we can’t help how we feel about things can we?  They are the one thing that will keep coming, and for free.

The kids had a name dispute as well.  One favoured Miss Sippy, the other Sheila.

RIP Miss Sheila Sippy.  Now I’ve got to break the news to the children.  I think I am going to cry.  My sunglasses are already on in preparation.  If there’s one thing I am already well-versed in, it is dying quietly inside.

It must be the heat…

…what has gone to my head.

Life rushes by and everyone looks really hot. Sometimes I am rushing too, but my head always feels fairly calm. This is becoming more and more the norm for me. The opposite used to be true. My head was always rushing; maybe I looked calmer. I think I prefer it this way round. It really makes a difference to just do one thing time at a time. Today I ate my sandwich sitting on a bench outside. I just ate my sandwich. I didn’t think about anything, or talk, or text, or read – I just ate my sandwich. As a result, I noticed all kinds of things that I hadn’t noticed before. They weren’t big things. They weren’t marvellous and outstanding things, they were just little, but when you are just eating your sandwich and making space for things to come in, the little things can seem pretty damn marvellous.

It wasn’t even that special a sandwich, but that’s not the point… Multitasking is the enemy of peace of mind and a contemplative lifestyle. It’s also bad for your health. Don’t fall for it!

Here’s another end of term picture by Cassia. I think it’s hot where these women are too, but they look pretty cool to me.

africa dancing

81% full (don’t know how much space a giraffe takes…)

The blog is nearly full. I’ve been at it for years now so it’s no surprise. I suppose I can buy more space to continue to host my internet meanderings; the project I am working on now needs a platform (apparently) so it would seem silly to start from scratch all over again someplace else.

I’ve had over 120,000 views on here now – plenty of which are spam sadly – but a fair few really aren’t. Some posts have provoked genuine interest, others less so. That’s ok, if you communicate constantly and compulsively, not all of it can be elevated above the workaday and mundane. I used to do a lot of ranting on here. This current government have knocked it out of me… nearly. I seem to work with people who suffer so at their hands day in and day out, ranting about it after hours wouldn’t really help them.

All of this is a bit of a preamble. The blog isn’t closing. It can’t! It’s out there on the interweb for posterity, or worse. But I am aware that my big writing project is taking more and more of my time and that the blog is not only nearly full, but it feels a little neglected too.

So, I am going to try some different stuff on here over the summer. It’s going to be like having a busman’s holiday. If it doesn’t make sense at times (well less than it already does) please forgive. I’ve got some fiction extracts and some old travelogue bits I’d like to get out of notebooks and digitised, and maybe some poetry too, so if you tune in and find yourself in Delhi in the last millennium, that’ll be why. There’ll be different voices because of the form and the timespan, but it’s all my own work and its something I’d like to do before I reach the dreaded full up point: 100%.

Come along for the ride? Suddenly, with the overworked bus metaphor, my recent Cliff Richard nightmare is making perfect sense. Let’s have a different song altogether to wipe that horrid thought from our minds.

Here’s my real summer anthem.




They don’t look the same do they?

Anyway, today marks the occasion wherein my eldest daughter gets to celebrate the fact that in her first year I managed not to drop her on her head and in the second, I noticed she’d shoved a bead up her nose before too much harm was done; in the third I found her a playgroup from which her only memory is playing with a toy called a ‘Troll’… By her fourth year, I was getting the hang of it and enrolled her in school; in the fifth I enrolled her in another. In her sixth year we had mastered the art of doing her hair in a pineapple do and in her seventh I had managed to uncover her hidden talent for the waltz. In her eighth year I was still remembering to feed her, but by her ninth she could feed herself by making pancakes; her tenth year marked the occasion of her common sense often overtaking my own, and today, well, today she is celebrating by taking her SATS.

Funny how things go.


One she made earlier

One she made earlier

Chuntering on at Chartwell & Channelling the Inner Churchillian

Alliteration eh? Seems that too much of a poetic device becomes nothing but a cheap tongue twister.

Anyway, we went to Winston Churchill’s home at Chartwell today and we didn’t fight anyone, anywhere – although it seemed for a moment there that the serried ranks of grey-haired volunteers at the front door might like to if we didn’t rein back the kids. The goons were over-reacting though because the children’s behaviour was impeccable. Come to think of it – they were the only children I saw in the house today – unless you count a solitary teenage boy and the ones in utero. As my sister observed, half the country’s expectant mothers had visited the National Trust at Chartwell today.

Seeing my sister, who is I believe my closest genetic match in the world, is always something I enjoy. I used to enjoy it rather too much and get a headache from excitement before we had even met up when we were younger. It was so exciting, back then. Both of us working in London, everything new. Now we are both the mother of two girls and probably too old for full on excitation, but I am still aware, despite my trying to hold back (a bit), I still don’t half chunter on. The poor thing probably wishes I would occasionally shut up…

So here is something from the eldest niece. A rather marvellous upgrade on the Churchill quote that usually runs something like this:

A cat looks down on you, a dog looks up to you, but a pig will treat you as an equal

Today’s updated version, and better for it I would say – far less predictable – goes thus:

A cat looks down on you, a dog looks up to you, but a pig will treat you as a hamster

Towards the studio

Towards the studio