George gets a date and finds his thumb
An early and unexpected Chrismas present arrived today in the form of a phone call from the hospital. We now have a date for George's operation. He's going in on the 7th, having the operation on the 8th, he'll be in intensive care for two days and he's expected to spend the next 10-14 days in hospital. He'll be on Camel ward in the Evelyna Children's hospital again.
I for one really thought the operation would be delayed for a couple of months, but it seems that the consultant who saw us decided we were more of a priority than he was letting on.
Later on, George finally managed to get his thumb into his mouth. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it means he can now calm himself down when he’s feeling stressed and doesn’t need to scream all the time. The fact that we haven’t got a dummy for him means he’s a little more demanding, so being able to comfort himself is great.
East Dulwich's gentrification comes into its own at this time of year. With the best butchers, bakers, fishmongers, dellis and cheese shops in the country all in one street (at least according to the Guardian whose food editing guide editor must live somewhere round here I think). There's also an old-tyme sweet shop. Entering it is a little like stepping into a fairytale style gingerbread cottage (without the threat of being eaten by a mad witch). The shop stocks all the sweets you remember from childhood and behind the counter huge bottles are stacked containing every type of pick and mix sweets. )
we picked up a couple of pieces of last minute cheese and a salmon called George (because it weighs the same amount as he does!
The Davies Car pool
Cars in the Davies family are a very fluid property. They're nominally owned by different people in different places, but in practice, whoever's closest uses whatever car is outside their home for however long they need it. Hence, "our" car came from Lisa's parents after they'd leant it to Sally in Manchester. Sam's car broke down, so she took it to Worthing, and now has ours on loan. We're using Lisa's parent's car on and off while Sam has leant "ours" to Mons and Abi for their trip to Scotland over Chrismas. Of course, Mons already happens to be listed on the car's insurance because Lisa's parents apparently always assumed that mons and Abi would be using it to help ferry things around for Sam... Mons knew nothing of this and seemed strangely surprised that he was a named driver on a car he'd never even seen before.
Mons and Abi are off to Samye Ling - a Tibetan Buddist centre in Scotland.
The couple got married there and Lisa attended a few months before she and I started seeing each other. Lisa was going through a tough time. Her relationship wasn't going well, neither was her job, and she wasn't enjoying where she was living.
Before the wedding, Lisa was introduced to meditation. She always says that it was thoroughly useless for her. That she didn't get anything out of the meditation. That she couldn't clear her mind and that she spent the whole time thinking about shopping lists.
A few hours later, she went for a walk with her sister Lucinda. During that walk, she decided to dump her boyfriend, change her job and move house. Her whole life changed, and she ended up seeing me.
Lisa completely refuses to put this down to her session of meditation and maintains that what she really needed was a good walk.
Either way, from my point of view, even though I've never been to Samye Ling, I've heard Mons and Abi's reports of the healing properties of the place, and my life has been changed because of it. The Samye Ling centre is mythical in my mind...
Good things spread out like ripples and have an effect way beyond anything intended directly - and even if nobody knows the connections, they are there in the background propping up our lives.
Recipe: Onion chilli relish
This is something I make every Christmas. it's a spicy pickle which acts as a great accompanyment to cheese or fish. it gets stronger the longer you leave it, so it's best to make it a few weeks early (although I always end up doing it the day before Christmas Eve) anyway, it lasts for ages in the fridge if you bottle it properly.
1lb red onions
1 cup muscovado or demerara sugar
a couple of sticks of cinnamon
about 10 cloves
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 chopped chilli (with seeds)
a pinch of chilli seeds
fry the garlic, chillis and onion in a large saucepan. when they're cooked, add the spices, sugar and chilli seeds, and add enough vinegar to give the pickle a sharp edge. cook to combine the flavours, and then bottle.
Leave for as long as you can before eating.
Jon Climpson's Chrismas meet up
A friend - Jon Climpson - one of the past Residents of 4 Pendrell Rd - who's been living in Japan for 4 years returned this Chrismas and we went to the pub to meet him along with several other ex residents (Pauline, Phil, Sam and Debs) as well as many others I met through them.
He was looking slightly shell shocked which could have been due to the company, the jet lag, or the fact that he generally does look slightly shell shocked. but it was good to see him again.
I actually had jon's email address on a yellow sticky attached to my computer monitor for about a year and a half and never emailled him. Does the perminent nature of your Internet footprint mean you never need to loose contact with anyone? or is the reverse true - that because you can instantly get in touch with anyone anywhere, you constantly put it off until so much time has passed that you feel it's more and more difficult to start a conversation as you drift further and further from the space you were in when you last spoke and your life has changed so much you wouldn't know where to start in telling them your news?
I suppose, in some ways this blog is an attempt to answer that question - if I can keep updating this, then at least everything is out there - so that even when I don't talk to someone for an unconcionable length of time, it's still possible to talk without having to "catch up" (A process which always involves you leaving out the important points because - for example - the fact that you've got married and had chilldren since you last met is so blindingly obvious to you and so central to your life that you don't think to mention it).
Again, the event turned into a kid-fest with lots of children running around. Billy was also there - with yet another new identity. This time he's combining a check suit with a moustache to turn himself into something between a world war II spiv and a butlins children's entertainer.
Apparently, he's been asked to make a full scale Dalek drinks cabinet by an editor for playboy videos - at least that's what billy says.
Billy says a lot of things...
The Christmas roast
As we're going out for Christmas Dinner, we decided we'd need to have a Roast with brussels, cranberry and bread sauce and roast parsnips at least one day - so we had it last night at Sams. Lisa's mum came late because working for Peter (her brother) apparently means that he needs her to spend the day shopping for him (he's perfectly able to do it himself). She wasn't happy when she arrived, and quite rightly - he takes advantage of the fact that she's helping him out at his work and seems to use her to run errands he could easily do himself. This seems to be always at the expense of her spending time with her family and it appears to be in order to exert control rather than because he needs her help.
We'll see him on Boxing day... so we'll see if he tries to do the same again.