Sunday, October 23

Yum yum yum

Look what we have growing on our tree.

Another thing to love about the lengthy Indian summer.

Sunday, October 16


Amazing but true: for once the cake was ready on time and consumed with glee.

Given the exceptionally large quantity of e-numbers, the biggest result of the day was that all the parents turned up to collect their little cherubs before the hyperactivity set in.


Wednesday, October 12

Work in progress

Bounce has a birthday tomorrow so I have been baking.

Given the wide range of e numbers, isn't it lucky all the party guests will go home immediately after they have eaten their cake?

Tuesday, October 11

Long time

So much time has passed since I was last here, it is almost embarrassing to return. Suffice to say there has been an enormous amount of stuff going on over the past three months that has demanded my time and attention and I haven't felt there was anything interesting to tell the world. Anyhow, now there are some answers to the summer of questions and hopefully there will soon be good news to share.

In order to shoehorn a gratuitous photograph into the post, here is my lunch.

Just because I'm eating salad (and exercising to a boring degree) in order to encourage my waistline to slim, there is no need for it to be ordinary. Rock on yummy flowers!

Tuesday, July 19


Tell me, Mr Murdoch, Master Murdoch and Ms Brooks, would your mothers be proud?

Friday, July 8


We are gathering the essentials for a few nights away, and watching the rain splosh down and hoping it might stop long enough for us to have a bit of beachside larking about.

As tradition dictates, I have been out to shop and bought a special item for each of the smalls to eat on holiday. Therefore this morning has been punctuated by excited little cries along these lines:

Bounce: "Yay cocoa pops!"
Lapin: "Watermelon!"
Bounce: "Chocolate!"
Lapin: "Nectarines!"

I think that says everything about their tastes.

Wednesday, June 8

Age bands

I have recently had a birthday, a day I embrace with celebration whilst I steadfastly ignore the number of years clocked up on the planet. I find this easy to do since, unless you are hitting a big number, no one is much interested in the exact details once you leave school and I rarely act my age as my sister is always keen to point out. (I think she regards this as a flaw but I do love to be frivolous.)

Today I have been forced to face my age with shocking abruptness whilst making a seemingly innocuous application for BBC tickets. It seems necessary for the bigwigs at the Beeb to know exactly where the audience comes from and their age range. Imagine my horror when I discovered the age band I now fall into stretches into another numerical decade, one which I am certainly not yet ready to acknowledge, far less actually embrace.

Oh the inexorable passage of time!

Monday, May 30


On a whim we decided to visit a local antiques fair this afternoon, decanting from the car we chatted about the items we especially hoped to find.

MrsP: I'm looking for some nice garden obelisk for the sweet peas to clamber up.
MrP: I'd like to find some racing badges.
The lovely Ms Tooting: I want a bargain box of beautiful buttons.
Lapin: Me too.
Bounce: I need a light sabre.

Cue much mirth and merriment, and Bounce's inevitable disappointment when none of the stalls had anything even remotely like it for sale. There was a large military sword which took his fancy but Bounce is not the sort of child who should be trusted with a large and sharp knife so we stood firm and walked away empty handed.

Sunday, May 22

The power of advertising

Since there are a plethora of seemingly wealthy advertising moguls, one can safely assume the marketing of a product has a significant impact on its sales. I gather teams of experts pore for months over plans for campaigns designed to get us to part with our hard earned cash in the right direction.

One can only imagine how long it took staff to come up with this poster, seen in a bar in Ireland..... wonders how popular the offer is and whether the potion lives up to its name. (Well one does if one has a smutty mind!)

Wednesday, May 18


A rose is a beautiful thing, and a scented one even more so, but look at this amazing bloom unfurling around no less than three buds.

None of the rest of the flowers on the bush are the same so it must be a miraculous one off, and all the more spectacular for it.

Monday, May 16


If you are lucky enough to have sophisticated friends who are celebrating a recent house move, you might be able to sit in the sun sipping champagne on a Monday morning.

If you are sensible you will remember you are in charge of a bicycle and will moderate your intake so as not to terrorise the roadside hedges on your way home.

What a great way to ease into the week.

Saturday, May 7


The air has been thick with suppressed moisture all day and yet it has taken until late in the evening for the clouds to burst, suddenly and with great ferocity. The falling rain is so rapid it sounds much like that from a very powerful shower, the drops bouncing high up off the floor.

Already the atmosphere smells cleaner and you can almost hear the plants sighing with relief as the dust is washed from their drooping leaves and there is a hint of damp heading towards their roots.

Naturally, now is the time I remember I didn't go back to water the greenhouse. I bet those little plantlets are wild with envy for those ouside.

Tuesday, April 26

How not to set a good example

Mr P returned from work today with the somewhat surprising news that he had seen a friend of ours engaged in the unlikely pursuit of running. At this news Bounce exclaimed "bl**dy hell" in just the right tone of surprise and sarcasm.

I am sorry to say neither Mr P or myself were capable of asking him not to use such foul language as we were helpless with barely suppressed giggles.

Wednesday, April 6


I think I have mentioned before my slightly cavalier attitude to deadlines and I'm ashamed to say this extends to birthdays. I have a great memory for dates and always know when a significant date is approaching but I have an uncanny knack of failing to do anything about it until too late. And since, even with the best will in the world and all my fingers crossed, Royal Mail sadly do not offer a same day service inevitably my cards and gifts are usually late. With some people this is a Disaster, an error of such magnitude that it may take weeks to recover but thankfully others are more sanguine about my failings. However, as it is my very bestest friend's (I say that knowing it will irritate her enormously) birthday today, I should like to wish her a very Happy Birthday and better luck catching the train home.


Monday, April 4


It was only as I started freewheeling down the hill, behind three children as easy to control as cats, that it occurred to me a flipperty skirt teamed with hold up stockings may not be the best cycling attire.

Wednesday, March 16

Blood, sweat and cheers

This week is one of few in the year when I put normal life on hold. In stark contrast to usual, I am very stationary, glued to the television most of the day and moving only when absolutely necessary.

Normally I like to think of myself as a genial host, the door is always open and anyone may come and join us at any time.

Not This Week.

This week I have a single and uninterrupted focus. I am revelling in the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival, the annual horseracing Olympics.

The phone lies unanswered, the door bell is resolutely ignored. Every afternoon this week, as the Channel 4 racing theme tune plays out across the digital network, I shall retreat to the sofa, armed with the day's edition of the Racing Post and concentrate until that tune fades out at tea time.

I love the muted hum of anticipation, the roar at each start, the precise angle of take off and landing as each fence is jumped, and the athletic stretch of horse and jockey as they face the mountainous hill and flatten in resolute gallop to get to the line first. I even love the post race analysis, the relaxed sway of the jockeys as the horses make their way back to be unsaddled, their camaraderie palpable in the steamy air.

With a depth of passion that largely baffles my friends, I shall be shouting encouragement at the jockeys and rocking gently backwards and forwards as if I am riding myself. I may even exuberantly leap to my feet if a spectacular final fence jump is required. One can only hope the neighbours will not see.

Keep on giving

Those blue irises have now given way to brash crocus who have burst through the soil to open their petals and turn their faces to the sun all day.

Just lovely.

Thursday, March 10


Such a horrible pink, why would you ruin a Mini like that?

Wednesday, March 9


Gazing at the sky on the way home we spied an enormous X made by the trails of two aeroplanes crossing at right angles. Lapin regarded this "big kiss" solemnly and then announced "That is how much I love you and Daddy."

She's a clever girl and knows how to keep her parents onside.

Tuesday, March 8

Team Work

Two rabbits, hopping around the garden.

Two bouncing children, apt to run willy nilly waving their arms.

One very sensible, slow moving adult, co-ordinating manoeuvres.

One hutch, door open with enticing food clearly visible.

In teamwork and smooth movements, the like of which has only previously been seen on One Man and His Dog, the two rabbits were encouraged safely back inside the hutch for bed.

Good effort.

Sunday, March 6


Never look a gift horse in the mouth, even if you only have a window box of space to spare.

These irises, currently standing proud by the front door, were a gift from a great friend who in turn was passing on the excesses of gardening gifts she had received from a compulsive over buying neighbour.

They are a lovely welcome home with the added bonus of memories of friendship.

Saturday, March 5

Shopping with Granny

This morning, Lapin was up and dressed well before anyone else had stirred. She was bouncing around with anticipation and could barely contain her impatience as the wait for Granny got longer and longer. MrP and Bounce went off to do boy things and still no sign. The smile wavered and excitement made way for that dreaded lament "I'm bored" as the minute hand went inexorably round the clock.

However, all her angst evaporated the second Granny arrived and they went straight out for an indulgent birthday shopping trip.

This is what returned, topped by the widest grin I have ever seen.

Lapin takes great interest in what she wears and is very precise in her taste, although the finished outfit is not always what one might expect. She is fascinated by my clothes and I can only assume that the purchase of these and these may have opened her eyes to the benefits of wild shoes. Long may it last.

Thursday, March 3


My day job (one of the few things I do that generates income) leads me to spend a fair bit of time in the car. I'm fully aware that as a single person pottering from here to there, I am not really doing my bit to have a teeny weeny carbon footprint but I do my best to reduce mileage where possible and try to shoulder the burden of guilt.

The lovely thing about going from place to place is seeing bits of the country you haven't seen before and becoming briefly acquainted with beautiful sights which nestle off the beaten track.

Lost on narrow meandering lanes bordered by tall hedges, I suddenly glimpsed this infamous Tor through a gateway and had to stop to admire its quiet majesty.

Previously in the day, I flew past Stonehenge, lurking ominously in the damp mist. (these photos are dreadful but the sun refused to shine, except on the Cathedral at Wells which was golden at lunchtime.)

Those sights were both arresting and magnificent but the most beautiful place I passed was the church at Doulting, whose spire is in stark contrast to the usual towers in Somerset.

Sadly on this occasion there was no opportunity to stop and look more closely but maybe one day I shall go that way again and have time to view the building more closely.

Wednesday, March 2

Don't believe everything you are told

Somebody said to me that it always rains in Ireland.

Obviously, when you are celebrating two birthdays with an extended family trip away, this rule is carelessly abandoned. Instead, the guinness flows, the sun shines and the craic is great.

Friday, February 11

Tough love

Sometimes this parenting lark is a little more tiresome than one would care to admit. It requires more patience or energy than you might have today but now is the time your effort is necessary.

For a while, an somewhat inexplicably, Bounce has been the class thug. He thumps people, pushes them off chairs and is generally most unpleasant in sudden outbursts during the day. He is immediately very apologetic and does understand that this isn't a nice way to behave but sadly hasn't learnt an alternative coping strategy when he is vexed.

After an especially bad week, an ultimatum was made, the kind you hope you won't have to enforce, and for a while it seemed to be working. I collected him at the end of each day without receiving any bad news and began to think we had turned a corner. Reckless, of course. Today he has again launched an unprovoked attack on an innocent classmate and so has had to miss the party.

Oh how the tears have flowed and they have been the heart wrenching sobs of real upset rather than the easily ignored roars of rage. I have sad with a heavy heart all evening, though I know that our decision is right and the effort will hopefully reap rewards.

Then, to cap it all, Lapin was grumpy at bedtime, despite an evening littered with special treats.

This discipline lark is pretty hard work for all of us.

Wednesday, February 9

Spring is springing

I know the occasional sunny day doesn't mean that we are galloping recklessly towards a long lazy summer but the evidence of change was brashly by the front door when I returned from the school run yesterday.

The neglected pot of crocus that sits, largely ignored, by the porch had suddenly burst open, turning their little faces to the sun and reflecting the light. Don't they make you feel the sun is almost on its way?

Monday, February 7

Pride before a fall

So there I was, finally getting it right and feeling pretty smug about it. All the pages had nice little ticks and a red remark at the bottom, confirming all the details were present and correct. The very serious computer system did its fancy thing (after a painful pause for thought) and then I discovered I had made a mistake. A great big howler of a mistake caused by not checking what I was doing carefully enough. And now I don't know how to rectify it without professional help.

That little smug smile I had earlier in the evening? He shot out the door faster than the blink of an eye. Curses.

Wednesday, February 2


Sorry for the long pause. Though there is much to say, by the time I have finished all the things that must be done, I'm afraid I lack the mental and physical energy required to string coherent thought together.

Back soon.

Sunday, January 23


One of the downsides of persistently refusing to purchase a tumble dryer (and being too miserly to buy excessive school uniform) is the need for ruthless washing efficiency. Given that most people who know me well would not list ruthless efficiency as one of my top skills, you can imagine the potential for disaster and for the washing pile to become a mountain.

Accordingly, Sundays are generally spent at one end or the washing process or the other. The hours while away as the various loads move from here..

..via here...

..and finally to here.

Though there is undoubtedly some satisfaction in a good job done, I can't help feeling that it is yet another nail in the coffin of my youth. Surely Sundays used to be more wild than this?

Wednesday, January 5


It is fact, sad and dull but true, that in order to lose weight one must use more energy than one consumes.


Tuesday, January 4

Brisk sea air

The great thing about living near the sea....

is being able to go in the winter when no one else is there.

Monday, January 3

More barometers of age

Rather alarmingly, one of my closest friends knows that a schooner is a glass for drinking a large measure of sherry.

Is that the sound of my youth whizzing past?

Sunday, January 2

Blazing a trail

Staying with the lovely Louise we planned a walk along the route of the Great Fire of London. The event is Lapin's school topic next term and she was eager to find out as much as possible before going back to school.

Naturally we started at the Monument, whose 202 feet in height matches the distance from the site of the start of the fire in Pudding Lane.

We stood at the bottom and admired the view...

..then climbed the stairs, all 311 of them...

..and admired the view in spite of the cloud. (There isn't a picture of the view from the top because the camera was left with those who declined the climb and I wasn't going up again.)

The mayor at the time was very dismissive when he heard the news - he thought the fire was of such little consequence that "a woman could piss on it and put it out." (Politicians have clearly always had the outstanding ability to put their foot in their mouths.) In fact the fire raged for three days, burning 13,000 homes and 87 parish churches but, incredibly, only six deaths were recorded.

Previously, Christopher Wren had been instructed to design and supervise the restoration of the original St. Paul's cathedral. He had fought for the old building to be demolished so he could implement some grand plans but his view had been over ruled by the clergy. So maybe he was pleased when the building was burnt to the ground shortly after it was encased in wooden scaffolding.

His new construction was certainly some phoenix to rise from the ashes.

Saturday, January 1

Shopping the Sales

A good barometer of age and outlook is the purchases one dashes out to make in the sales.

I fear I am old before my time.