Wednesday, April 29, 2009

well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I updated this – not because of one massive reasons, but more because of lots of little ones…

Easter weekend George, Lisa and I spent together – we pottered about and did very little apart from relaxing. We didn’t see anyone, or go out or do anything particular. We just relaxed together – which was great.

Ok, we did a couple of things – we replaced one of our goldfish – Kieth who died last week. Our new goldfish is called Martin – for no good reason. We were asked to do a survey at the pet shop in which we were asked how long we’d had our fish. They seemed surprised they’d all lived as long as 2 and a half years…However another fish, (Kathy Rindhoops) bit the dust less than a week later, and the new replacement (Dave Thermos) is now swimming happily in its place.

Is there a mystery Goldfish killer on the loose?

We also managed to go clothes shopping in Croydon – where I speed-shopped (you have to with a baby) grabbing random garments and rushing them to the checkout before either George or I lost the will to shop. George is at that stage where he’s suddenly grown out of all his clothes and for the first time, we’re into an age range where we haven’t got a dustbin bag full of handmedowns for him to move into.

In addition (and I realise this is now sounding pretty full for a “free” weekend) we made a trip to Hampton court. It’s an excellent day out, and they’ve really brought it to life this year with a selection of actors wandering around in costume planning one of Henry VIII’s weddings, and trying to work out whether to invade France (similar conversations have gone on daily in the British establishment since they rather embarrassingly invaded us in 1066).

George loved it – he’s at the stage now where we just set him down and follow him around rather than trying to tell him where to go. This means we generally miss most of what’s going on, but it gives him a chance to explore….

The next weekend, Mum and Jan came up to stay – and seemed to have a good time pottering round London trying to track down ancestors (Mum’s latest project) and going to see theatre plays featuring puppet horses….

We went on the London Eye – George taking far more notice of it than he did last time (last time he was just a couple of months old). And we had lunch in Covent Garden.

After they’d left on Sunday, we went round to Mons and Abi’s (via the Peckham dog show – in which two enterprising youngsters entered a remote controlled k9 in one round). Mons and Abi have just bought the last part of their flat, so were celebrating with roast potatoes and prosseco.

Having run out of prosseco early on, we decided to make our own using cheap white wine and a soda-stream…. Mons decided the result couldn’t be called champagne because it came from Peckham, so Pec-va it is….

Lisa went to Krakow in Poland this week with Sam. Sam had decided she wanted to see the concentration camp at Auschwitz. I’ve been already, but I can’t say much about it. There isn’t much to say. It’s worth seeing. But you won’t want to go back.

Obviously it leaves you wondering how it could have happened and how we can safeguard against it in the future – and it’s tempting to talk about a charismatic madman taking over a country– to look at extremist groups and try to work out what makes some of them able to seize power. But I think that’s too easy. It’s like trying to create a contraceptive by trying to work out what made the sperm that fertilised the egg so special and how we can neutralise it.

The truth is that there are enough potential Hitlers in every town – and that all they’re waiting for is the right mixture of pride and desperation in the public – just waiting for the views of the Daily Mail and the Sun to become the centre ground. And the only thing that stops that happening is ordinary people keeping their eyes open for the erosion of civil liberties.

I don’t think we’re ever more than 10 years from Auschwitz re-opening. In 1929 we had the great depression and global financial crisis. By 1939 we had a world war.

As a side note - It’s strange how the London Dungeons – where similar atrocities were committed (not on such a scale, but nonetheless…) and that’s done up as some kind of gruesome theme park. Why? What makes torture fun in the London Dungeons? Just the time that’s passed since it happened? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

….anyway, Lisa’s trip left me on my own with George for the week – which was nice. We had days out in the park, and generally played. On Tuesday, I looked after Nathan as well (he’s acquired a broken arm in a dog-related biking accident and he’s great with George). And the weather’s been great, so we’ve had a nice week.

I even managed to file (or, at least pile) some of the paperwork that’s been forming in untidy heaps all over the living room over the past few months… essential recipts and warning letters are now separated from take away fliers and 3 month old copies of the Guardian Guide…

I’ve even made a special pile for all the greetings cards Lisa has bought. Lisa has a strange and uniquely female ability to buy greetings cards just because she likes them. Hence we’ve now got about 6 blank get well soon cards. I don’t know whether they had an intended target who got weller sooner than expected (or didn’t) but certainly, the next time someone gets sick, we’ll be well prepared on the sympathy front thanks to our teamwork (her work in buying the cards, and my work in retrieving them from the pages of Marie Claire so we stand a chance of actually finding them when we need them).

It’s good to have Lisa back now though. Although we haven’t really caught up – we’ve had Lisa’s Mum staying last night, and Anne staying over this weekend (she’s attending some kind of brownie conference – as a leader, not as a brownie).

George is learning all the time now. He’s suddenly decided he hates swimming though. He’s gone from loving every minute of it to screaming all the way through it in a matter of a couple of weeks. I’m not sure what the problem is. He also can’t bear having a bath – to the point that we have to push him into it. He’s gone from loving it to hating it in a week… perhaps he’s got hydrophobia…

It’s tempting to assume that something must have triggered it, but it’s possible it’s not something external, but something internal – in other words, he’s just simply thought about it and decided he doesn’t like being pushed underwater, and now he’s equipped to remember when it happens, he’s not best pleased with the whole experience.

Instead of just living for the moment and enjoying it as 90% fun, he’s weighing up the experience and deciding there are bits of it he can do without, and that’s spoiling his enjoyment of the fun bits – I guess we all do that to some extent.

His transition from cot to bed has worked really well – except that he’s worked out how to get out of it. I’ve gone in a couple of mornings and found him curled up on the floor with his bottle of water beside him – so he must have climbed out of the top of the bed, made it over to the chair where the water is left on the arm, taken it back to the bed, drunk it, found a pillow and gone to sleep on it… all without waking us up in the next room.

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