Thursday, May 31, 2007


A wonderful thing happened on Tuesday evening.

I took Viola-Kid and Ocarina-Kid to hear the Fountain City Brass Band (winners of the North American Brass Band Championships), who were playing at my workplace. It was a great concert - the boys loved it. But - just before the band played the second-last piece, the conductor looked up at Viola-Kid (sitting in the balcony, so we wouldn't wriggle and squirm and put the adult audience off!) - and shouted up, "You wanna conduct this piece?"

With a yell of "YES!!!!!", Viola Kid shot along the balcony, through the swing doors and down the stairs of the auditorium, two at a time. And conducted the band as though he was quite accustomed to being there!

What a kind gesture. I was really touched. It made Viola-Kid so happy - he couldn't wait to tell SuperSpouse when we got home after the concert, and he was still smiling the next morning! I am showing the photo of Joe Parisi, the conductor, so you can see the very nice, very kind man who made my son so happy.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Readers will remember SuperSpouse's trips to Croydon?

Meet the workers, meticulously planning the trip on their pre-trip excursion. They were having a "short week" break to plan a one-day trip. It was an exhausting campaign...

SuperSpouse is the one on the right. The other one shall remain anonymous.

Note that I was sent this image by a third member of the Organising Committee. He shall remain anonymous, too. I know he supplied champagne on their jaunt to Paris for lunch. Maybe he administered the same poison before this photo, too?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

"Cookers clean!", SuperSpouse said defiantly, when I commented that beefburger grease was pouring off the baking trays, down the cooker doors because he had the baking trays tilted too much. Indeed, there was even grease on the kitchen floor. Yeurghhh!

Now, don't get me wrong - I love coming home to a cooked meal. It's one of the nicest things a husband can do for a wife. My mother-in-law used to be envious of me, I might add. It was just the - well, the GREASINESS of everything, last night!

And you know something? It took me 100 minutes and seven Brillo pads to clean the cooker, and I swear the blooming cooker never lifted a finger to help! If cookers clean, why do I spend so much time wiping surfaces in the kitchen?

Yesterday morning I was shanghai'ed into arranging a sleepover for last night. That was Viola-Kid's doing. He and his pal had been discussing it at school, but omitted to mention it to us boring grown-ups. Still, it worked out. We had the sleepover, and this morning I took four little boys to the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow. The museum has just reopened after a makeover. The boys were entranced. (They also loved the helium balloons that were being given away. Especially when Cello-Kid remembered that inhaling helium does weird things to your voice.... )
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Oh, I nearly forgot to mention - Cello-Kid and I had the ritual "back-to-back" height-measuring contest just now. I'm still taller, but only just. Watch this space. Last night I dreamt his voice had broken, but it was still treble this morning ...

image from http://boudicca.mu.nu/archives/Atlanta%2005%20011.jpg

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Owch! When you have a problem with stiffness in your neck and shoulders, then gardening isn't a very helpful activity.

This afternoon, I used the shears to cut down some of the longest grass so that mowing it will be easier - next time we have a dry day.

The rain eased off after tea, so although the grass was still wet, the borders were just right for planting things. So - I finished weeding the border so I could plant what I bought at the Plant Sale earlier today. And I did plant it all. The border looks hugely tidier, and quite promising. As for me - knackered. My neck, shoulders and arms are so SORE ...
It's been a BB morning. The Junior Boys Brigade has gone off to an outdoor centre for fun, games and a sausage sizzle. Or, as a friend suggested, it might be a sausage drizzle, because it is pouring with rain. Meanwhile, the Boys Brigade Company Section had a plant sale, mercifully indoors. The plants were flying off the shelves. Cello-Kid went back and forth carrying plants to customers' cars.

We fitted in a trip to the charity shop with the last of Auntie's clothes, on the way home. It's strange to realise that SuperSpouse won't be going to visit her at the care-home this weekend.

SuperSpouse is sleepy - hardly surprising, as we've had a busy week. Still, I've made tomato soup which I am about to put in the blender, so that should line our tummies and cheer us up a bit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I didn't have a headache this morning - but I still felt lousy. Delayed reaction after the hectic time we've been having, I imagine.

SuperSpouse had a wonderful time whizzing round Croydon - but he's exhausted now. If you listen carefully, you'll probably hear the stifled cries of a small sherry and a packet of crisps, pleading with us to have some supper then get an Early Night.

(A WHAT? Early Nights aren't in our repertoire!)

Meanwhile, the boys are settling down to sleep. Ocarina Kid announced that his name was "McCuddly". I like that!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Auntie's funeral took place today. This is a picture of her, taken on her 90th birthday last year.


Her friend came to stay with us overnight, and left this evening. The funeral was a "celebration", as much as a funeral can be a celebration - of a long life, lived to the full. All three of our boys attended the funeral, and they were very well-behaved.

Tomorrow it's my uncle's funeral, down in Kent (the opposite end of the UK). Also tomorrow, SuperSpouse is going down south to ride trams in Croydon with his enthusiasts' group. I couldn't have gone to Uncle's funeral, in the circumstances. My mother's going down with my brother, and my father is going to respite care - the care-home where he spent several months earlier this year. It's the only way my mother could leave him, since he's too dependent to be left at home - even with visiting carers - and too frail to make the journey himself.

SuperSpouse and Pseudo-Supermum are shattered, tonight. We each had our own worries about how the day would turn out.

I had arranged to meet up with a colleague and a girl who had recently left our department, for a farewell meal this evening. But the recently-departed colleague was ill, and my colleague brought a visiting scholar along instead. So I did get my evening meal, but despite good food and pleasant company, I developed a fearful headache - sheer reaction to the tension of the day. I could hardly bear to get in my car and drive home. I had nothing stronger than coffee and Coca-Cola all day, but when I got home, I had to resort to the extra-strong pain-killers that I keep for dire emergencies. I figured it was better to write off the rest of today, than to find I still felt ill tomorrow.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Everyone wants a bit of me ...

... as you see, I'm coming apart. (This image is from http://www.toyrepairs.co.uk/ ) I am just so tired. I've been pulled in all directions. All I want is a cup of tea - and then bed!

Please don't be alarmed by the picture. Visit the Toy Repairs website and you'll see that dolls, at least, can be restored as good as new with a little bit of TLC!

As it happens, I seem to have caused concern to one of my regular readers by pausing mid-post last night. So I hope that you'll be reassured that I am really, truly, here - with all parts correctly assembled.

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Big sighs of relief in our family - we've delivered our BB Plant Sale leaflet allocation at last! It was lovely and sunny after the parade today, so we took advantage of (a) being in the locality and (b) the boys being in uniform, to go and get the task done.
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Back home, I did what all supermums do, and made a nice beef casserole for lunch, followed by a steamed apple sponge pudding for afters. Then, strictly as a chilling-out activity, I got a Dundee cake all prepared to go in the oven when the casserole came out.

No research has been done for a few days. I've had not a minute to myself. I'm afraid this afternoon has been spent catching up on correspondence and form-filling, laundry, and trying to remember how you draw a pentagon with lines of a given length ... I was GOOD at maths. I took my O-level early and got a respectable mark. But it was more than two-thirds of my life ago.

(The image was borrowed from http://net-burst.net/, an evangelical Christian website. I searched for an image of a puzzled woman, and this one just leapt out at me.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Multi-tasking the multi-tasking isn't enough! Everyone wants a piece of me and there isn't enough to go around.

Do you know, I worked on Monday but I was actually AT HOME in the evening.

Tuesday - time off in lieu so I could fit in a doctor's appointment, a small amount of research, family dental check-ups - and play for a church service at night.

Wednesday - work, boys to Boys' Brigade - and play for a church service at night.

Thursday - work, and choir practice at church in the evening. No time to go shopping this week - do online Tesco order then panic about meeting with research supervisor tomorrow. (Panic, panic, PANIC!!)

Friday - work, then Boys' Brigade - at church in the evening.

Saturday - wedding at church in the afternoon then entertaining friends at home.

Sunday - only church in the morning. But we still have leaflets to deliver - it rained too hard last Sunday, and I haven't had a free minute since then ...

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You don't want to know what next week is like. There's Auntie's funeral on Tuesday, which means offering a bed to her former best friend on Monday night and possibly on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning is a major problem as I have a meeting at 9 am and SuperSpouse is flying to Croydon, early. Need I go on? Well, I can't! I'm too busy panicking about tomorrow ... This life of mine is CRAZY, I tell you!

Image from http://www.projectanime.com/sailormoon/paper_doll.jpg, with thanks.

Saturday, May 05, 2007



Make that two

Yesterday, my husband's aunt died. Today, less than 24 hours later, my own uncle joined her at the pearly gates.

Howard had cerebral palsy, but - proof that our family has long-living genes - he still made it to the grand old age of 81. He lived with my grandmother until about 25 years ago, when she herself was in her mid-eighties. Then he went to a home for the disabled, where he became the longest-standing, and the oldest resident.

Again - in keeping with the rest of the family - he had creativity in his genes. He used to re-cane chairs for a living, in his younger days. Nana had a long shed in her back yard, and that was his workshop.

When I was a child, he had a motorised invalid carriage (nothing like the scooters everyone rides these days!), in which he'd ride down to the sea-front in Broadstairs, just to enjoy the view.

He used to have a "writing teacher" - I suppose she was what we'd now call a literacy tutor - but I strongly suspect that he was dyslexic before it was a diagnosable condition. His intelligence was in no doubt - he could beat anyone at a game of draughts!

The family genuinely believe that Howard was partly what kept Nana going. He was company for her, and she knew he depended on her. She wasn't at all happy - and neither was he, particularly - when she became more frail and he had to go to the care-home.

Because it's a public holiday this weekend, neither death can be registered until Tuesday. I think it's highly unlikely I'll be able to go down to Kent for the funeral. Apart from which, I have responsibilities here. Similarly, my mother can't leave my frail, very infirm father on his own - and another of her brothers can't leave his own wife on her own because she also needs looking after. Howard's funeral will of necessity be small. But it's still a sad time for the family. Of the seven siblings, he's the first one to go.

Image of lilies thanks to http://www.olegvolk.net/
I hope that http://www.mvgazette.com/ doesn't mind my using the chair re-caning picture, which reminds me very poignantly of Uncle Howard in his younger days.



Friday, May 04, 2007


THE END OF AN ERA

SuperSpouse's last aunt died this evening. As well as advanced Alzheimer's disease, followers of this blog will recall that she had a heart attack about a month ago. She was well enough to be sent back to the care-home where she'd been living the past couple of years, but she wasn't really back even to the state she'd been in before the attack. A couple of weeks later, she developed a chest infection, and this week we've really just been waiting for the news.

SuperSpouse got back from Croydon last night and went straight to sit with her through the night. He got home at 5 am this morning. I'd been waiting for him, so I got very little sleep, too. I took the boys to school so he could sleep on, then went to work - rather late, but unavoidably so.

I've told the boys that, considering the only people she remembered were her mother and father, sister and brother, then it was good to know that now she would be reunited with them again, and that people didn't suffer from Alzheimer's or any other diseases once they got to heaven.

She'll also be reunited with her husband. They didn't get on brilliantly in latter years, and I'm waiting for a theologian to explain to me how souls might possibly interact with one another in these circumstances!

No details of the funeral yet. The death can't be registered until after the public holiday on Monday.

Image courtesy of wikipedia.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


BOYS AND BOGS

Yes, you read me right. I went and picked up the boys from Boys' Brigade last night. First we had the "Ah wiz bullied" routine. (Ocarina-Kid fell over in the park and they laughed at him. I told him firmly that it didn't count as bullying - indeed, he might have laughed if it happened to someone else.)

Then I asked who had put a wooden ice-lolly stick down the toilet earlier that night. Silence. I went into somewhat graphic detail about what happens when other things can't get flushed away because there's a blockage. Silence. I commented calmly that one of them would, I was sure, eventually tell me who did it.

Finally, it emerged that Viola-Kid might be coming close to a confession. He agreed that it hadn't been a good idea and he wouldn't do it again.

"Oh! I thought you were saying I had done it!", Ocarina-Kid chirped up from the back of the car.

Quick as a flash, Viola-Kid spun round. "Did you put your lolly stick down the toilet too?"

Don't you love kids?

Image from fixzit.com.au

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE?

SuperSpouse went to Croydon on Monday, and returns Thursday evening. He went with a tram-buff friend to visit a third tram-buff friend.

Today they went by Chunnel to Paris. Out came the champagne, apparently. Not so much "last of the summer wine" as "first of the summer champagne", then. Maybe you have to be British to understand that one. "Last of the summer wine" is a TV programme ...

(Image from http://grail.oise.utoronto.ca/journal/cbrett/archives/champagne.jpg)
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Yesterday, I got the sad news that SuperSpouse's elderly aunt, having survived a heart-attack three weeks ago, is now very poorly with a chest infection. We don't honestly expect her to last much longer. It seems as though her system has had enough. In SuperSpouse's absence, I'm the one ringing the care-home or waiting for news.

At least the two younger boys and I are at home tomorrow. Because of the Holyrood elections, their school is closed, and I have to take leave to be home with them. The same elections mean no choir practice tomorrow night, either. It'll be strangely peaceful. (Hopefully ...)