Thursday, 30 September 2010

You never know when it comes in useful

Little bear is finally old enough for the huge castle I bought two and a half years ago - because it was a bargain. I had completely forgotten about it.

Must not look for more bargains...

Ebay is not a good friend

Someone keep me away from ebay when I am feeling poorly!

I am sitting here, praying that I am outbid on a collection of craft stuff that I really want, would love to play with but have absolutely no room/time to use.

Today I was woken by two parcels of yarn, both of which I am looking forward to playing with, neither of which I really knew what I was getting but what the heck... Yes, it was only 99p bids plus postage but I really want to play with the stuff now, I have a zillion unfinished projects AND I HAVE NO ROOM!

That is in addition to the huge pack of yarn that I couldn't resist, broke the 1p per gram rule I normally follow and is now sitting there, tempting me to start yet another thing. And the stepladder, that was actually quite sensible, and why did I buy a dvd player? We have one, we will have another one when darling father moves in and no matter how much of a bargain it was I HAVE NO ROOM!

At least I got outbid on a vase last night - what was I thinking of!? I have no room for a vase, I hate cut flowers and I have a toddler and a bulimic cat that keeps attempting to be vegetarian.

Please let me be outbid, please let me be outbid...

Potty Training

Little bear is nearly four and still not potty trained. Apparently I am doing everything right, but little bear has Views. The Health Visitors are going Hmmm a lot.

Little bear doesn't have accidents, he just won't use facilities. The longest he has 'hung on' is ten hours. I nearly had a fit when I picked him up from nursery and realised.

Everyone - health visitors, nursery staff, family - agree that little bear will do fine when he decides to. It is getting him to that decision. Last night OH (bless him) watched little bear while I had a lie down. I usually make sure that regardless of big boy pants, he has a nappy on an hour before bedtime so he can stuff that and sleep in a clean one. OH didn't realise, so little bear went to sleep with a nappy on for the first time in a few hours, stuffed it, and what with the temperature, penicillin, etc woke up at 3am with an excruciating case of nappy rash. He woke OH and everything, poor little man. The rash was really bad, and getting him clean was awful.

So I am exhausted as well as poorly, little bear is chirpy but complaining about having to wear big boy pants and OH has had to go into a busy, stressful work day with broken sleep.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Little bear has just told me that volcanoes are scared of him because he splats them with Daddy's sword...

Little bear and sunglasses

Morgan - little bear 'lubs' his sunglasses, and tries to sleep in them. Bless him, we went on a bus ride yesterday (there and back to see how far it was, about two hours on the bus total) and he wore his sunglasses, often on the top of his head!

You may remember the awful time we had trying to give him medicine last time, the screaming, hysterical fits, the physical struggles and the attempt to bribe that has significantly contributed to some of our problems now? Well, if you give little bear a glucose tablet to have immediately after, there is no problem. The big problem is his determination to have LOTS of medsin just to have lots of tablets...

Glucose tablets, dextrose tablets, the little rectangles that come in tubes in chemists - they are amazing. One tablet four times per day will not kill him, and it really helps the medsin go down.

Morgan - your books are such a life saver at the moment! You would not believe, well, you have been here with poorly little ones so you know, it is such a help.

Also, to put things in a bit of context when I grumble about little bear. I had a lot of compliments on his behaviour yesterday. I am so proud of him.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Little bear went to nursery yesterday on his scooter, wearing sunglasses - in the rain.

He said it kept the rain out of his eyes.
Little bear has progressed to bacterial tonsilitis. And the medicine - the one that made him sick and we couldn't get him to take.

Today I gave him a glucose tablet first, then after a while checked that he was okay to take the medicine, which was ruthlessly administered and immediately followed by a glucose tablet.

I may survive this, if I can cope with a sugared up little bear.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Little bear has just started singing Jingle Bells.

I could cry...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Little bear is asleep next to a garage, yes, a garage in his bed. How close the duvet is to over him is anyone's guess - I have chickened out of approaching the bed, and will no doubt pay for this at 3am when little bear finally realises it's cold and he needs mum!

I have just finished my third glass of wine this week. I am not sure about this, this is a massive amount of drinking for me. Darling father is incurably generous, and that includes wine, whisky, sweeties etc. I need to find a way of saying a polite no that sticks. OH has started on the whiskey, and seems to be enjoying it. There is a clanking of bottles near darling father's chair and it worries me.

Little bear was a bit better this morning, but is still not right. Off to the drs tomorrow if I can get an appt.

Poor little bear

As I type this, little bear is happy tucking into porridge and generally full of beans. Last night was a different matter. He had ear ache, and he was crying with it. If you had seen him with his eyes shutting with exhaustion and then waking up and holding his ears, you would have felt for him. I did manage to get him to sleep for a while as I sang him to sleep which I hadn't done for years. But he woke again.

He told me that 'ears not working'. I asked him if he could hear me. He shook his head forlornly and told me he couldn't hear me...

That kept me going for a few hours, until he calmed down, the baby nurofen kicked in and he had spent far too many hours on the sofa refusing to drift off. He is in fine fettle this morning, although I think it is doctor time, as I don't want to risk his ears.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Morgan - this time of year is rotten for colds as your body has to adjust to colder weather outside, warmer in shops, damper etc. I hope you feel better soon - do not underestimate the value of fruit tea with honey, it can work wonders. Also rum.

Apparently (source OH) the average toddler gets 8-10 colds per year. Little bear seems to be over achieving in this as well. He is also extremely generous with the sniffles. OH has a problem which means that a cold often leads to things like antibiotics and guarantees sleepless nights, problems breathing and general fedupness.

I get everything, of course, but I just potter on slower than normal. Or in some cases stop. The takeaway shop does well out of us at these times. Although I am getting better at working round this. Darling father also suffers, but he gets lots of afternoon naps.

Off to tackle the great 'getting little bear dressed' challenge. Easier than the Great North Run, but I'm not sure by how much.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A while ago some washing got caught in the rain and ended up left out for three days. Darling father's shirts still vibrate with the smell of his aftershave.

I have lurgy, again, but little bear who has been much better appears to be sickening for something new.

Little bear's imagination

Tonight little bear solemnly told OH that the giants saw him make lightning by hitting rocks and that they ran away saying, 'Fe, Fi, Foe, Fum, Here comes little bear, watch out, run.' Which is better poetry than half the birthday cards on sale.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Who's been talking?

Someone must have been boasting about how good a sleeper little bear is, although the 'slept through from three months' is a little old now he is nearly four.

However it was a 3am shout today - again he had kicked off his duvet.

He has always hated blankets, I have never been able to keep them on. However he won't wear his fleecy dressing gown (which got him through a lot last year) and he doesn't have a thick fleecy sleep suit (which got him through the year before) so he can just learn - pull the duvet up!

However he kicks the duvet off and mutters in his sleep with greater or lesser volume until I get up and put the covers over him again, greater or lesser frequency. This also disturbs darling father, but OH manages to sleep through. Actually little bear is more or less asleep, but not getting the benefit iyswim. So little bear, darling father and myself are all shattered today. Except darling father and little bear can sleep during the day...

Monday, 20 September 2010

Situation Normal

Morgan - sorry not to have posted, I don't want to worry you. Everyone has lurgy. Also I am trying to work out how to use my new camera to get a photo to you.

[This is where I got broken off to sort out getting darling father's breakfast, get little bear dressed, sort out someone who knocked on the door to say that they would like to quote for our guttering, find things for little bear, see darling father out for his usual Monday trip to the Methodists and finally got back]

Everyone in the house had short sleep last night. Little bear was coughing and I kept going up to him. He didn't really surface, but the first time I had to clear a mound of books from his bed to put him in and then cover him up (why he decided to fall asleep on the floor next to the door I have no idea), the next few times I had to just cover him up with a duvet. He is much better this morning.

OH didn't sleep after 2am. He is exhausted. Also the car is in for the MOT.

I have no idea what is happening for tea, and all the best takeaways shut on a Monday.

It is just very unimportant, little, niggly stuff.

However on Friday I went for a walk just as it was getting dark and I was really excited as bats were swooping around me. I also think I saw an owl. The silhouette was right, and the movement was like the wildlife films. It looked beautiful. I hope it hadn't been eating mice locally as Matalan put down poison. Normally the wildlife round here is squashed rat.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Late night

Little bear is much better (as he would say - I fine, much better!) but he is still not well and fighting sleep. He is also piling books in heaps on his bed after we have done the bed time routine. I made a little bear shaped hole in the stacks when I went up to check before he went to sleep, and I pulled his duvet up.

Now it is getting up to midnight and little bear was almost whimpering. His temperature is back to normal, although he has a very sore throat, so I hurried upstairs. He was asleep, making little crying noises but absolutely firmly shut eyes. I dislodged some books that he had accumulated and once again pulled the duvet up. He had been lying flat out without a duvet over him and while the house is not cold, it isn't warm enough for that. I think he was just cold. I tucked his ratatouille into his arms and tucked him in and I don't think he even noticed. He is quiet now, so it was probably just cold and a very tired little bear.

I will be lying awake, listening for him on the baby monitor for a while yet. I can't help it. Poor little mite.

Don't tell little bear!

Morgan's parcel of sticker books arrived today. There is a HUGE bundle of them, exactly the sort that appeals most to little bear. I can see many happy hours, cuddled with little bear, 'playing stickers'.

The sticker books are hidden away to be brought out one by one as the sticker books are used up. Little bear is going to be thrilled, and the books are a great stimulation to him (and a great chance to cuddle for me).

Morgan - thank you so much, not just for the fantastically appropriate huge bundle of sticker books but also for the very kind thought behind it. That stack of books has come to a very appreciative good home - thank you!

Severe pruning

There are, or were, some very large laurel 'bushes' across the road from us, almost as high as our house and towering over Matalan's roof. Her Three Doors Down has caused some bother about them, and now they have been severely pruned.

The very professional young men came with ear protectors and chain saws and hacked the laurels and other bushy growth right back. Except the wind is really getting up now, and they severely, really severely pruned them on one side only. So we have some unbalanced, lop-sided 'bushes' leaning over Matalan's roof which I suspect is fibre glass.

I hope I am being dippy and that nothing is likely to happen, and the way that the local geography works means that winds are extremely unlikely to blow them towards Matalan, but I don't think this was very well thought out.

Cupboards need a sort out

On Monday I found myself with a poorly little bear, rushing to make tea, so the projected tomato sauce did not get made. I rummaged in the cupboards for inspiration.

I found some rather elderly jars of cook-in sauces, donated to me by darling uncle and not twentieth century issue. They need to go. I also found a jar of sweet chilli sauce which I couldn't manage. The diced chicken (from the freezer, bought on offer, and defrosted with a view to the pasta) was stirred in and successful for darling father and OH. Little bear didn't want anything at all.

I was a bit concerned about the lack of sauces, as I had stocked up last time there was an offer on Sharwoods sauces (some time ago), and so without really processing I went on Mr Sainsbury's site and added some of the bought cook-in sauces that were on offer to my weekly order.

Two things are now apparent. Last night I did mince with plenty of onions, some frozen veg and a tin of minestrone (next time stock cube, water and brown sauce instead of minestrone). It was really pleasant. Almost anything I make from scratch is going to be cheaper than bought, and often nicer. What I need is to have things in the freezer and cupboard that can be thrown together quickly.

Today when I put the jars away, I couldn't fit them all in the cupboard. This is not good. On one hand a certain amount of re-organisation will sort out some of the problem but on the other hand, I need to start using up the stuff in my cupboards. I really need to start using up.

I need to sort, list & plan. If that ever happens I will let you know.

Poor little bear

Little bear has viral tonsillitis. Poor little mite.

Actually he is looking much better compared to Monday, but today was the first time I could get him in the doctors. The sore throat is still interfering with chocolate consumption, but we will just see how things go.

He managed to 'persuade' me to get him an annual today, and I am not too impressed, but he had it out on the floor, and I was worried that the shop would be unable to sell it. The shopkeeper, who has known me for years, was happy for us to leave it, but I play fair.

Actually, after seeing my brothers beautiful dining room and how well little bear sat at the table, I was planning on using the time he was at nursery this week to excavate the dining room. Looks like I may have to be creative with time.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

When is a crayon not a crayon?

Ian visited today - it was brilliant. Little bear was not well, really, but was delighted by the gifts brought.

It was a lovely, relaxing day, with little bear in a reflective mood and quite happy to sit in his imagination, the sun beating in through the windows in the afternoon (though not the morning), and everyone relaxed. Tea worked, it all went calmly.

Little bear was showing off his new cars. He referred to the Lotus Esprit Bond car as a 'swimming car' and wanted to put it in water. I did not want to have to deal with rust issues later, so was saying that putting it in the sink was absolutely not allowed. 'You can't put it in the sink,' Ian said reasonably. 'What if it went down the plug hole?'. Little bear considered this. 'I put the plug in.' he announced firmly.

Among the wonderful gifts for little bear was a pack of soap crayons, to use in the bath. Little bear was not impressed at this idea. Getting him into the bath and getting him out of it are equally impossible. However he had considered various options. 'Use them in the sink.' he announced. 'And in the bath.' 'No, just in sink, sink crayons...'

Little bear was very clean for his bedtime routine because the bath crayons do indeed work in the sink.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Unnatural cravings for gadgets

Witch Hazel - you are leading me in wicked ways - I will definitely get that (or equivalent) before next tomato season, it is exactly what I need.

Is it easy to clean without a dish washer? - I heart it

Mummy does her duty

Little bear was tired this morning, but no more than I expected after the hen racing, and I had already planned to try and get him to nap @ 11am before nursery. He normally doesn't get a nap on a nursery day, as he sort of does/sort of doesn't need a nap in the afternoon. I coaxed some food into him and he had a nice nap and we went to nursery.

Around 5pm, as I was gearing to get him, nursery rang me. He was running a temperature, refusing medicine, saying he was 'fine - I just fine' and refusing to eat his favourite food at nursery. He had also, unheard of, just gone to sleep.

I shot up there, and little bear was just lying there on the cushions, flat out. I woke him up with a bit of a cuddle and he stood up. He looked completely bewildered, and was being very evasive about how he felt, then he was sick.

Little bear is very rarely sick, so I don't think he quite knows how to deal with it. As it was he was very distressed as it just kept coming. And as he had stood next to me and I was still kneeling, it landed on me. All over me. I was covered. I was still in the coat, which took the worst, but the rest of my clothes got hit as well. Little bear was also covered, but he had a spare change of clothing at nursery.

And he was too poorly to scoot his scooter home. I had considered a taxi, but didn't think that they would take me and the staff at the nursery thought that fresh air might help little bear, especially cooling him down. So I staggered home (several hundred yards, it felt like miles) with little bear's clothes and my coat in a black bin sack, which I clutched in the same hand as his scooter and back pack. The other hand was very busy holding on to little bear's hand as he was not a happy bear.

I managed to coax a dose of baby nurofen into him, then eventually an egg custard (provided by darling father) and a bottle of Yazoo milk shake. He refused the toast I made him, and didn't want anything else. I was just happy that he had something in him. Then he calmed down as he watched Disney channel and eventually was taken up to bed where he coaxed four stories out of me.

I am considering the coat. It is several years old - probably about seven or eight years old but it could be more. It is more of a jacket, really, and was not very expensive. I had been considering alternatives, anyway, so I think it can stay in the bin bag. Likewise my jeans - they had had their day, their zip had gone, the hems were frayed. They can go in the bag. My top, well, I bought that in 1997, and it shows. I had nearly thrown it out at the last wash. That can go in the bag.

Little bear's clothes, well, the top was on its way out. I remember putting it on just before nursery and thinking that it would have to be retired. As much of little bear's wardrobe it was 'pre-owned' and less wear in it than you would think and it was getting far too small. I can't remember his little jeans. I suspect that they were also a bit on the elderly side as if they are the ones I remember they were definitely on his last wear. They were creeping relentlessly up towards his knees and it is the wrong sort of weather for cut offs. They can stay in the bin bag.

I am now trying to remember if there was anything vital in my coat pockets.

House at the back

No-one has lived in the house behind us, perhaps for over a year. It is lovely, quiet bliss. Over the last few months sporadic work has been going on, but nothing intense.

However the last workmen in left a window open. It is at the side of the building, not obvious and over a sheer drop. It was probably left to get rid of any damp.

I don't know how much damp is left, but after the window has been left open for over a month - wide open at that - I expect that they now have pigeons.

Still at least they are quiet neighbours.


We have tomatoes. We have lots and lots and lots of tomatoes, possibly because last year little bear hoovered up any tomatoes within reach so I bought a lot of plants described as 'heavy cropping' and 'prolific'.

This year he won't touch them.

So, I have recipes, and ideas, and have made some tasty sauce in the past. I have vast quantities of tomatoes and onions and garlic and basil. The tomatoes really can't be left another day and more and more are coming through.

I also have a walloping headache - again.

I am not really looking forward to skinning vats of tomatoes, many of them pea sized (thought they would be ideal for little bear) and chopping pounds of onions. But I am looking forward to a tasty sauce tonight, freezing some and then having a taste of summer in winter.

Also I have found a recipe for pickling green tomatoes.

3lb small green tomatoes, salt, 1/2lb sugar, 1pt vinegar, 1tbs pickling spice

Put the spices in the vinegar and bring to the boil. Leave to stand for 1 1/2 hours and then strain. Wipe the tomatoes and remove the green stalks, then prick them about six times. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle thickly with salt. Leave for 12 hours then wash off the salt. Bring the spiced vinegar to the boil in a large pan, drop the tomatoes in and let them simmer for 20mins, do not stir as you will break them up. Drain and put them in dry jars. Boil up the liquid and cover the tomatoes, cover securely.

Not only is this recipe seriously not tested, but I have just realised that the method does not mention the sugar in the ingredient list. Hmm.

This is taken from the Austerity Cookbook by Bridget Ardley, which has some good recipes that are not the usual run of the cook book mill.

Mr Manners

After we had been to Middleton Park we went on to darling brother and his friend's house. It is a new build and really lovely, I was desperately envious.

There was also their dog, Woody, who is allegedly part elk hound, or possibly fox hound, and is a rescue dog. He is a sort of middling size with a lovely dense coat and a soulful expression (I suspect a labrador may have been involved in the family tree).

Little bear was having a marvellous time, playing with Woody (who bore it with amazing patience) and running round. Darling brother and his friend had acquired six toy cars in boxes for him, and the friend kindly got a screw driver and started to get them out for little bear.

We were sitting in the garden when little bear came hurtling out with the final car. 'Did you say thank you?' I asked.
'Ye-es.' little bear said shiftily.
'We'll check, you know,' darling brother said mischievously and little bear then hurtled back to say 'thank you' properly.

Hen Racing

Yesterday we visited Middleton Park, in Leeds, where there was a Village Show (for want of a better way to put it.

I had never been there before, neither had OH, but I definitely plan to go back. It seems to be quite fun, with plenty of trees and paths. It was very busy yesterday, and we were really looking forward to it. There were two main attractions. For OH and darling father there was a curry stand advertised. For all of us there was hen racing.

We met up with my brother and his friend and started looking around. There was an absence of curry. A complete lack of vindaloo. The stand hadn't turned up, and that was quite a let down.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with the hen racing. I was quite confident it was cruelty free, as I believe all the hens involved were rescue hens, and the 'bets' were going to fund more rescues. So we all found our way to the enclosure. It was a very small patch, roughly twenty five feet square, marked out in a sort of spiral. Half a dozen very healthy looking hens were wearing little jackets with dayglo patches. Little bear was not sure about the whole thing.

The hen racing was as follows. All the hens started in the middle, then one person went in front rattling food in a tin and another followed banging two sticks. The nail biting competition lasted at least two minutes. Of course, darling father had picked a winner (he won a baby food jar of jam).

I was a bit confused by the hen racing. On the one hand, I don't want to see hens, especially rescue hens, suffer in any way. On the other hand, it was a bit of a damp squib. It was fun watching the hens strut happily about, and I am very keen that little bear does not grow up with a city view that food comes from a supermarket factory. And the hens seemed quite calm about the whole thing, as much as I can tell with hens.

Darling father also managed to win a raffle and three tombola gifts, but failed to score on the Labour party's bottle stall. I told him he looked too much like a capitalist.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Daren't say a word

Little bear has a scooter. He has almost managed to work it out. It does go something like, scoot, scoot, fall off, push, push, scoot, scoot. Little bear loves it, and insists on going to and from nursery 'on' it. Crossing roads has been hair raising and there have been a lot of drivers chuckling (thank goodness) as I have tried to get little bear plus scooter over the zebra crossing without taking silly amounts of time or getting squashed.

On the way home on Friday I carefully steered little bear past the parked cars and the removal van (and who parks a range rover at forty five degrees across a road, really?). We went past a sports car owned by the hairdresser boss. I was frantically keeping little bear plus scooter away from it as he hit the 'fall off' part of the cycle. And there, along the car, was a long, vivid scratch. It was just about the right height for little bear's handle bars.

Now I know it wasn't little bear, because apart from anything else his handle bars are padded. But we did get pretty close to the car. What if someone saw us? I know we didn't do it, but if I say something like 'look, we didn't make that scratch on your very expensive sports car' it is going to look a bit ingenuous, really.

I daren't say anything. I feel almost guilty because we may have looked like we had done it if someone saw us. I shall be scuttling past there for a bit.

New neighbours

Across the road at the side of us is a block that used to be a Co-operative, back in the nineteenth century. Now it is partitioned up to a sandwich shop (excellent), pizza shop (very good, with a city wide reputation), a curry house (untested) and a hairdressers (they cut little bear's hair and are very good about it) on the ground floor.

The owner of the building has spent a fortune and at least a year converting the upstairs into flats. We have had sand blasting, we have had nerve jarring thunks as they have thrown junk out of top windows into the skip below, we have had a skip permanently stationed there, we have had men in high vis jackets standing round and looking into a hole with anxious expressions...

Friday and yesterday we had removal vans. I didn't stop to watch as some young girls and a removal van tried to work out how to get a sofa in through a window, I couldn't contribute and I didn't think an audience would help.

I'm quite looking forward to having more neighbours. I don't expect I shall see a lot of them, but it is nice.

Scarface Claw

Next door's huge black tom, known as Oscar or Scarface claw to little bear, is depressed. I mean, this is a massive piece of feline tom. However he is started to pull his fur out all around his back legs and the base of his tail. From the rear he now looks distinctly shabby.

There are a number of contributory factors. Little bear's shrieks of 'Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town' probably are a very minor point. The cat next door but one (who seems a bit of a thug) is a big contribution, plus the staffie puppy.

I saw another puppy in their garden yesterday, it looked a cutie. However poor Oscar will probably end up bald. He is currently on anti depressants, he may end up on the cat equivalent of Valium.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Morgan - you are a really lovely person. I'll let you know when they get here, and I'll try and get some pics of little bear with them, little bear permitting.

Thank you so much again.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Aran yarn

I have sort of accidentally bought a Pattern for the yarn darling uncle gave me. I can't imagine why taking little bear into town and visiting two yarn shops could possibly lead to my buying this pattern book which is an absolute star as it has a basic sweater pattern in 4ply, dk and aran for slip overs, sweaters and cardis for adults and children...

Now all I need to do is concentrate hard on not finding the needles I need to start the sweater. After all, there is no point in starting yet another thing, no matter how I feel.

Who am I kidding, I think I will have crumbled by tea time.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Windy days

Little bear has just noticed that our house is made of bricks. He finds this reassuring as the Big Bad Wolf can't huff it down.

So when we do eventually move, I shall be on the lookout and definitely not even go to look at a house of straw...

Sad accident

I noticed a lot of police around on a nearby dual carriageway. It seemed a few more than the average speeding offence would warrant, so I asked at the newsagent.

Around 5am, so the story goes, a joy rider comes belting along, runs a red light and clips a car of a driver going to work. The driver on his way to work is unhurt, apparently. The joy rider (I hate that term, but it is a convenient shorthand) spins out of control, flips over, sails over some concrete bollards at least two feet high, and lands in a garden set quite a way back from the dual carriageway, smashing into the porch. One of the people in the car runs off. The other is extremely badly injured and from the gossip going round (which could be exaggerated but the source was reliable) was not expected to survive.

The innocent driver may be unhurt, but I am willing to bet he is shocked, stressed and upset. And has to deal with all the insurance and the claims and the aggravation. The person who owns the house with the demolished porch has all the insurance and the builders and the worry that the house may no longer be as structurally sound as it was, not to mention the loss of the feeling of safety you have in your own home.

The person who was not expected to survive - what about their family? Did they leave children? A partner? And what potential was lost? Was this someone who could have saved someone from drowning? Been a kind face at a hard time that gave someone courage? Could they have been a good father or husband? Could they have at least been a bad example that stopped others from straying? Could their potential child have found a cure for cancer? Could they have found a cure for cancer? It is smoke in the wind.

I do not think that the car ride was worth it.


Darling uncle bought me 800g of a rather nice blue aran. I really love the colour, and I want to make something for myself.

However there is the minor matter of not having a pattern. And as I am a ahem larger lady, 800g does not cover all patterns, not by a long shot. A nice plain sweater would be great.

And of course there is also the half finished sweater and the half finished jacket for myself and the sweater that was for darling father for father's day and I'm still on the second cuff with an identical sweater cued up for little bear. Little bear, when informed of the plans for a sweater, rolled his eyes and spread out his hands to heaven, 'I already have lots of sweaters' he said in exasperation. He hates wearing them as well, hence the plan to make him one like grandad's. In hope that he will actually put something on that is warm.

I really love the colour of this new aran, though, and I am desperate to start something new as a boost, as I am really trying to restrict my spending.

Must not start something until I have finished something else... Must not start something until I have finished something else... Must not start something until I have finished something else... Must not start something until I have finished something else... Must not start something until I have finished something else...

Need sleep

Little bear woke up at 3.30am. I must have been boasting about how good a sleeper he is. I think he was dreaming again because he complained about something on his hand and then was surprised when nothing was there. So really all he needed was a cuddle.

Then he woke up at 7am. Actually he woke me up at 7am, investigating Grandad's bedroom. Then he woke up OH, though not quite as early.

The morning was fairly low key - he was enjoying his stickers. Then off to nursery, on his scooter. The scooter was a reward from darling uncle for a good report from nursery. He seems to have picked up the idea of a scooter fairly well. He scooted a bit, nearly fell off, walked a bit, scooted a bit more and was v happy about the whole thing.

Painting has been postponed. But I am determined to make the effort and get the paint out again this week.


I often feel a bad mother because I don't know how to paint with little bear. Usually I set up dishes of paints, water, paper, brushes and a mat. Then I encourage him to enjoy himself. When the paint runs out then paint time is over. I have different coloured paper and different foam stickers and I encourage him to 'do sticking'. I must try harder. I do read a lot to him, and there is always sticker books - like death and taxes. Little bear adores the sort of sticker books where you have to match a sticker from a sheet to a space on the page. We are up to 935 in his 1000 sticker book. Actually, it is great cuddle time.

As for the tummy issues, I have been trying to take ibuprofen to help the tendonitis, aches etc. I think that it has not helped. Also I have gone up a strength in the anti depressants which also affects tummies. Sigh. I feel like a tube. On the other hand, I do get some reading on the loo. There is always a bright side.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

I am definitely a bad mother

Last night little bear woke up, upset because he said his nappy was leaking. I gave him huge cuddles, changed his (very full) nappy, changed his pyjamas and his sheet (which didn't really need changing as he hadn't leaked, but he was only half awake and distressed). All the way through I was frantically trying not to need the toilet as my tummy has been off the last few days. But I didn't really mind, poor mite was in a right state. Of course I couldn't get back to sleep so I was so tired this morning...

Little bear wanted to 'do painting' this morning. This is not something I enjoy as I am never sure how to help him. I never really 'did painting' myself, so I just encourage him to enjoy himself and supervise. Little bear, however, loves painting (he insisted) and especially loved painting now that darling uncle has given him a box with paints and sponges in. I insisted that we painted after we came back from town. Little bear tried to convince me that the town was shut, but I remained firm. However just after I had mailed OH to keep him informed, darling father rang, so I chatted to him while I was on the computer. My 'mummy sense' told me little bear was not in a good frame of mind but I was too tired to check.

This was a mistake. I looked round and little bear had got the paints out of the box, squeezed them out and was stirring them up in what was marketed as a paint tray but looked like a cat's dinner dish. I opened my mouth to start the usual 'What do you think you are doing?' when I had to go to the loo. I HAD to go, nature didn't just call, it shouted. I told little bear firmly to put the bowl on the lid of the box and not do anything until I got back. I didn't expect him to listen.

When I returned, little bear had been adventurous, painting pieces of paper everywhere. He had painted a picture while leaning a paper against a fabric chair, he had painted a picture while leaning the paper against a recliner and of course he had painted with the paper on the carpet. I could tell. Paint was dramatically swiped everywhere. But not on little bear's clothes. He may have completely ignored my insistence that all painting was on a table with a cloth on the floor, but he remembered his painting apron. It landed with a splat in the bath when I dragged him upstairs to scrape off the paint from his hands and face.

I am not impressed but I do feel a little guilty because he did want to paint so much and I was really not looking forward to painting in the afternoon. We will do some painting tomorrow. Properly set up! I think I may try and get him to paint cereal boxes etc. It has to be better to do that than scrape paint off the furniture.

Little bear and imagination

We visited darling uncle on Sunday. One of the things we did there was to go under a bridge carrying a road to get to a causeway on the river.

Little bear was enjoying the walk, and we threw sticks into the river (or, in little bear's case, at the river) and then came back.

'This is where the troll lives.' OH told little bear seriously. 'He used to jump out at people all the time, and now they keep him locked up all day and only let him out at night.' OH pointed to a padlocked inspection hatch.
Little bear nodded solemnly. 'Trolls are very naughty.' He said seriously.
Then OH knocked on the inspection hatch. Little bear visibly tensed, and then we had to hurry out of the underpass, in case the troll got out...

Most of the younger kids in our street believe that there is a dragon living under our steps now, and now little bear is convinced that a troll is haunting an underpass a few yards from his uncle's house. It's a wonder we don't have nightmares every night.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Evil Cat Economics

Witch Hazel - I think putting aside a regular amount is a good idea, but we would find the money anyway. I mean, we took responsibility for her, we won't let her down. Even if she does try and annexe the pillows at 3am. I don't believe in letting animals suffer, but that is no excuse to abandon them if they are having a hard time but can still have a quality of life - especially as evil cat gets such pleasure out of things like being asleep. And other people not being asleep.

Robyn - I hadn't even considered looking at other insurance. Evil cat is so elderly and creaky, I didn't think they would take her on. I am confident that they will do nothing for her kidney and heart problems, but there may be other stuff, and then she could covered for that. I shall, of course, inquire through Quidco.

We dropped darling father off at his home yesterday, and brought back some of his treasures. Including a cat. This is one of those realistic imitation cats, made from rabbit fur. Evil cat's reaction to these in the past has been extreme. I suppose it is like being in the same room as a corpse. So darling father has found the exact thing that will keep evil cat out of his room. His bed will be a cat hair free zone. Evil cat is sulking.


Morgan - you lead me in bad ways! I have just signed up for National Novel Writing Month.

On brief inspection, you undertake to write 50,000 words in November. Hah, that's not a novel. That's a pamphlet (I may regret those words...)

So in November I will be writing the sequel to the Forgotten Village, posting it on Fiction Press and keeping up in the National Novel Month. I have an idea for a starting point, I mean, can you imagine what Time Team could dig up? But I have no ideas of problems/opponents etc, and I need at least two or three.

This of course means finishing off the Forgotten Village. For the first time in about a month I am able to get on with writing, so I can finally finish the one, last, remaining chapter.

I also plan to work, until November, on The Bane of the Old Forest, which is nothing like the Forgotten Village, but I quite fancy getting to grips with.

Morgan, Thank you!!!!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Is Evil Cat worth it?

The annual insurance renewal on evil cat came yesterday. The monthly fee is, are you braced, £33!

This is, I suppose, a reasonable cost for a 16 year old moggy with dodgy kidneys, but we are going to cancel the insurance. Especially as they only cover the first 12 months of any illness and so the cover on her kidneys has already run out.

On the brutal side, there are not that many long and expensive treatments that would be kind to inflict on a sixteen year old cat, no matter how dark they are. On the positive side we should be able to manage most treatments. We managed for malevolvent cat and she had a tumour behind her eye. We did not begrudge a single penny we spent on her, but one day, she looked at me and I knew she had just had enough. We didn't keep her suffering, but up until then we had done all it took. I still miss her - the Naomi Campbell of the feline world.

Not again

I was vaguely aware that work was happening on the house behind next door.

I am now more focused. Last night there was a mouse. Evil cat slept through it. Lucky evil cat. However I couldn't manage to stay asleep through the furtive rustling.

Not happy.

Glorious Food

I asked darling father to bring in a sausage roll, as he was going past a sandwich shop when he bought his lottery tickets. I thought that I may, just may, be able to get something non sugary into little bear before he went to nursery.

I think little bear would have eaten more of the sausage roll if darling father hadn't shown him the (unasked for) chocolate eclair that he had for him...

I am really fretting about what little bear is eating. I just don't know how to get any sort of handle on it. A lot of the nonsense of the last two weeks is from when little bear was so ill he wouldn't eat chocolate and I tried anything and everything to coax food into him. I am not keen on little bear eating sausage rolls, but I pity the nursery workers that have to deal with a sugared up little bear with sleep issues.

And of course I don't tell off darling father, because he is my father, because I am confident it would have no effect, and because I don't want to set up a situation where little bear thinks he can play adults off against each other. However, it is darling father who is the most vocal in insisting little bear should not eat between meals... and then buys him chocolate 'because there's nothing to it...'

And breathe. I am going to be researching healthy lunch ideas, as I get stuck beyond sandwiches or cheese on toast.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Ian - it is so odd about the park. When I was really bad a few years ago, and little bear was in his push chair, I couldn't physically get to the park in less than half an hour(if at all), though now (on a reasonable day) it takes less than fifteen minutes. However there is a play frame. Little bear LUBS the play frame and wants to run along and slide down the pole like Fireman Sam, you know, the pole that's at least eight foot high and a good two foot away from the main frame. Of course he can't, but I am not always able to stop him and I am not physically strong enough to catch him. So I have decided that for now, OH can take little bear to the park.

I plan to make walks to the local library a regular thing.

As for food, I do not know what the answer is.

Morgan - I really appreciated the hugs. I am seriously considering separate meal times, but that would be hard for OH. I have no problem in ignoring a tantrum.

Today is not a good day. I am v v v tired, but took little bear to the market to help tire him out. Looks like china chilo for tea, an expensive treat, but nice and cheaper than a take away.

China Chilo. Around a pint of shelled fresh peas (more or less), two lettuce, around 500g of lamb mince. I gently brown the lamb mince in huge amounts of butter the add the peas and the shredded lettuce with just the water clinging onto the shredded lettuce from washing (I don't dry too much) and simmer v gently for two hours. That's it, it tastes absolutely fantastic, but the fresh peas make it special, so it is a summer treat, and unless you grow them the peas can be expensive. I got them off the last stall in the market to have them, although they were selling them last week, so it looks like the last time I make it this year. Also lamb mince is not often on sale. Also you can add a few finely chopped spring onions, or some finely chopped mushroom, but you honestly don't need to. Just the lamb, the lettuce and the peas cooked together in plenty of butter. The recipe is from Eliza Acton's cookbook, published in 1847, and is really nice.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My exhausted little bear fell asleep last night by eight, and slept through to eight!

And we have gone for a walk today to the library. It is a local library, open two and one half days per week, with less books than little bear, but it is a start. He is now at nursery.

However, I really do not appreciate darling father giving me a lecture on how I need to watch what he eats so that he eats his tea and then placing a chocolate bar in front of little bear, just before he has his lunch. Nor do I appreciate the lollies, the milkshake and the fuss.

Feel a bit battered by it all. Last night I made home made sauce from tomatoes from our garden. Tonight's menu is also quite low fat and healthy, but the battle against stuffing little bear full of sugar is a tough one. But hopefully, once the sugar rush has gone, he will sleep.