Friday, July 31, 2009

the weekend before last we went to the Southwalk village fete in Herne Hill –much bigger than the village fetes I remember where the biggest attraction was trying to throw a wooden hoop around a 2nd hand china figurine…. Sally and Colin and the four boys came up for the event and I joked to Sally that the park was the ideal middle ground if the Peckham gangs and the Brixton gangs wanted to have a fight.

After we left, apparently that’s exactly what happened… there are lots of blurry phone-cam pictures on youtube of the police evacuating the park. However, I’m not sure the coverage of the event was accurate. The reports said the police commandeered a 37 bus to block the road, but I can’t believe that.

They’d have had to find one first.

Lisa got up last Tuesday morning and suddenly found she felt so weak she could hardly stand up. She did the sensible thing, of course and went to work anyway! The doctor diagnosed anaemia (apparently very common for pregnant women) due to a lack of iron.

I think we generally have a pretty good diet – considering I don’t eat meat so Lisa tends to eat it rarely (although, following government guidelines it has to be cooked through, so rarely but well done) – but I cooked her a steak for tea, and we’ve been having spinach with everything all week. My first time cooking steak, but it seemed to work!

Anyway, she’s much better now – and I have told her not to go to work if she’s ill. Of course, she’ll go anyway….

Lucinda’s new baby

Sam’s gone off to see Lucinda in Berne this week – leaving us to keep her chickens away from her cats – and it seems she went just in time. Lucinda gave birth last night (2 weeks early) to a baby girl. Giancarlo had just left for a wedding in Italy and ended up missing both the wedding and the birth…

We, on the other hand have a constant supply of eggs from what George calls the “chick chicks”

We went to a restaurant with George at the weekend and ordered him the kids meal. When it arrived, it was chicken. “chick chick” he happily said before tucking in.

I don’t think he’s going to be a vegetarian.

George is counting everything he sees now. Although nine appears to be his favourite number and can appear anywhere in a sequence. Often several times. He’s also developing sarcasm.

This week when Lisa was at work, he called me Mummy. When I pointed out that I was in fact Daddy, he simply repeated “Mummy” and then laughed. He then spent the rest of the day calling me Mummy.

I’ve lost weight through running. Last time I hopped on some scales (while waiting for Lisa being scanned at the hospital I was 90kg – which is about 14 stone in real money…. And I’m probably a bit less than that now – a quick check on google tells me that makes my body mass index 25.4 -which is still just overweight, but fine really… I’m not sure I trust the BMI thing completely – it seems a bit arbitrary to be a judge of anything to me.

Anyway, running isn’t about weight anymore for me – I mean, OK – it’s good to be able to have puddings and tempura without worrying about it, but now it’s got more to do with redundancy:

A lot of the time, it’s really easy to end up living your life at fill speed. You feel as though you’re running flat out all the time – coping with things as they come up, but not having the extra capacity to cope with anything unexpected – either in terms of time, money or energy. It’s as though there’s a view at the moment that if you’re not working absolutely at the edges of your capacity all the time, there’s something wrong.

But, as the financial crash proved, that doesn’t work very well because you’re never prepared for things to change. I want to know that if I decide to step on the accelerator (or the break) in any area of my life that something will actually happen. Just as you need to have something in reserve in your savings account in case you get an unexpected bill, it’s worth having something in reserve in terms of energy for if your life suddenly gets more tiring…

As I’m expecting it to sometime in the middle of October.

I need to have some redundancy. When the new baby is making me so tired I don’t know who I am, I want to know that I’m just a little bit fitter. Plus, of course, I’ll know if I’m really tired I can make my life a bit easier by not going running.

All of which sounds a bit like saying it’s a good idea to hit yourself repeatedly over the head with a plank of wood because it’s nice when you stop.

Anyway, the result of running is that I’ve lost weight and I know that even though I don’t weigh myself very often because when Lisa and I went out to dinner on Wednesday, I realised that I’ve lost my wedding ring. It’s fallen off and I’ve no idea where.

Aside from the short trip to the restaurant (about 200 yards) I hadn’t left the house all day, so I’m fairly sure it’s somewhere in the house… but I’ve looked everywhere I can think of to no avail…

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Isle of Wight is a great place to take small children. It was a great holiday – not exactly relaxing, but you learn not to expect that with a young child – but the entire island seems to be perfectly set up.

We stayed in a little chalet – not much in the way of amenities, but that didn’t matter. We were staying in every night and making our own food, so it was fine. But the island itself has zoos, beaches, museums, and all kinds of child friendly entertainment. We even went to a farm to feed the lambs…

Nothing is more than a 20 minute drive away (go any further and things start to get wet), and although it’s not the world’s greatest shopping hub (our accommodation had a sign outside announcing the way to Tescos, but Tescos turned out to be on the other side of the island), it’s full of really good restaurants. We took full advantage going to nice places for lunch (even the posh restaurants were able to provide high-chairs) and eating great seafood all week. Even most of the pubs served lobster (at least most of the pubs we went in)!

So the whole holiday was great for both George and us..

We returned to find Sam’s new chickens have started laying already. Two fresh eggs were waiting for us on the dining room table… George ate them both, of course.

Andrew’s flat purchase looks to be going through – he and Dad feel as though they’re running into problems and hold-ups all the way along, but actually that’s how all property purchases feel. In reality, this one’s progressing quite quickly and smoothly.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Leather straightjackets and chickens

Phil’s 40th birthday on Saturday, which meant a meal in Hertford. I haven’t been back to my old home town in years… and it’s a bit of an odd feeling. I know the place, and yet I don’t. it’s not home to me, but whenever I go, I get the feeling I should do something, go somewhere to remind me of something, but I never quite know what.

Still, it was a good night. George was with us until his bed time, and we got a babysitter in to the hotel to look after him for the evening. I managed to speak to John for the first time in ages, but he’s still in the same position – basically waiting for his job to end and training the Indian call centre staff who will be replacing him.

I ended up taking most of this week off work. Monday for a hospital appointment to see about some mouth ulcers I had a couple of months ago – of course, this was the earliest appointment I could get, and of course they’re gone now. But they took some blood anyway and seemed awfully well informed about what might be wrong without actually committing themselves. Anyway, I was told it was probably something related to stress… can’t imagine why that would be...

Tuesday was my day with George anyway, but Wednesday I was off as well because Lisa had managed to get tickets to see Fedora and Andy Murry play matches at the Wimbledon quarter finals. It was the hottest day of the year, so far, and the 2nd hottest day at wimbledon ever (the hottest was the summer of 1976), but Lisa somehow managed not to faint or give birth, which surprised me.

I went for a run on Wednesday evening and throughout, I was constantly surprised by runners bursting out of the undergrowth, and sprinting off in odd directions carrying maps. Every so often one would grab hold of a randomly placed marker sticking out of the ground and then run off in a different direction. There must have been some kind of run/orienteering race going on. I wouldn’t usually describe it as an extreme sport, but in this heat, getting out of bed was an extreme sport.

Thursday I also took off work. This time it was because I’m supposed to be looking after my friend Mary’s flat for her while she’s living in China. I say supposed to be because for the last months the tenant has been un-contactable and when we went round to do an inspection we discovered that the place was kitted out as a gay S&M dungeon complete with whips, chains, Nazi memorabilia and unfeasibly large sex toys.

It appeared that the flat was being used as a professional premises. We also discovered that the tenant had neglected to pay any of his bills and was being pursued through the courts by every utility company imaginable.

All in all, a bit of a mess – and a good reason for not getting me to manage your property for you.

Anyway, eviction notices were issued and the deadline passed on Monday. I got no response from the tenant, so I was surprised and delighted to discover that he’d actually moved out this week leaving nothing but a load of unopened mail and a leather straightjacket. So Thursday was spent getting the place cleaned, the locks changed and the flat valued by agents who will be able to take over managing it from me.

…and the chickens? Sam had three chickens delivered this week. Not frozen ones – three live chickens to live in her back garden in an “eglu” – a chicken run designed to look as trendy as an ipod – and provide her with eggs. George was a bit nervous at first, but now loves the chickens. We’re awaiting our first egg with anticipation.

Meanwhile, George is definitely talking now. Cheers! Appears to have been his first word (predictably enough), but he’s moved on to keys, Mummy, yes and no.

He seems to understand a lot more than he says though – every time you ask him a question, he responds instantly and definitively with a “yes” or a “no” – and strangely, he seems to follow through his answers with actions even when you think he can’t possibly know what you’re talking about.

He’s also taken to offering the new baby in Lisa’s tummy some of his food or milk. Quite how much he understands about what’s going on in there, I’m not sure.

Anyway, next week we’re off on holiday