Monday, 27 September 2010

Glasgow Science Centre is boffin great









Things I learned from the Glasgow Science Centre on a Monday holiday.

My inner nerd loves to run free.
I'm 43 and I like science. There it's taken me quite a long time to admit it. I liked it at school, always pick a green question at Trivial Pursuit and enjoy sneaking a look at New Scientist when I'm at Super Sister's. (It's her missus' bog read of choice.) Now I'm loving that Boys One and Two have joined the march of the boffins.

3D movies at the Imax make me feel sick.
The effects of Alien Adventure were stunning. You were actually in the film, so much so that I felt really sick and had to shut my eyes. Still the soundtrack was good too. Oh, and the Boys enjoyed that I felt sick and they didn't.

James Dewar was clever, but not that clever.
The inventor of the Thermos flask (and fellow former pupil of Dollar Academy) obviously knew a thing or two about what does and doesn't pass across a vacuum. However, he wasn't smart enough to patent his invention. This little gem was part of the Wallace and Gromit Intellectual Property Office exhibition.

Pre-historic Scots were bloody minded about their diet too. Archaeologists looking at the lifestyles of Crannog dwellers on Loch Tay found that in spite of living above the water they didn't eat fish. Experts suspect there may be cultural reasons for this...

I'm not very good at facial recognition and even worse when the faces are modified by computer.
At the Centre, researchers from Stirling University were testing how well people recognise faces with different racial characteristics. The hypothesis being that Caucasians 'see' Caucasian faces better than those of other races. To this end they take other races' faces and 'enhance' them to be more Caucasian. Upshot, I could recognise hardly any of the modified faces at all. The researcher said quite a few women had the same result, but few men. interesting.

My big Boys are great company.
Even when they are laughing about me going green in the cinema. It was a fantastic day out, thanks chaps.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Dear driver, this undertaking must stop


I passed my driving test more than half my life ago. 1988 if you must know. Second attempt, as it happens. All the best drivers pass second time, so they say. I could never commit the stopping distances to memory and, in any case, they were entirely meaningless as I can't judge distances from numbers.

No it's true -a total deficiency. Mrs TomTom has underlined my failing. She says: “In 100 meters, turn left. In 200 meters, go left on the roundabout.”
It means nothing to me. Not a clue. I can have a good guess at weights and even small distances “you’re having a laugh, that is never eight inches”.

So it wouldn’t do me any good learning how long it would take to crash at 30mph. Those sorts of things I think I must have learned by driving quite a lot over the years.

I do remember most of the other rules though. Like on a motorway, you don’t stop, you try to avoid eating in a service station and - you stick to the inside lane, only overtaking if necessary, then returning.

Now I don’t think many of the rules have changed, except that weird country dance maneuver you used to have to do a turning right at a crossroads if someone was coming towards you turning to their right.

It was the law that overtaking was when you went round to the right of a car in front of you that was going more slowly. On a motorway or dual carriage way this is easier as the oncoming traffic isn't generally an issue.

But lately I've noticed a new set of maneuvers coming into play.

Firstly there’s the ‘I’ll just stay in the outside lane because my car is nice and shiny and it’s less effort than indicating and looking and going back over there to the left. Am I in your way, oh sorry. Oer, don't get all flashy and cross and tailgaty on me. That’s it, I was going to go, but I’m not now’ outside lane hogger.

Admittedly driving around Glasgow’s M8 it’s perilous to saunter along in the inside line oblivious because suddenly you can find yourself on a non-stop route to Govan, Easterhouse or somewhere else you aren't likely to want to go.

However the outside lane hogger seems to have given rise to another driving outrage. The undertake.

These are motorists whose lives are so important they can’t possibly wait for the outside lane hogger to get the message. They just drive round them on the left.

They obviously have to be somewhere so urgently that they don’t care that drivers are working on the reasonable assumption that inside lane vehicles will be going more slowly than outside lane ones.

I know they do it in America – you see it on the movies. But America is different, they hang people there. They have sidewalks, trunks and diapers. They charge people who are sick and a lot of them think Sarah Palin is a good idea.

So I’d like you to dig out your old Highway Code book and remind yourself of the rules. Undertaking is against them, it’s selfish and it really annoys me. Please stop.

Pic: Boy One gets his first set of wheels

Saturday, 25 September 2010

When should children drink alcohol?


Now before you get all hot under the collar and suggest I'm advocating child abuse, would you like a drink?

A refreshing G&T or perhaps a glass of something cold and white? You deserve one, it's been a tough day.

There's something I've been struggling with. Here in Scotland, booze is a problem. It costs the country heaps in sick days, mess, violence, illness and general think-tank-led head scratching. And that's before you count up the personal misery caused by alcoholism and violence.

It seems it's not possible to have any fun in this country without having a bevvy, a bucket-full or a swallae. It's the backbone of the famous Scottish hospitality - a wee dram, one for the road. Apparently there is nothing more mortifying than not having enough drink in and no better way to offend a Scotsman than refuse his tot.

Before we go any further, I'm aware this is starting to sound like a big ol' rant from top of Moral Highground Mountain. It's not really, I've supped and sipped as much as the next woman. It's just now I hate the hangovers with such a passion it tempers what goes before, a lesson it only took some 30 years to learn.

Top up? There's a lovely bottle of red over there.

Now. Some of my earliest memories are steeped in alcohol. Dad's nightly sherry. My maternal grandfather dispensing Scotch and bonhomie. My paternal grandfather sharing a blend of God knows what from his leather gourd at the top of a hill. There was the bit on the wall at my grandparent's house where his party order for spirits was scribbled down. When it said "gin - 2" it meant cases not bottles.

We kids were allowed alcohol from an earlyish age - watered wine or sherry, shandy or slurps from Grandpa's bottle. I can't remember exactly how old I was, but at home it wasn't forbidden. I imagine I tried it out of curiosity. To see what the fuss was all about.

But now my children are approaching the age I had my first snifter and I'm not sure what to do. On the one hand drink is Very Bad for Young People. According to reports they are getting plastered all over the place, getting pregnant, attacked, addicted. And on the other, I've never been one to tell people what not to do (really, PoN) and I do like a glass of something stiff from time to time myself.

The popular notion is that the French - who seem, equally anecdotally, to be able to drink in a civilised manner - let their kids wash their escargot down with vin from the earliest age. Do they?

Did you know that in the UK it is legal to give your children alcohol in a supervised manner from the age of five. Allowing them to become intoxicated isn't though.

So my fear is that my sweet juice-slurping children will turn into alcopop-fuelled louts as soon as they grow enough chin fluff to be worth shaving. Can I steer them towards something more like moderation or are they just doomed already?

Shall I give my big Boys a drink - beer, wine, sherry? When, how much? Shall I just have them watch the Panther of News and I on a Chablis rampage so they can see how it's done?

Anyhow, best rush or we'll miss last orders. Cheers.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A sucker for glitter and other domestic tales



Things I've learned from my children

Hoovering Boy Three's head does not remove glitter.
A visiting child inexplicably managed to pour glitter over Boy Three and much of the kitchen. Glitter is tenacious stuff.

An interview with the headteacher is still a scary experience. Boy Two and a Little Friend D have been in a bit of bother. Apparently they are unruly on the unsupervised school bus and once, in particular, it got far out of hand with another child's tie getting damaged. My lectures seemed to fall short of the mark, but ten minutes with the formidable Mrs V seems to have hit the spot. Let's hope so anyway.

Success is relative.
Boy One took part in the Gryffe High School fun run today. A couple of feeder primaries' oldest kids were invited to join in. Not a natural athlete, Boy One gave it a game go and was chuffed to come in not last, and not even second, third or fourth last. For him it was a huge achievement when you think that only a couple of years ago he couldn't cope with the upheaval of sports day.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Sperm donor 'scam': that's no vulnerable victim, that's my sister


Guest post: Super Sister is furious - she's irate at the way the case of the men behind Fertility 1st has been portrayed and I agree with her. I don't see any victims in my family, except, perhaps, my nephew Baby G who can't now get a genetic sibling.
Over to you Super Sister:


(Pic: Beautiful Baby G enjoying one of Granny's special biscuits)

As I write this, two men face prison sentences for “exploiting women” by illegally making sperm available over the internet.

So I’m an exploited and vulnerable woman am I? Well I don’t really feel it. At the moment I feel like an angry, frustrated, infuriated and cheated woman, but not an exploited one! Fertility 1st was not a scam run by conmen. I would like to try to set the record straight.

Fertility 1st was, apparently, dreamt up over a pint in the pub - like many good business venture to fill a niche in the market. For lots of women, who for whatever reason may not have access to a ready supply of sperm and or would like to have their child conceived without knowing the identity of their donor, this company offered them a real alternative to costly and impersonal regulated fertility clinics

Ricky and Nigel enabled women like me and my wife to select a donor from looking at basic details, all health checks were carried out and suitable donation times were arranged. OK there was a certain amount of trust involved, but then surely there is with any “live” sperm donations. Yes, there were costs involved, but they were a fraction of going to regulated clinics and we could arrange donations at a convenient time in our own home, giving a much more relaxed approach to conception with no medical intervention.

Customer service at Fertility 1st was excellent and I genuinely believe that Ricky and Nigel believe they were offering a service which benefited many women and gave some, like us, a chance to have a family. So they made a profit. Please don’t try to tell me The London Women's Clinic and the Glasgow Centre Reproductive Medicine and many others aren’t pleased to make a profit?

Baby G is cheeky, giggly, toddling testament to Fertility 1st and whilst we feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have our beautiful boy, we were coming round to the idea that a sibling for him would have been nice (half the nursing home bills, shared genes and at the end of the day siblings are great!) and up until last week there was a real chance of Baby G’s baby sibling having the same donor. Now that chance has been taken from us. I could have accepted that the donor could have pulled out of the programme at any time. I could have accepted that we may never have managed to conceive this time round... but I am so angry that we are not being given the chance because this nanny state we live in has decided that it needs to regulate every aspect of our lives.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Busy with the fizzy - brought to you by Sodastream










Things we've learned from having a go with a Sodastream

It's really difficult to photograph fizz.
The water is so fizzy tiny bubbles leap quite high out of the glass. We tried to take a picture.

CO2 is a compound of two oxygen atoms bonded with one carbon. I actually knew this but Boy One is still in his periodic table of elements phase and got quite excited about the whole thing.

Orangeade is our favourite.
We tried 'em all and orange flavoured, orange coloured orangeade was top of the fizzy pops.

Keeping hydrated just got easier. I love fizzy water, I guzzled litres and litres of it when I was pregnant. Then I stopped justifying buying it and got annoyed at storing the bottles. I'm happy now that I've got an endless supply of agua con gas.

Sugar-free cranberry and raspberry is pretty tasty too. That was our second favourite (and my first, what with being sugar-free and all).

Babies make really funny faces when you give them fizzy pop. But they think the farty noise the Sodastream makes is just hilarious.

Not plugging something in is refreshing too. I'm so used to plugging in new appliances that I actually unplugged the kettle in anticipation. D'oh. Sodastream doesn't plug in. Oh, and it's better for the environment than buying loads of bottles of fizzy pop, plus it doesn't up as much space. Oh and it's much cheaper too.

Zingy looks like passionfruit and mango tastes. Boy Two wasn't wild about passionfruit and mango flavour from the clear (no additives or artificial sweeteners) range. He chose "zingy" as the word to describe it. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Um. I don't know what it means, but the word looks like the drink tastes."

And a message from our sponsor:
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Saturday, 18 September 2010

More blushes from the archives of shame...


I'm sitting here blushing. Yes, actually. With a proper red face. I think I've got away with it because my colleagues will probably think it's a hot flush.

The reason is a post I wrote this week for Ready for Ten about the funny things parents do - me particularly. I talked about the time I inadvertently gave Boy One's class mates a sex education lesson and the time I completely got his teacher's identity wrong.

What I had in mind was a revelatory post about other embarrassing things. I had the fanciful notion that it would give you a laugh, maybe encourage a bit of bean-spilling and might be an all-round hoot.

Then I started to think about what I'd put in to the post.

First I thought about the time I'd ended up doing the walk of shame along a marina pontoon in the Caribbean whilst my limbs and face were painted a fetching shade of emerald green - it was the morning of March 18.

Then there was the time I vomited off the back of a yacht in the middle of a crowded marina surrounded by boats all full of crew getting ready for a yacht race. Seasickness wasn't to blame.

Or perhaps the - oh, this one's hard - time when I was sat on a lavatory, again on a boat, thinking I had the chance for an *ahem* quiet moment's contemplation. Only I hadn't banked on the rest of the crew suddenly wanting to do a sail change and the cludgee upon which I sat was also in what passed for a sail locker. Don't let anyone tell you yacht racing is glamorous - being caught mid-poo while six or seven crewmates change a sail around you isn't nice.

How about the evening in Las Palmas when I was the butt of a Spanish joke? The bar staff refused to understand that I wanted costillas until, in my frustration, I had pointed at my own... handily positioned under my bosom. Grrr.

Maybe the day I was so heavily pregnant I just couldn't get into my car and had to phone my non-pregnant and skinny friend to reverse my car out of its perfectly normal parking space?

So you see there was just too much to choose from, so I decided not to bother.

Is it me, or is it hot in here?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Kids and the news: it started with Maddie for us



How much news do you let your kids see or hear?

My big Boys' awareness of the current affairs world probably started when Maddie went missing. Her plight struck a chord with them. Now they read First News, watch Newsround and know what happened at the general election.

In this house they don't really get much choice though. With the Panther of News prowling the corridors of his newspaper and me generally tarting myself round several other news organisations, there are days it can be wall-to-wall current affairs chez nous.

There was a whoa-there moment a couple of years ago. At that point the Panther of News was still slinking about the wider news jungle, leaping on his prey, pinning them down and tearing them to shreds. Actually that's probably stretching a metaphor but he was out 'in the field'. He would come back and regale the kids with tales of his exploits. Like the time he got chased down the road, like the time he met a not-very-friendly dog, like the time he watched DVDs in the car while on stake-out.

Luckily for a range of reasons - including the children having a healthy view of news and how it's gathered - he was promoted soon after.

I reckon talking to kids about the news and helping them see that it's their world too is really important. And here's my post at Ready for Ten that says why.

Monday, 13 September 2010

An open letter to Mssrs Asda, Sainsbury, Morrison, Tesco et al



To whom it may concern,

Vast chunks of my income disappear into your coffers. Over the years it was enough money to have bought a sophisticated pied a terre, a snazzy (and clean) car, a bigger house and some dry-clean only clothes.

Not that I was reluctant. It’s necessary to buy food and various other household stuffs – hunger, hygiene and so forth dictate.

So the fact of the matter is I need you as much as you need me. I admit I haven’t been loyal; I flit from one of you to another. Morrison’s you’re handy, Asda you’re cheap, Tesco you’re bound to have what I’m looking for and Sainsbury’s you manage, for a while, to make me feel a bit special. You might have been a bit concerned with my flightiness, showered me with special offers, but you all knew I’d be back. Eventually.

My family has grown along with the amount of money I lavish on you. Children, bless ’em, keep eating, growing and making a mess.

So in order for our happy relationship to continue I have a few simple requests:
Make a trolley secure enough that Boy Three doesn’t escape while I shop. It can’t be that hard, he’s not very big. If I put him in a pram, I can’t push a trolley. If he’s in the backpack, I can only buy things at eye level, in your trolley seat, he escapes.

Don’t try to tell me that self scanning is in any way simpler or time saving. I don’t like a machine that shouts at me when what I’ve bought needs to be put into two bags.

You tell us you make our comparisons easy, but it’s not true, is it? Make the like-for-like info simple, comparable and legible oh, and keep it in the same place. It might seem easy enough to work out the difference between your eight varieties of seemingly identical pancakes, but you try it with three kids all making noises at you while one attempts to recreate the acts of Harry Houdini.

For Pete sake stop shifting things round. I’m not in your shop as a leisure activity – I’ve got better things to do. Do not hide the eggs, it just isn’t cute.

And I know we all quite like your non-food stuff especially the clothes. You’re on to a winner there, we aren’t going to try anything on are we? We’ll just sneak a little sparkly top under the French loaf, new shoes under the bacon. So I’d like to say, Tesco your bras are horrid – my breasts just aren’t that shape (and neither would I want them to be). Sainsbury’s your clothes are of surprisingly poor quality – two pairs of trousers fell apart at the seams and a necklace lost its colour at first wear. Asda your kids’ clothes look cute, but can we have ones for real children please – more dungarees, all in one waterproofs and hats that stay on. And Asda, please could you calm down with the seasonal tat – I bet you’ve got warehouses full of flimsy orange and black plastic things for Hallowe’en, well no one really wants them so stop it.

In some of your busier shops, how about traffic lights on the car park crossing? A play area beside the checkouts or at the very least those ride-on motorised jobs but, hey, without charging 50p a go? Snacks for kids as you go round – maybe you could give them for free? And what about games, puzzles or something to amuse bigger kids while you shop? And how about a drink of water? Or something that matches up a shopping list I emailed (or keyed in at home) and what I actually buy. I wouldn’t mind a machine that said ‘dozy cow, you forgot the ketchup’.

Why bother though? You know I’ll be back when the cupboard is bare. It would just be good if it wasn’t an ordeal every time.

Yours in exasperation,
Ellen

Pic: Boy Three helps put the shopping away

Sunday, 12 September 2010

There I was tied to some people in a bog...










Things I've learned from family Cub camp.

Always be prepared for life's unexpected twists. Just when you think things had got a little humdrum, you find yourself walking through a bog while roped to your sons and some other people you had only just met.

Top class stain removers are not anywhere near equal to Scottish bog mud. Fact. Machine is on at the moment, we've tried Vanish and have moved on to Shout. Hopes aren't high.

Lapwing Lodge used to be a Sanatorium called Peesweep and before that a drovers' inn.
It doesn't take too much of a stretch to imagine coughing and wheezing Coats Mill workers shivering in those rooms and walking through the grounds.

When playing whack-a-rat with windfall apples it pays to let the rat/apple travel as far as possible before clouting it with a hammer. I knew this would be a useful and informative experience.

I learned to tie a sheep shank and a weavers knot. That's it really, the more sophisticated American sheep shank eluded me, but I got smugo points for knowing a reef, bowline, round-turn-and-two-half-hitches and the other one I can't remember the name of.

In orienteering, starting at the right place helps.

Sulking will only be laughed at.
Boy Two is a champion sulker and things weren't going his way for a while. He wanted to build a fire, but it wasn't his turn. Oh dear. Still he got to set things ablaze in the end and - ta da - our team was second overall. Well done Boys One and Two, Little Pal A and his parents.

Life without the internet is survivable. For 44 hours anyway. Vodaphone's dongle didn't work in the wilds of Glennifer Braes, surprising when you look at the communications masts sprinkled along the skyline.

Pulling on a rope is remarkably entertaining.
Especially when you're on the winning tug o' war side. But, it seems, the right shoes really matter. Tugging (is that the right verb?) really hard means your feet slide to the end of your boots and your toes get squashed.

Efficiency isn't everything. I was to be found moving water from one barrel to another by means of a leaky bucket and not complaining at all.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

X Factor punched its way to new low


So did we all see X Factor on Saturday. The one where the girl lamped her pal cos her pal said "who are you anyway?" to Natalie Imbruglia.

Well Abbey and Lisa for it was they, were reunited in the offices of Heat magazine.

Apparently they had gone off in a strop so big they had even unfriended each other on Facebook.

However, together again, the pair were doing a live interview that there is the slightest outside chance may have earned them a few quid. That, along with the OK! interview and the joke slot at a nearby nightclub.

They may never be contenders for X Factor, but the lovely Abbey and Lisa would certainly be up there in a person-you'd-least-like-to-be-stuck-in-a-lift-with contest.

They were quick to rehash what happened that fateful night. Abbey said: "I hit her because she was rude. Just so rude. She deserved it. People said afterwards she deserved a slap."

Lisa, on the other hand, was contrite. She explained how she'd issued several apologies to Simon Cowell which were so well received the forgiving Mr C invited her back on the show another time. She had also written to Natalie and said sorry to pal Abbey.

The whole thing had me confused. OK, Lisa didn't give a terribly good account of herself and she was taking feisty to a new level, but she didn't hit anyone.

Abbey on the other hand seems to think she was perfectly justified in whacking her then best friend because she was embarrassed by her lack of manners. Rudeness isn't really on, but violence never is.

PS The Heat interview was pure gold and I'm sure it'll make it's way into the big wide netosphere sometime soon. Don't miss it.

What's through the keyhole?


Go find out - it's Doors Open Day near you somewhere. I wrote about it over at everymum @ STV.

Oh and there were the usual batch of parent bites, swipes at the news with a damp cloth.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Unexpected gifts, winning smiles and a strapping lad


Things I've learned from my children

The magnitude of a gift is not always obvious.
At the end of cubs last week, Boy Two hurtled up the road yelling: "Mum, mum, I've got something for you." And he pressed a rich tea biscuit into my hand. It was broken into three parts, the crumbly edges rubbed smooth and grey with... actually, I don't really want to think what they were grey with. "Er, thanks," I muttered as he charged back to the smouldering bonfire. The previous week they had collected brambles along the railway line and a keen cub-mother had volunteered to turn them into jam. They were sampling their produce on biscuits, only, in his excitement, Boy Two forgot about the jam bit.

A smile is stronger than a frown.
"Which is stronger your top lip or your bottom lip?" seemed a perfectly reasonable question from Boy One. So we tried. You're doing it now, aren't you? It's irresistible. What we found was that the bottom lip will generally have the advantage unless you are smiling.

It's possible to revise an opinion about physical restraint. If you'd asked me a year or so ago what I thought about strapping kids into high chairs or shopping trolleys I'd have said "Pah, no need. Just over-cautious." Strapping in prams yes, cos there's a bumpy-road, tippy-over possibility, but elsewhere no. And as for reins. Then I realised I liked to dress Boy Three in dungarees because it's easier to recapture him by grabbing the straps. And he went on to evade trolley straps, high chairs and anywhere else you think him restrained. My view has changed.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The mysterious tribes of Scotland



Yesterday morning when I dressed the Third Boy, I made a decision. I rejected his cute new t-shirt - Disney's Pluto on a green and white striped background - in favour of a nondescript multi-coloured affair. Why? Because we were off to the centre of Paisley on a Saturday morning. So what? You may well ask. Thing is, green and white stripes are the colours of Celtic Football Club.

I don't much like football, can't see the point, and the only team I support is Quarriers United Football Club - Under Nines, where Boy Two plays and the Panther coaches.

And yesterday? I don't know where Celtic were playing or if they were anywhere near Paisley (home team St Mirren, fetching monochrome strips) or not. What I do know is that in Scotland, if you wear the wrong thing in the wrong place you can attract attention you don't want.

Once upon a time I pretended to like football to impress an early boyfriend and ending up agreeing to see his team Aberdeen play at Pittodre (then, nearly 25 years ago, possibly the coldest place on the planet, see, I was keen). I showed up in a natty, and cosy, green padded top. "You can't wear that!" He was genuinely horrified and I had to change. Neither he, nor a pretence at liking the beautiful game lasted much longer.

Then, soon after, I journeyed from Aberdeen to the excitement of Glasgow. My necklace du jour was a stylised silver Christ on the Cross, worn because I liked it's dramatic shape. Remember, this was in the height of the first Madonna upsets the Establishment phase, Papa Don't Preach, fishnets and rosaries as bling. Within minutes of getting off the train and crossing George Square a boozy-breathed Weegie was haranguing me about my choice of neckwear. I don't know what he said, but the gist wasn't very friendly.

Pretty quickly I adopted a position of aggressive neutrality on all matters football and religion. Lately though, I realise I'm going to have to explain the largely inexplicable to the kids.

A wee pal was visiting Boy Two this week. She asked him: "Do you support Celtic or Rangers?"
"I support Liverpool," Boy Two has taken his lead, not unreasonably, from adult role model the Panther of News.
"Yeah, but which is your team?" she insisted.
"Liverpool. Like I said."
"No. You have to have Celtic or Rangers."
"Why?" Good question, Boy Two.
That pal, the one who attends the local Catholic school and recently caused some confusion by demanding to know why Boys One and Two haven't been confirmed, revealed somewhat vaguely that Rangers is her choice.
She knew the question - and the need for an answer - seem important in the West of Scotland, but that was as far as she had got.

Now, we're a strictly hmmmmm, maybe-denominational household. Panter was born a Catholic so lapsed into perma-guilt. I was brought up Presbeterian and my grandfather was a Lanarkshire-born freemason called Barr. Pure-thinker Boy One reckons that only science has the answer and we all attend regular Quaker meetings. The only thing approaching religion is football, the Panther's passion for the Reds.

Could someone tell me how to sort it out and explain it to the children?

Pics: the trip to Paisley Abbey was to accompany Boy One on his first outing with the Hunterian Museum's Junior Archeologists Club.

Friday, 3 September 2010

August - blimey no wonder it felt busy


An August month indeed

Things I learned in August:

Edinburgh is probably too busy for comfort. We had a trip to Auld Reekie to see Super Sister (that's her in the photo) and her family and take in some Culture. The culture in question was The Amazing Bubble Show. Boys One and Two stole the show, in my opinion, with their participation. We also learned that Edinburgh buses are splendid climbing frames for toddlers and The Hub has the brassiest neck of the lot for charging £50 for tea and snacks.

Numb, numb is nothing like nom nom. To the dentist and a solution to the discomfort caused by grinding and gritting my teeth. It was decided he'd drill all of my front teeth a bit so he could stick filler on top of the bits I'd worn away. The whole of my face from mid nose down was frozen. It really wasn't nice, but seems to have fixed the soreness.

An easier transition.
My big Boys came back to the nest after three weeks at their dad's. Aww. Lovely to see them and even lovelier, they weren't as beastly as they have been on previous returns. This time they were at their dad's rather than swapping between his gaff and Other Grannies. I also rang every day instead of every other day. Is that what's made the difference? Who knows, it might just be because they're getting older.

Civilisation is relative.
The book group ladies and I spent some of our holidays reading The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville. On the face of it not a particularly deep or challenging book, but one that led to lots of discussion about the Empire, authority, sexuality and which actors we fancied for the lead when it becomes a movie. James McAvoy anyone?

Back to the interactive-white board face. School's back again, hurrah. Primaries four and seven this time. One son failed to get elected to the school board dispite speech crafting and lobbying, the other was voted on without even, really, trying. It seems both were keen because it means missing out on some classes and earning a little extra golden time.

Life turns on. Three new humans welcomed into the world. Well done to Cath for Ben and Oscar and to Tamsin for the as-yet-unnamed sibling for Muff the dog. It was also the anniversary of a great loss. Perhaps the 12 months since my brother Nathan died have been some of the most educational of my life thus, but they weren't lessons I really wanted to learn quite yet.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Dangerous dogs - who really should be muzzled?


This is the pretty face of 10-year-old Rhianna Kidd. Or at least it was until she was attacked by dangerous dogs while she cycled to her grandmothers. Over at everymum @ stv I've pondered what we should be doing.
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