Sunday, 31 March 2013
Saturday, 30 March 2013
Friday, 29 March 2013
Easter's a funny old time. Another one of those occasions when some of us decide we can pick and choose bits of a religion that suit us. And scoffing our faces with chocolate seems to suit a great many of us.
That didn't mean to sound as preachy as it might have come across. I'm just as fond of a choc fest as the next person, but I've long thought it a smidge hypocritical.
Oh, and if the idea of a Creme Egg perched on a particularly manky keyboard doesn't fill you with seasonal cheer, then how about a zig-zag of light on the river.
And speaking of zigs and zags. I came across the work and words of an old chum, Ingrid Abery, being tweeted by Richard Branson.
That noise is indeed a name being dropped. At one point Ingrid and I moved in similar circles and could very well be found in some tropical dock-side bar. A different person might take this moment to pause and gaze wistfully off to the past as they ponder how come she's still hanging around possibly the ritziest sporting event in the world while I'm making plans to spend a weekend in a caravan in Cumbria.
So Ingrid is a photographer and she specialises in yachting photos and she'd been in St Bart's sticking her lens into the face of Mr B while he got to mess about on a particularly expensive boat.
In Branson's blog he reports that she told him: "Sometimes you gotta zig when everyone else is zagging."
Wise words, and the other thing I remember from my nautical days is that once you've made up your mind on a course you pretty much should stick to it - right up until the point when you really need to change.
While I work out whether I need a zig, a zag or a change of tack, here's one of Ingrid's photos.
Thursday, 28 March 2013
I've been back at STV for a few days this week and it means I get to walk along the bit of Glasgow's riverside between the Science Centre car park and Pacific Quay.
I'd say it was one of the most remarkable bits of city anywhere. It's probably a safe bet that there will be more photos from hereabouts over the course of my 365.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
This morning I resumed my morning constitutional with a trot along the Sustrans cycle track. Big soft perfect flakes of snow were filling the air creating an oddly hypnotic sensation as I padded through it.
I've found that the least painful way of going running is to do it very first thing before I'm even awake, so it's very easy for my mind to believe it's, at the very least, still asleep. After a while this morning's silent whiteness started to look very familiar as the cycle track passed by fields of sheep. My Granny had a painting on her sitting room wall of a flock of frosty sheep and today it was as if those sheep had stepped out of their elaborate gilt frame.
The other-worldly sensation was increased by the fact that I'd started listening to my new talking book, A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. The first bit is told from the point of view of family solicitor Noel Strachan. The description of the loyal lawyer dealing with the estate of a long-term client from his office with its roaring fire put me fondly in mind of my Dad's office.
I know there's a lot to be said for being in the moment, but when I'm running around on a chilly morning I find it infinitely preferable to be somewhere else and today it was Granny's sitting room and Dad's office.
Then on the way back I found this chap flat out with a couple of his equally dead friends. Frosted frog, anyone?
|Time to rebrand|
|Not this either, although the Cayman Islands |
thing would work for me.
|Like cheesewire foot but tastier.|
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
You know you get some days when nothing you try works out as you want? Yeah those. Well today was slightly on the stinky side. Nothing significantly awful, just a catalogue of delays, grumbles and frustrations. Ho hum, still, it's nearly tomorrow.
Monday, 25 March 2013
Sunday, 24 March 2013
Saturday, 23 March 2013
We woke to lots of pristine whiteness this morning. Once Boy Two's football match was cancelled we could consider the day properly.
"It would be quite handy to be snowed in," I thought. And so we were - I didn't let the fact that the roads were fairly clear deter me.
I made bread, created a Jake Neverland Pirate costume for Boy Three and a gift for the host of the party he was invited to this afternoon. There was even time to spare for a spot of sledging while the bread baked.
This is Boy Three and I preparing for a descent while Boy Two comes back up the hill. Elsewhere, Boy One was sitting alone in a snowdrift, like a teenager only colder.
|I used my loaf for lunch.|
Only minutes later I was muttering and, eventually, gave up annoyed. I know I'm particularly crabby today (two hours of eardrum-burstingly loud kids party entertainer will do that to a person), but this one had been a long time coming.
What's with the right click ban? Really. I get that you don't want anyone to steal your content. No one does. But surely if someone is determined to nick it they will. What the RCB means is that any one whose habit - as mine is - to open a new window for links gets really annoyed and stops bothering with your blog.
Can the Captcha. Please. I like to comment almost as much as I like to get comments. I also hate spam - lots of it tries to make its way onto my blog and some succeeds. But having Captcha (the really annoying and almost illegible letters you have to copy into a box before you can post a comment) makes it so tedious to comment that I often don't bother.
Signing of no comments.Same irritation ranking as Captcha. It's when you have to sign up to the blog platform or similar before you can comment. If I get the urge to comment, I just want to do it without faffing about remembering passwords and so on. Please make it easy for me.
Gain some focus. We aren't professional photographers but there is one quick fix I urge everyone to make - wipe the smears off your camera phone lens. It makes me slightly queasy when I see a photo where you appear to be peering through a fog... unless, of course, it was foggy.
A plot that's too thick. Anonymity is fine and I understand lots of reasons why people opt for it, but I do like enough of a back story for your posts to make sense.
Not minding the gap. No paragraph breaks that leaves a long block chunk of text is a real turn off. I'm probably a scatterbrained light-weight, but I can't plough through it.
Thursday, 21 March 2013
There has been an exhausting kind of mystery to solve here today and this was the look Boy Two gave me in the middle of it.
It started in the morning with a hullabaloo, door slamming and lots of allegations. Boy One's phone charger had vanished. It was, apparently, impossible that he might have put it somewhere else. Someone must have stolen it. On purpose.
Boy One's default accusation is that Boy Two has done it/stolen it/broken it/eaten it/sat on it. This is as wearing as it is consistent. If Boy One falls over, he will instantly blame his brother even if he is miles further than tripping distance away.
Boy Three, who hates to miss out, joined in the yelling.
Boy Two has a good range of innocent and indignant expressions, some more plausible than others. He was employing them all and even throwing in some lip quiver.
Crash. Skirmishes broke out over possession of remaining suitable phone chargers. (When I am Empress of the World I will legislate for universal chargers. That way I could have solved this with one of the umpteen million defunked ones that clutter the place up.)
I declared a ceasefire while breakfast happened, followed by school - door slamming on the way out apparently necessary.
There was always the possibility that Boy One might be distracted by some six and a bit hours of education, but not in this case. He crashed back home still ranting about the charger and the brother. Sigh.
Unable to stomach a hunt for the missing item - which is undoubtedly still in the house - with scrapping children trailing round behind me like a belligerent tail, I had to pick my moment.
When the Boys were distracted I sneaed off on my hunt - three rooms later I found it tucked into the bottom of a wardrobe. "Where was it?" They cried in relief.
I still have no idea if it was carelessly abandoned or if it was stolen, then if I found it at the scene or if it was placed there. And frankly I don't care.
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
|A different seat of learning|
I had no idea - having only encountered welcoming, friendly staff throughout Boy One's school career so far. A slightly snippy school receptionist was as bad as it ever got.
Boy One got his high school report just the other day and I'm very proud of him. Most of it drips with unambiguous praise and notes his application and success.
I was struck by how many of his teachers wanted to tell me that they like him and to let me know how much they enjoyed having him in their classes. It did seem a bit strange - after all liking him surely is their issue not mine or his if they are professional. And school is about academic success not popularity, is it not?
I didn't really think much more about it until quite recently.
First, I wrote a blog post for Tutorhub about what teachers might really mean in what they put in the little boxes on reports.
Then, I went on one of the National Autistic Society's excellent seminars to help parents and carers. This one was about the teen years. I find the classes not only directly instructive, but they also focus my attention on Boy One and his particular view of the world.
You see, Boy One is generally very little trouble. He's passive and unconfrontational - more inclined to slide away from difficulty than shout in its face. Undoubtedly this has made all our lives (except perhaps his) easier over the years, but it does mean he can become somewhat overlooked.
It was on the course that I chatted to another parent - but one whose day job, by coincidence, takes her into contact with primary schools dealing with children with special educational needs (including autism).
We were talking about life on the spectrum and how some kids cope better than others.
She said something, almost an aside, about teachers dreading to learn that they've got an AS on their list. She explained that, while the majority of teachers knew lots about how to help children on the spectrum and were well prepared to do so, there were a few for whom "a little knowledge has proved quite dangerous". These minority of teachers knew enough to believe that Aspies are difficult and disrupting, and that their parents are unlikely to be much better. In short, that child would cause them a headache of a year.
So, reading Boy One's report between the lines this time, some of his teachers are telling me that, although they'd feared the worst, my lad is really no trouble at all.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Boy One has a singular sense of style and it's probably only a matter of time before he decides that spats are necessary for his current, erm, look.
Although his current go-to footwear are very loud multi-coloured and canvas. I'm not quite sure he's got the big picture on this.
What I am sure about is that he - and his brothers - are very certain about the things they want to wear and they rarely coincide with the things I want them to wear. Footwear for example...
Boy One covers his rapidly growing feet either with smart school shoes (which he'd wear all the time if he could) or the canvas things. Last year he would only wear Crocs until the point when they started to look like toe covers rather than whole shoes.
Boy Two equally contrary but differently motivated will do anything to avoid wearing what he's told. Out of school he will also try to wear Crocs (no socks - ever) even when it's snowing or we're going somewhere really posh.
When rumbled he'll reluctantly change. On a school day, however, he resorts to great elaborate bits of subterfuge to avoid wearing his (not very old) school shoes, preferring trainers, football boots... anything in fact. If he had them I'm certain he would put on ballet shoes or Ugg boots if it meant he was avoiding toeing the line.
Now Boy Three is getting in on the act. Not withstanding the fact that he has a couple of beautiful, cute and well-fitted leather shoes, he would far rather be cutting about in Lightning McQueen wellies or his version of the ubiquitous Crocs.
I suppose I should celebrate the fact my sons each have a clear and distinct sense of style. One day it'll help them stand out and look cool. Perhaps creating a new dawn for the British eccentric.
Though I can't help thinking it's as simple as the fact they'd rather wear anything than something I suggested/bought/prefer. Contrary, all three.
This post has been brought to you by Alex and Alexa.
Monday, 18 March 2013
Yesterday was my brother's 42nd birthday.
As the years go by the fact that he's not there to celebrate birthdays and the like really doesn't get any easier. After the first year or so, that old chestnut about time healing is actually a lot of crap. It doesn't, you just learn to live with it.
Anyhow, this isn't about feeling all sorry and soggy. It's about the sheer strangeness of things.
After Nathan died his best pals installed a bench in his memory. Today, Mum and Step-Mum decided they'd visit to have a word with him - it seems like a right sort of place to do so from time to time.
When they got to the bench, this is what they found waiting.
A message for them?
I'm fairly sure it's not from him, he'd have said: "Waaah."
But, still. It managed to give them something to think about other than the gaping lack of him.
Funny how things happen, isn't it?
|Matt's hairy face and daft hat|
|The PoN reckoned he couldn't see the likeness|
|Kitchen tattoo parlour|
Sunday, 17 March 2013
The scratchy throat excuse, the don't want to be too tired excuse, and the I don't have the right pants* excuse had all run out. I was off out early for my training run today.
It was a moody morning, with a scattering of snow.
I watched for a while, but this chap didn't seem inclined to dance for me. He did give me a chance to get my breath back though.
Elsewhere, my friend Debbie was doing her first parkrun. I'm very impressed and proud of her - I think 34 minutes is an excellent time (and one that has me a little concerned, especially, as when I join her as planned on a parkrun I won't be able to stop and gaze at irritable looking ponies).
*And yes, pants. Perhaps for a future post that will contain discussion of what happens when you have three children by C-section and then try to go running. It won't be for the fainthearted.
Saturday, 16 March 2013
|The intense white blob on the left is the vent for the central heating not an apparition.|
|We had an extension built four years ago. You can clearly see where it starts above the front door, the|
new - better insulated bit is pink and the older walls show blue
|On the gable, the warmer bit (blue) is between the floors and where the attic is. As this wall is new I'm going to see |
what the architect has to say about it. There's also clear heat loss at the top of the roof.
LEAP are committed to helping people save money at home. We also had a draft test carried out.
The top priority things I need to do to cosy up our home are:
- Hang a heavy curtain over the front door and window
- Fix the bath panel properly (huge draft here)
- Seal behind the downstairs loo (gusty here too)
- Seal around the sitting room window sill
Friday, 15 March 2013
Thursday, 14 March 2013
This is the most likely view of at least two thirds of the fruit of my loins at any given moment. Goodness knows what they're listening to... or perhaps they have cold ears.
Anyhow, it's a state of affairs that led me to take drastic action. I became increasingly frustrated by the fact that when I called for them - sweetly, of course - nothing happened.
My maternal equanimity is pretty flimsy at the best of times, but having cooked a flipping meal to then find flipping children don't appear to flipping eat it, things can get somewhat tense.
However, I've struck on the solution and I must share it with you. I feel it is the future of motherhood, the new black for parents.
The Panther of News is, on occasion, also the Panther of the Pitch turning out as coach and ref for Boy Two's football team. This means we have whistles in the house - proper loud ones with peas. Normally they are better guarded than fireworks and poisons because, in the wrong hands, they are far more annoying. But I have put them to use.
The sound of a whistle will penetrate even the loudest mp3 and get under the most extravagantly padded headphones.
It only took a week and now I just give three short blasts and they all turn up in the kitchen to see what I want them for. I can only urge you to grasp the parenting strategy with both hands. You will not regret it.
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
If I took this picture on my proper camera rather than my phone you'd be able to see the layers of hazy blue cityscape towards the horizon. However, as I was on my morning trot I didn't have it with me. To be honest, I do well enough to take myself all the way round the route without added Japanese photographic equipment.
The phone, however, always comes with me because I've discovered that the least painful way of getting through the exercise is by listening to a talking book on the Audible app. I'm currently listening to Barbara Kingsolver reading her own book Flight Behaviour. There seems to be so much more to be heard when the author themselves reads the book.
Kingsolver gives her creations the most wonderful names - Dellarobia Turnbow and Ovid Byron - like poetry.
Obviously, I had to stop my running (slowly) to dig the phone out, pause Kingsolver and take the snap. I wasn't standing for a rest, I was selflessly doing this for you dear reader.
Just now I looked on Google Maps to find the spot I took this picture from to makes sure it was Glasgow and I discovered one of the buildings I puff my way past, isn't a farm but a monastery. I've lived here for nearly 11 years and had no idea it was the Jericho Benedictine Society and not just a farm.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
The very creative Alison Finlay told me about seminars she was doing with participants from all over the world. We fell to talking about what kind of international accent, phraseology and intonation would develop to allow us all to understand each other. Would Americanisms reign supreme?
|Baralech Mulisa at her front door|