Thursday, December 31, 2009


I should explain that Croydon Curley is an elderly gentleman with a passion for trams, and Croydon trams in particular.

What does one give a man who has everything he needs? Why, a Curley Cushion of course!
Inspired by thc liveries of the old and new Croydon trams, I created a double-sided cushion cover reflecting these liveries. Behold!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jamie Oliver's Christmas magazine had a nice gingerbread house to make. Brilliant, I thought - that will make a change from Asda's Frosty the Snowman recipe. To the left is what his house looked like.

Mine took blooming HOURS! And is all lop-sided. What a waste of an afternoon and evening. It took every bit as long as Frosty the Snowman, and I'm no more satisfied with it than I was with Frosty last year and the year before.

Let me tell you more about my day. I've baked, made soup, done a bit of patchwork for a late Christmas present, done laundry, been to church and played for half a service ... (the band played the other half). Came home, worked on the stupid gingerbread house, and listened whilst civil war raged above me. SuperSpouse had waded in to sort it out, but I don't think a saint could have brought things to a satisfactory resolution.

I haven't got a headache today. That's a plus. However, I have a stiff neck which is so sore it's making me feel nauseous, so I'll have to take painkillers all the same.

Santa doesn't want to come to our house tonight. And I wish I were in bed, and it was 24 hours hence. Bah, humbug! I'll say it again, a bit louder -
Bah, humbug!!!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Doctor PseudoSupermum graduated from the University of Glasgow yesterday! And now, thanks to modern technology, you can see it happening.

  • First, turn on the sound.
  • Click this link
  • Next, click on Wednesday 2nd December. There's a ceremonial procession of academics first, then a Latin hymn and prayer, and then the graduation itself begins.
  • I'm the 15th person to get a degree, and it's 8 minutes in from the start! We had a great day - very exciting and the weather was obligingly cold but DRY! SuperSpouse and Cello-Kid were in attendance.

Since I only got 2 visitors' tickets, we had fireworks at home when the other two boys got back from school. A wise move - they were completely unperturbed to have missed my Big Day, and watched the relevant minute online this evening!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

On the eve of our wedding, I ironed.
On the morning of the birth of our firstborn, I ironed.
Can't remember what I did before going to hospital for the second and third.
Tonight, the eve of my doctoral graduation ...

Now, WOULD you believe it?! SuperSpouse thought he'd surprise me (he did) by doing ALL the ironing. So I'm deprived of my ritual calming-down activity!

Quick, where's the small sherry and a piece of that delicious cake I baked last weekend?

MEANWHILE, flying high ... I've been shortlisted for a travelling scholarship and elected to Council of the Royal Musical Association. I can hardly believe these things are happening to me. There's depth to the quiet librarian.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Who said people with hearing aids are deaf? Naturally, we're not deaf. If we were completely deaf, there'd be no point in hearing aids!

So, we have hearing impairment. In my case, only mild hearing loss. But I tell you, my ears are practically ringing after an hour with Piano Kid (Mark 1) hammering the keys right beside me.

My ears (and nerves) were eventually jangling so badly that I took the blasted hearing aids OUT and put ON headphones, to try to deaden the sound. My headphones let in too much sound, it would appear.

Don't get me wrong - he's very good. But sight-reading, loud, at 11.30 pm at night?

M - E -R - C - Y !!! (Is anyone listening?)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Well, there's a strange thing. While Pseudo Supermum was busy being a full-time working librarian (not to mention church organist) wife and mother, calmly getting her PhD thesis written, preparing for the viva, doing the corrections, all in her 'spare time', ...
... she could have been financing her studies more interestingly, by emulating Belle de Jour!

Suddenly Pseudo Supermum feels strangely old-fashioned, conventional, positively boring. What a dull and routine life she's led.

Pseudo Supermum's mother didn't know she was doing a doctorate at all.

However, the news that her daughter is now a doctor, will have come as less of a shock than the news that La Maman de la Belle de Jour is to receive this week! Read the Times Online article here.

Daughters do have this way of surprising their mothers, don't they?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The coughing, spluttering one is going to have a band practice with his mates this afternoon. I think he's going stir-crazy being cooped up in the house. This is a Good Sign - working towards a return to school on Monday.

Meanwhile, his big brother is off to a choir practice, little brother to a birthday party, and SuperSpouse on his way back from the party-run, leaving me awaiting Mr Tesco. Oh, the exCITEment of my life!

And it's only 3.15 pm. I've washed, folded, ironed laundry, baked cake, made pizza (well, the bread-machine helped ...), and polished the dining-room. Now to mend that broken necklace of mine. Something for me at last!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Viola-Kid might, quite possibly, have swine-flu. Oh, joy!

Figure this one:
  • SuperSpouse cannot go near him for fear he catches it. (72, heart condition, 2 recent major operations ...)
  • Saxophone Kid wants to avoid getting it
  • Cello Kid will come home terrified of catching it
  • Pseudo-Supermum is a healthy adult so must therefore run around like a headless chicken ensuring no-one else gets sick.
  • Everyone needs Pseudo-Supermum, and if she gets sick, there's nowhere she can be quarantined apart from the carpeted but cluttered and incredibly dusty attic. An inviting prospect.

Sadly, I can't attend my uncle's funeral - I can't leave Glasgow if I have a sick boy whose father is not allowed near him!


This evening I phoned directory enquiries twice, NHS24 twice, Mum twice, Aunt once, National Rail Enquiries, Scotrail Enquiries, went to Asda for Nurofen and more soft drinks, put two loads of washing through, emptied the dishwasher, and had two attempts at creating slides for next week's PowerPoint. "Honestly, I don't know what's wrong with you. You're being ridiculous. What are you getting so uptight about?"


Quite so. What on earth could be upsetting me?! I'm just being a silly woman.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dress to impress:-

One satisfactory shopping trip! I just need the hair and maybe some uncharacteristic make-up and four well-groomed males to accompany me. Working on it - two voluntarily went to the hairdresser's today, and one last week. I should know - I was chauffeur!

This is my graduation gift from my loving SuperSpouse - the final piece in my collection of college and university crests!

Collection?, you ask. Well, yes. My guilty past encompasses Durham, Exeter, Aberystwyth, and Trinity College London. And the McAulay crest as well, naturally. But this latest one is really rather splendid. I feel as though I ought to be sipping a fine sherry as I gaze upon it, Daah-ling!

Instead, I shall apply myself to the question of cultural nationalism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in order to share my wisdom with some students in a couple of weeks' time!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sometimes I get a lot done in a night. Once the co-codamol kicked in for the headache that had bugged me all day, I was up and raring to go.

  • Church choir music planned for Advent and Epiphany
  • Phoned home to speak to Mum
  • Trip to Banbury researched but not booked (British Rail ticket offices close at 10.30 pm for advance bookings, whilst I was trying to be clever and beat the postal strike at 10.55 pm ...
  • Gaelic homework done
  • And now a nice little glass of wine before bed. Yes, it's "after midnight".


I was very moved by a letter which arrived from Mum today, in which she sent a cheque to pay for my PhD hood. My father died 17 months ago, but Mum wrote that I was to regard the hood as a gift from her and Dad, because he'd have wanted to buy this for me. I nearly cried when I read it. She'd signed it, "From Mum (and Dad)." I never thought I'd see that again. Thanks, Mum - and thanks, Pa! You see, Pa? I did it, eventually!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There! One successful thesis. I went out early this morning to collect it from the bookbinder, and dashed to the University at lunchtime to hand it in.
  • *
    Dr Pseudosupermum now feels entitled to review the status quo:-

    Thesis accepted;
  • Thesis filed electronically;
  • Thesis bound & delivered;
  • Gown, hood and photographer ordered;
  • Party venue booked;
  • Still to buy party dress and invitations -

Ah, the sweet smell of success!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's Official - Pseudosupermum becomes Dr Pseudosupermum

Both my examiners have declared themselves happy. So now there's nothing to do but sign up for the gown and hood, and investigate whether we can afford a celebratory party! (And where, and how.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Introducing my dining-room alcove. Home within a home! (Would it make you completely sick to learn that the files on the middle shelf are not only alphabetically arranged outside, but inside too?)
I need to write some abstracts for conferences at which I hope to present papers. But maybe not tonight.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Image from, with grateful thanks! This is a Grand Finale from their website, and I've chosen it because ...
..... I've had a favourable response to my revisions from my American external examiner! Which leaves only ONE more response before I can really, truly call myself Doctor McAulay. Keep watching this space ...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


As I said, I'm not going to start tweeting onto Pseudosupermum. Too much hassle. However, a nice man from Virgin (mobile phone) talked me through setting up my mobile to Tweet directly onto my professional blog. You know what the problem was? (Apart from it being not in the slightest bit intuitive, so I'd never have guessed it could be done from the mobile end rather than the internet on my computer.) Virgin Mobile didn't know I was over 18.

I did, at that point, advise him that my eldest son was now 16, so I thought I was probably somewhat over 18 myself! But they had to do the phone equivalent of a credit check to establish that I was an adult homeowner!

I'm not at all sure I shall be tweeting onto my library blog on a regular basis - it all seems such a fiddly operation - but at least, if I am away from the office, I can now get postings onto the blog if I need to. One small step for a librarian - one giant step for ...

... no. I've got that wrong somewhere. But it could be useful, I suppose.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Aaah, stuff it! I've tried to get a Twitter rss feed going to this blog, but all I get is "Net Temps" in the Blogger RSS feed layout box (eh?) and the same original tweet that I did last night. There will be no tweeting on this blog. Life is too short.

Ever felt you'd had a weekend with NOTHING to show for it?

Ah. I haven't got my rss feeds sorted out yet - they're not updating from Twitter. Hmmm.

To be continued ...

Saturday, October 03, 2009


So I'm not in Facebook now. Considering Cello-Kid had a classmate boasting that he'd "befriended" me earlier this week, it's probably just as well I deactivated Facebook. Means the lad was just winding up Cello-Kid.

Indeed, the whole CLASS threatened to befriend me. Eh? What on earth for?! Anyway, they can't.

So how am I to keep up with friends? There had to be another way. I already have a professional twitter. Now I have a personal one, too. There is still a slight problem, though. I can't send text messages to Twitter via my PAYG Virgin mobile. I've emailed Virgin to ask why not. I suspect it has to do with short codes and Virgin PAYG not accepting them, but I'll let them tell me that themselves before I'll accept that as a reason!

What's more, I can post to Twitter on the net, but how do I let friends know I have this new Twitter, and how do I find my friends?

So far, all I've managed to do is set up the Twitter account and set up an rss feed from Twitter to Pseudo Supermum. And that's the extent of my expertise! Time for wine, supper and an early night.

(Postscript. Aw shucks! I'm not convinced my rss feed is updating. Too much technology!)

All the new students arrived, and it's great to see all those enthusiastic, eager young faces - but how many library induction sessions did I run? I lost count! I'm so very, very tired. I only had two splitting headaches. Too much caffeine, several painkillers, and excessive carbohydrates. However, after a week of rushing around from pillar to post, what did I do to finish off the week?

Took the boys to Boys Brigade, went home and checked my thesis revisions, went to the uni library to format the pdf again, collected the boys from Boys Brigade, then resubmitted the thesis to my examiners. Phew! Talk about a flamboyant end to the week!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I've just saved the Word document listing all my thesis revisions and corrections, and will be doing a new pdf of the revised thesis within the next few days.

I would like to hope, cautiously, that "that's it"! I do hope and pray that the examiners will pronounce themselves satisfied!

My supervisor did say, at the end of the viva, that "Knowing Karen, she'll get that lot done in two days." I didn't. But with all that's been going on in my life, to have done it in one month rather than two, is good enough for me. So long as it's good enough for them too!
Here's me, after our "Two Knees and a PhD" summer. I think I've aged somewhat, new hairdo or not. Compared to me before I even started it. There must be a moral there somewhere!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well, I had a Facebook account. Was told off for being an embarrassing parent. (It's not cool to comment on your teenage son's postings.) I've deactivated Facebook.

Presumably, anyone who wants to keep up with me will visit PseudoSupermum or email me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let me share with you a blog by an Indian IT person who got a lacewing beetle in his ear:-

I have Rohit to thank for the HappyEars jpg on my penultimate posting. He kindly gave me permission to use the jpg, so I thought I'd share some of his entertaining writing with you. Let no-one dare suggest that IT people don't have a sense of humour!

Woke up to a new dawn - SuperSpouse having had another bad night (2.15 am, bang-bang on the wall: bring the icepack!). Ah well! Life still goes on, so I got the boys off to school, gratefully opened the door to the delivery-man bringing CelloKid's birthday present, then went for money for the roofer.

You know the expression, ODTAA? The roofer found a wasp-nest. So now the pest control people are booked, too. You try to book via the City Council, and are told that (a) they'll come within 5 days and (b) not if your wasp-nest is over 20 foot off the ground. Wasps are canny - they go for the eaves ....? You book a private firm, same price but they'll come today and aren't bothered if the wasps are 25 foot off the ground. Good!

Had hoped to do some work on my thesis revisions so as not to waste time, but there hasn't BEEN any time in all the domesticity. How can stay-at-home wives write about being a peaceful little oasis of tranquility for their husbands and children? I'm not a peaceful little oasis of anything at all. More like a mini whirlwind, and not a warm, gentle little zephyr at that!
Spent the afternoon peacefully working on a library guide as suggested by my boss. Yes, I can work from home very productively indeed. Doesn't happen often, but I've proved it can be done!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"The bells, the bells, they're driving me mad!"

Yesterday morning started inauspiciously. SuperSpouse was nursing his painful new knee in bed, having had a bad night. I should have been at work, but I wasn't. Went downstairs to sort breakfast and the boys' packed lunches, and turned to empty the washing machine. Everything was curiously wet. Not damp, dripping wet. Hmmmm....

No lights on the machine, nothing. Looked out the maintenance contract, phoned - but it was too early, and there was no-one there. You never get a same-day callout, but the closer to start-of-day, the better your chances of a next-day call. Then I thought. (Dangerous, this.)

No lights. No electricity, perhaps? Changed the washing machine fuse, and bingo! Seemingly back in business again.

But as the washing machine obligingly spun its load a second time, the ringing started. No wonder the Hunchback of Notre Dame cried. Only with me, it wasn't the washing machine, and it wasn't the bells driving me mad, it was my left hearing-aid. Ringgggggggggg! Wheeeeeeeee! Wail! Ouch. You don't have to be hard of hearing to understand this, but it helps.

I moved through to the dining room. It whistled. Somewhat later, I loaded the washing-machine again. As it filled up, the ringing started again. Moved my head - more ringing. Went upstairs - same. Back at the computer, I scrolled the mouse. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Need I go on? Today, I'm still at home. SuperSpouse is still in bed, perhaps a little less sore than yesterday. But I've been to the audiometry clinic and they replaced my left hearing-aid. Like a headache, you only know how much it hurt when it goes away. I can shake my head without the whistling in my ear. Thank God for that!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Peace reigns! SuperShrimp is at a playdate. ViolaKid is playing electric guitar, almost certainly loudly, in Someone Else's House (yeah!), and CelloKid has vanished upstairs into the embraces of his laptop. Does it get any better than this?

Cava and Cake (Asda "Celebration" cake) will be enjoyed later on tonight, if everyone is feeling sufficiently friendly and chilled out to co-exist in the same space for a half an hour or so.

Think I'll investigate applying for a Fellowship of my professional association (CILIP) once I can officially call myself Doctor. Just want the cap, hood and diploma first ...

And I've checked, and Graduation is at the beginning of December. I shall try to get the revisions done well BEFORE 1st November, to be on the safe side.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Well, I did it. One PhD, part-time in my spare time, submitted on time. I had the viva today and can announce to the world that, subject to a few revisions, I passed! (Don't call me "Doctor" yet, folks - I want to get the revisions done and my name on the graduation list first!)

I'm shattered. I have a headache and no inclination to drink the Rose Cava that I got in specially for tonight. But, after a good sleep, maybe I'll feel better... the Cava will still be there tomorrow night, after all.

The viva? Took 50 minutes, wasn't as nerve-wracking as I'd feared, but I was very glad I'd prepared for it so carefully.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Gnashing of teeth, weeping and wailing

Super-Shrimp and I took Viola-Kid to Stirling for his music course this morning. ('Don't come in with me, Mum. I can DO IT MYSELF! Just leave me outside.' I did go in, though.)

Stirling Castle was next on the agenda. But I couldn't get back the way I'd come, because of a diversion, which took me on a big 4-mile circle back to the University. With the Irishman on the sat-nav screaming at me to 'Turn round, turn round' - fat lot of use considering there was no way I could go over a bridge that was only open in the opposite direction.

A passer-by told me I'd better get on the motorway and go back to Stirling that way, which I did. The castle car-park was full. A parking attendant handed me a futile, dark little leaflet telling me there was a park-and-ride ... but not telling me where it was!

So we had a Burger King at Stirling services, and went home. Super-Shrimp was very happy with his burger meal, Simpson's comic and chocolate bar. What a relief to have an accomodating, accepting 10-year old!

The Salvation Army had NOT collected the bags of charity stuff that they'd asked me to leave on the doorstep (this being Monday), so later on in the afternoon, I sallied forth to a different charity shop. By the time I got there, it was shut. As was the next one on the way home.

What a huge waste of a precious day's leave!!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

For a girl, I'm quite mechanically-minded.

My sat-nav charger wouldn't fit in the car cigarette-lighter socket drawer. I got the front off the drawer.

But then, oh horror, it wouldn't charge at all. I am stupidly proud of myself for thinking of checking the lighter fuse under the dashboard. The fuse was missing - which means it's being missing for over 6 years, since I never accessed that fuse board before.

£1.50 well-spent, I'd say. The sat-nav charging light is now lit up. Yeah! This means I can go out to unfamiliar territory on Monday morning, and there's a good chance I'll get to everywhere on my list and then home again safely.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

They just don't get it! Mum has apparently finished her thesis and handed it in, so - what more could there possibly be to do? Prepare for a viva? Surely not.

What they don't understand is that I now have to read, learn and inwardly digest the relevant writings of my examiners, and then read, learn and be able to regurgitate all 100,000 words of my own.

So - excuse me, but does this not imply I might need some time for private study?

In a word - No. I can forget that. I closed that textbook at least ten times in half an hour, until I am so exceptionally weary and distracted that I am going to close it, finally, and concede defeat. Does anyone in my family care that I'm getting very edgy and anxious because I cannot get near my reading?!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Aaaargh! Got home from the 9-5, took boys to climbing centre, back home and supervised Small-Fry's piano practice, fetched big boys from climbing centre, had tea.

Dashed out to buy a new battery charger and rechargable batteries before boys battered each other to bits over the hot question of Who Used The Last Battery on the X-box controller ... (!) Not to mention Coca-Cola which was apparently a necessity. ('That's four for me and one each for them', says genius-rated Cello-Kid. Eh? I thought he was good at maths ... or is ethics his Achilles Heel?)

Watched one TV programme. Chased Small-Fry to bath etc. It is nearly 23.30 pm and I haven't read a single WORD of the book I'm meant to be reading.

How on earth do my family think I'm going to do what's needed for my viva and sleep, eat, keep the whole domestic edifice going and go out to earn a living?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Any mum with three boys will understand my motivation in producing this A-Z of Bathroom Etiquette:-

  • Aerosol masks smells

  • Boys can do all the following stuff:-

  • Condensation causes mildew – open window!

  • Dad’s throne (a frame with handrails) stays put

  • Eco-warriors have quick, Economical showers

  • Flannels are there to be used!

  • Gratitude (what you get from Mum)

  • Hair does not get left in bath or basin

  • Independence is encouraged

  • Just do the same away from home!

  • Knock if door is shut!

  • Loo-brushes are for anyone to use

  • Mum appreciates your help

  • No-one likes to find a dirty loo

  • Open window after a shower or bath

  • Pee IN the loo not behind it!

  • Quick showers save water & electricity

  • Replace empty bottles, toothpaste, & loo rolls

  • Sponge shelf and Squeeze sponge after shower

  • Towels have homes; Tidemarks get cleaned

  • Underwear goes in dirty basket

  • Very bad smells need aerosol spray

  • Windows can be opened!

  • X (kisses for helpful boys)

  • You read it here – now do it!

  • Zebras don’t need to know any of this.

Posting from

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pseudo Supermum is feeling glum. Awaiting viva date, and not shortlisted for the post I applied for.

Nearly, but not yet a doctor, and condemned to be 'just a librarian' a bit longer! It's a bit like going up a flight of stairs, a step at a time, getting to the half-landing, then realising that the stairs round the corner are steeper - or turn into a ladder with rungs missing.

It may be some years since someone outside our department told one of my colleagues that they were just a librarian - but it just sums up how our profession is regarded. Notwithstanding my professional qualifications.
Image from LoftShop, with thanks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Viola-Kid, aka Guitar-Kid, loves his new guitar pedal. Now he wants earplugs. Why? So he can play loud and not damage his hearing...

I reminded him that the volume control would work just as well!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The book that was never published

Only a librarian would get interested in this! A book proposal was published in 1781. The book was never published. End of story?

Not for me! I want to know at what point the would-be author abandoned his project. I need to go back to Edinburgh to peruse various old documents and records. I'm only just back at work full-time after being at home with Convalescent Super-Spouse, and I was in Edinburgh on Friday - I can hardly disappear off there again!

But I love quiet days spent researching in libraries. It makes me happy. And I meet interesting scholars. Who could want for more?

This evening I went to the library in Glasgow just to check an annotated bibliography about writings on Scottish music. My 1781 man wasn't there. That's exactly the outcome I was looking for!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh my, isn't TV a great way to waste time? Last night, I indulged myself by watching TWO programmes in a row. (Horror!)

First came Wife Swap - quite civilised this time, and you could see where each wife was coming from. Then a programme about lazy, idle spoiled teenagers, used to sponging off Mum, but forced to live in a house together and experience some 'real-life' challenges set by their parents.

Tonight, it was the Hotel Inspector. The annoying thing is the repetition at the start of each quarter of the programme after the commercial breaks. But it's quite interesting viewing, and tucks in some sensible observations about customer service alongside the comments about decor and good management.

Did this enable me to get a lot of reading done? What do you think?! (I still had to run Mum's Taxi Service and Mum's Laundry Service, after all!)

However, the good news is that a contact I made at the National Library of Scotland last Friday has informed me that someone at NLS has found something for me - hopefully the missing document! - and I am hoping that the promised copy will drop into my in-tray at work tomorrow morning. Please, St Anthony, please, please p-l-e-a-s-e!!! let it be a copy of the missing document, ie, the prodigal printed book proposal!

Image from Olathe Libraries, with thanks!

Crash, bang - there I was, about to close down the blog for the night, when there was a sound like dustbin lids being clattered outside. Correct. Next-door's cat has caught a field-mouse and was chasing it around our galvanised steel incinerator out on the patio. Hopefully he'll have taken it next-door as a trophy by the time we get up tomorrow morning!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My mundane life

  1. Taxi boys to town
  2. Laundry / cleaning
  3. Taxi Sax-Kid to climbing centre
  4. Online Tesco order
  5. Taxi back from climbing centre
  6. Courier SuperSpouse's choir music from town
  7. Monitor convalescent's exercise regime
  8. Cook

"What do you have to do tonight?", he asked.

"Research reading."

"But you need to chill!"

"But you lot have left me no time for reading during the day ..."

There were eight bullet-points above. I remembered to remind them to thank me twice. M is for Mother, not Maid. And not Mug.

This comes from the Companions of St - friends, please note that he's holding a book. My book, hopefully. (Well, it belongs to the National Library of Scotland but they've lost it...) Should I sign up to the Companions of St Anthony, if he's the patron saint of Lost Things? But I'm a Church of Scotland organist - what would the Presbyterians say if they knew I was checking out saints?! As a matter of fact, you don't have to look far for prayers to Saint Anthony of Padua. There's a small problem in that Presbyterians don't pray to saints. But would this one be so very bad?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
St. Anthony, St. Anthony
Please come down
Something is lost
And can't be found.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The irritating thing is that I consider myself to work in the No.1 Scottish Ladies Detective Agency. But clearly my detective/clairvoyant powers don't work on the East Coast of Scotland, only on home ground.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Once upon a time, in 1781, an Edinburgh antiquarian published a book proposal. He never published the book. There's apparently only one copy of the proposal in the whole world, and it's in the National Library of Scotland.

Well, it is actually missing from where it should be, in the National Library of Scotland. I've just been to Edinburgh - had a great day, read other useful stuff - but didn't see the one, unique thing I set out to see.

Who is the patron saint of libraries? Or of lost causes? Because I really, truly do need that book proposal to be found! Urgently!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So much for climbing as a way of allowing the kids to burn off some energy! I picked them up to find World War 3 had erupted.

Am I cut out for motherhood? I begin to wonder!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Morning - work
Afternoon - son to orthodontist, spouse to visit former workplace, boys to climbing centre, collect Cello Kid, cook tea.
Back to climbing centre for Cello Kid, home, go for walk with spouse, book climbing sessions.
'I don't know what you're complaining about', says SuperSpouse.

Kids driving you up the wall this summer?

I came up with a solution - book them up with the climbing centre, and they can climb up someone else's walls! In theory, they'll be nicely tired out and will then sleep well at night, too.

That's the theory. Watch this space!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pseudo-Supermum has one tooth less tonight. But oh, the relief of not having a wobbly tooth, and better still, being able to close my mouth again without feeling that the teeth don't properly fit together.

Which just goes to show that I shouldn't have been such a coward for a year or more!

You know, I have this sneaky suspicion that the Tooth Fairy may not come my way tonight. Just to punish me. Sigh!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Saxophone-Kid gets Merit for Grade 3 Saxophone!

And there was great rejoicing in the land, and parents and brothers duly made all the right noises ... while Saxophone-Kid went back to X-Box Live. Must get our priorities right!
The image is of an alto Sax from Haydock Music, our dealer in Milngavie, Glasgow.
Disasters come in threes?

  1. There was the dishwasher catch. But the engineer's coming tomorrow.

  2. Cello-Kid was charged the adult rate for his child subway card. Sorted.

  3. Tesco's computer crashed, lost my order, no delivery today but I copied and pasted from the order confirmation into Express Shopper, so it'll come tomorrow.

  4. Hang on - disasters come in THREES, don't they? No-one will own up to dropping a yellow plastic clothes peg into the toaster sometime over the weekend. Now melted yellow plastic - not cheese! - though I've removed most of it, and the wire spring fell out by tipping the toaster upside down. I think it will live to toast another four slices simultaneously!

Who in their right mind drops a clothes peg into a toaster?????

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sigh! I've been so busy doing laundry, ironing, cooking, online Tesco-ordering, not to mention a MEGA sorting and shredding and filing of old paperwork ... that I haven't done the reading I promised myself.

This morning, I was just emptying crockery from the dishwasher, when there was a little 'clunk' sound from somewhere. I hadn't yet got my hearing-aids in, and had no idea what had made the noise or where it came from.

But when I closed the dishwasher - it wouldn't close. Hmmmm. A bit of fiddling around revealed that the spring on the catch has gone, and it's possibly to return it to the closing position with a small, sharp knife. But that's not exactly ideal, and it's not a permanent fix. Guess who'll be phoning the warranty people in the morning?

Honestly, if it's not one thing, it's another. The ironing pile has been leering at me all week, which is why I dealt with half of it before lunch, and persuaded Cello-Kid that Working Men needed to get their laundry sorted out before their first Working Week began. (His holiday job starts tomorrow.) Clearly, the dishwasher was jealous that I had been preoccupied with ironing more than with dishwashing. Notice me, me, ME!!

We have, however, solved the mystery of the navy blue grit that has been appearing on our carpets recently. Saxophone-Kid's slippers are falling apart. Don't even ask why the inside of a slipper needs blue gritty stuff between the cosy fleecy layer inside and the rubbery sole outside!

Latest news on the viva is that it might be towards the end of August. Think I'd better write myself a new timetable.

Viva image from an Indian educational blog.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wicked, disloyal PseudoSupermum has to tell someone about last night. The boys had a friend over for a sleepover. He persuaded them to go to LIDL yesterday afternoon. In the evening, unknown to me, SmallFry (who gets hyper even on Coca Cola) had one can of high-energy caffeine drink, and Viola-Kid and Cello-Kid had THREE blooming cans, egged on by their mate.

I got back from work this afternoon to be told that Viola-Kid 'had a temperature' and was still in bed at 2.15 pm. Stuff and nonsense! The sun had been blazing into the room; the window was SHUT, and Viola-Kid admitted he had been unable to sleep after three energy drinks last night. They must have been positively fizzing with the stuff. He didn't have a temperature.

The Mate has been told that he's very welcome in our house, any time, but his energy drinks are not. And I'm afraid I told Mate's Mum what had happened. A bit draconian, but heck! I don't see why I should have tired, crabby offspring because someone else has effectively overdosed them on caffeine!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I apparently can't say any more. It's seen as disrespectful and embarrassing to one's offspring. (What was that about freedom of speech? Did I hear someone muttering out there in cyberspace ...?)

All I'll say is that it took me 20 years to realise I should have completed that first PhD, and then take appropriate action. However, I don't HAVE a second chance in 20 years to be an effective parent. (Heck, I could be a neglected grandparent by then!)

How on earth is a parent supposed to get it right FIRST time? They didn't just change the instruction manual with each child that came along - the manuals somehow came out in different LANGUAGES in subsequent editions!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The end of a perfect night last night? SuperSpouse had left an open ballpoint on the duvet. That's all I shall say!

Today, the washing machine is having a busy afternoon, whilst I have been busy over at the campus, converting my thesis to pdf format for my external examiner. Easy. But a bit annoying to find I'd lost my usb stick. Having got home again and realised this, I had to go BACK to campus to find it under the desk opposite to where I'd been sitting.

What a relief! I'm a librarian, for heaven's sake. I don't usually lose things.
15 minutes in the life of ...

Kids throw egg at my car windscreen but before I can clean it off ...
Viola kid accidentally breaks glass in dishwasher ....
So after sorting out both disasters, I discover a hole in one of my nicest jumpers!
Sorted. Sherry imbibed. Night-night!

Monday, July 06, 2009


You will no longer find me on Facebook. I was embarrassing my offspring. However, no-one, repeat no-one, will prevent me from blogging!

Please bookmark me. Cheers!

Bad enough but not this bad!

Survived the first morning back in the office!

Back to work tomorrow. SuperSpouse still convalescing, but improving. And he has three fine big boys to keep him company, so I'm not leaving him home all alone!

I'm told my desk is so loaded with backlog that you can't actually see the desk. Watch this space - I'll show you the real thing!

Monday, June 29, 2009

... and the printer is on overtime!

I ironed the morning of my wedding; ironed when I went into labour; and ironed when I started printing out my magnum opus last night.

The end isn't in sight yet - I won't have got there until it's fit to be cloth-bound and delivered to the library - but at least I'm heading in the right direction. And that means a trip to get it soft-bound this afternoon.

This morning, I had to go to PC World for more ink, even though I bought two cartridges last week. Sigh! To add to my wish-list of shares in Kleenex, Andrex and Domestos, I want shares in HP. Once I have all this 'spare time', I shall investigate just how FEW shares a person can have!

Friday, June 26, 2009

We have a document!

I'm now, officially, at an impasse, awaiting approval of a couple of little details, before I can print the whole thing out.

So, what does a Pseudo Supermum do now? The laundry washing is up-to-date, though the ironing basket is awaiting attention - and introduction to two new co-workers, who will from henceforth be doing their own.

I could cook. (The invalid has regained his appetite if not all of his mobility.) I could sort out books to return to the library. Or I could drink tea. Such an array of choices!

When I finally print out and submit my document, I have to do something spectacular to celebrate. This isn't celebrating the end of the project, just a crucial point prior to the viva.

I've been wanting to do another collage, and trying to decide what to depict. It had to be something Scottish, but not a cliche'd mishmash of typically Scottish images.

I've decided to interpret one of the plates from the book that SuperSpouse gave me for my Big Birthday last year - William Daniell's Scotland. I'm looking forward to visiting Mandors fabric store!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pseudosupermum is Off the Radar

SuperSpouse went into hospital on Tuesday 9th June for a knee-replacement operation.
He came out on Saturday 13th June, and on Sunday became very sick. We had the doctor out twice in 12 hours. The anti-nausea drugs mean he hasn't thrown up since Sunday night, but he's still in bed, sleepy, weak and nauseous.
The operation was a success - but he's not feeling the benefit in the slightest, because he feels so rough.
I'm off work until he can be left alone. Technically, I'm a carer, according to the local authority definition. Meanwhile, I have given up visiting Facebook, and probably won't post here again until there's some news of distinct improvement. I don't want to clutter up cyberspace with neurotic whingeing!
Friends who think I need cheering up - you're right! - please email me, and I'll be delighted to hear from you.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Looking for Pa's missing hat - that is, the hat that used to belong to my father, but which my son 'inherited' as a prized keepsake - I ended up tidying the clutter of skates and jackets and school-stuff and sports kits in our hallway.

Heck! I've been so busy with this thesis that I've allowed my sons to morph into slobs. A confetti of tiny bits of paper, toys, a guitar pedal, gloves, crumpled worksheets, invitations to an award ceremony!, school photo orders, smelly dishcloths (from domestic science) - and we won't mention the sports kits ...

The washing machine hove into action again. Viola Kid (who was responsible for more than two-thirds of the slobbery) has hoovered the carpet and chucked away loads of redundant pages. Two more washer-loads to go, then all I'm left with is accepting the awards invite and accepting the sad fact that we have lost Pa's precious hat. I fear it went to SmallFry's school for "Wear something funnny" Day. I don't remember saying it could, but it did. And I don't think it returned.

I'm a big grown-up adult with a husband, job and three kids, but I MISS THAT HAT!

Seated one day at the organ, I was weary and ill-at-ease -
PhD, hubby's knee, car ignition -
& the Renfrewshire quarantine - Jeez!
How much stress can a working mum handle:
With these crises all dumped on my plate?
But I'm no' gonnae let them defeat me,
'Cos my thesis must NOT end up late!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Swine Flu Alert!

Viola-Kid has been excluded from school for a week because an S1 pupil that he doesn't even know, tested positive for swine-flu. So, ALL the first years get Tamiflu, and have to stay off school and away from other kids for a week.

I was at a parents' meeting this afternoon (yes, Saturday afternoon) for an official briefing and the Tamiflu. Viola-Kid was not allowed to attend, though there were plenty of little boys hanging around outside the building, eagerly boasting that they were "getting jags". They aren't. Just boring capsules to swallow, which is nothing much to boast about.

We had angry, shouting parents, and as I left, I noticed police on the doors. Saxophone-Kid (who I had to take with me and leave in the car, in the car-park) wondered if any press were there. I wouldn't be surprised. Sax-Kid also told me that one of the little boys was roaming around, trying car doors. I wonder if HE knew about the police presence ...
Fabulous Array of Choices Today!

  • Revise chapter 6
  • Do online Tesco order
  • Hang laundry up INDOORS having dashed out to rescue it from shower
  • Think about lunch
  • "Sheepdog" the boys into getting up and dressed. It's only noon, I s'pose.

Why not have a go at my new Quiz feature, to the right of this panel? (Yes, you're right, I'm feeling hard-done-by!)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Friends, I am officially Public Enemy no.1. Not wanting my very handsome middle son to end up like the image, left, we went to the hairdresser.

I offered the choice of gents' barber or unisex hairdresser. No preference was expressed. Neither, in the past, has cooperated with my efforts to see my son's face.

I resorted to bribery this time. Well, that was the aim. In fact, since he compromised with me, I compromised with him. The hairdresser didn't cut as much fringe as I'd hoped for ...

As we left town, the radio was playing a Kyrie by Richard Harvey, from the Da Vinci Code. Requiem for a Fringe?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Six in ten Scots children do not know how to boil an egg. Cate Devine revealed our national shame in the Herald yesterday (Wednesday 20 May 2009).

( - and if your kids happen not to LIKE eggs???!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


You'd think I'd asked him to jump into a peat-bog, not do his practice! Did you hear the squeals, screams and yells? Piano came first. The piano is in the dining-room. My desk is there, too. I couldn't write a SENTENCE!

Tinkle, tinkle. (That was the highest notes on the piano. Painful on the ears.) 'How about starting your practice, son?'

Plink, plonk. (The left hand is a tone too low, AND he's decided to play with F sharps not B flats in the bass clef.)

Ah, progress. Three consecutive bars. No. False start, false hope. He can't get the hands together.

Saxophone next. That lives in the lounge. But the screams and yells would have made the neighbours think I was assaulting him. Truthfully, all I did was stand at the lounge door, 15 feet away from him, and ask him to practise. I pay the fees, he plays - seems a fair deal to me. (Boo-hoo! Big bad Mummy.)

I've given up work for tonight. No-one seems to realise that I'd actually have quite liked a couple of quiet hours revising my introduction ...

The image is from - I hope they will forgive me, because I did order a t-shirt from their website this afternoon!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bibliographing, that's what I've been doing.
Listen up, folks! I've written seven chapters, compiled my appendices, compiled and formatted my bibliography, formatted ALL my footnotes!, and revised the first two chapters.
Now I'm waiting for feedback from my supervisor so that I can revise the other five chapters. I want to submit my thesis by 31 May, so this is really rather urgent!
However, tonight, I have a special treat in store. Going through the bibliography, I noted a few references that I ought to revisit, in case there's anything I need to mention in my thesis. Heavens, some actual reading again? Now, that does make a change!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hormone Displacement Therapy. HDT.

You think I've got it wrong, don't you? Well, I haven't. There are too many male hormones in my house, and I'm not menopausal. I don't need HRT, I need HDT.

I've just stumbled across a website claiming to Banish All Menopause Symptoms for a mere $24.95. But I couldn't find a website claiming to calm the volcanic erruptions in a houseful of men - one past his midlife crisis, two Hormonal Horrible Henrys and a dear little boy who hasn't hit the adolescent hormones yet.

So, we need HDT. Someone out there must have some solutions. Share it with me, and I'll give it a go. We could even market it at $23.95, a get-rich-quick scheme that simply cannot fail.

Huh, parenthood! It's not just Johnson's baby-powder and toddler tantrums in the supermarket.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Since I last posted here, Chapter 6 has been born, grown obese, and has been split, amoeba-style, into Chapters 6 and 7. That's thanks to Patrick Dunleavy's helpful Authoring a PhD. I discovered it was bad form to have 19000 words in a chapter. I have to say that there was a completely obvious place to make the split, and it works well. I'm very pleased with my two new chapters.

Today I wrote my conclusion for Chapter 7! Total wordcount now is 77328. I've also drawn up one of my Appendices, and this evening will be dedicated to starting another. This one is a bit tricky and might be regrettably long, but I won't know how bad it is until I compile it. Sigh!

The boys are obligingly keeping out of the way and honouring my study leave. I am officially 'here but not here', working far longer than office hours and ignoring Facebook into the bargain!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Futures Scotland Innovation Leadership: a creativity and innovation programme for researchers. Now, what's this all about? It's a two-day leadership development opportunity for high flying PhD students and researchers.

The big question is:- Can a little brown fieldmouse of a subject specialist librarian ever be said to be a high flyer?

I don't know. So, we'll let the powers-that-be decide. Watch this space.


Happy to relate that the draft of Chapter 5 is finished and I'm trying to muster the energy to start on Chapter 6. The final chapter!
Running total: 55,444

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Viola Kid: "Mum, have you had your hair cut?"
SuperSpouse: "Thanks, Son!"
Viola Kid: "My pleasure, Dad."
Saxophone Kid: "Eeeeeeoooooooooo!" It looks ... different! ( One had to hear this to realise it was NOT a favourable response.)

Why oh why oh why oh why oh WHY do I bother?! (My colleagues thought it was fantastic. Thank heavens for small mercies.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

All work and no play, as they say ...

Pseudosupermum has nothing entertaining to tell you today, but she does have nearly 50,000 words in her dissertation. Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spot the similarity with the image to the right of this posting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Word-count as at 18 February : 43, 879. Now on to Chapter 5 ...

Found a fabulous website called Paper Forest - all about making paper models. (Hmmm - what could I make with a whole PhD thesis?! Better get the doctorate first, I suppose ...)

In days gone by, people ran away to the Foreign Legion.

But I'm a 50-year old mum, so that seems a little undignified. I hereby give everyone notice that I'm running away to the Forestry Commission instead. Just me in a green sweatshirt (okay, jeans and trainers too), and row upon row of trees. Glorious!

Not so long ago, I had a busy 9-5 job as a librarian, and then all the extra stuff like a husband, 3 boys (that's 4 boys total), and my part-time doctoral research.

This afternoon I came home sober in the calculation that I now have 1200 CDs and several hundred books to catalogue - over and above the normal routine stuff - by September. That's 10-11 CDs to index in detail, every single working day, and if I fall by the wayside, I've had it. But the rest of my job - the normal-sized, busy daily routine - has to continue unhindered.

You see why I'm yearning for neat rows of trees and no people?

This evening I took the boys to Bearsden for 15 minutes of community service with the Boys' Brigade. (11 miles drive for 15 minutes? Reasonable?) So as not to waste time, Saxophone-Kid and I went to the bottle-bank and smashed bottles and jam-jars for ten minutes.

After that, we all took Cello-Kid to his halls of residence. With a thud in my heart that you probably sensed half a world away, I took the other two home then had to return to the halls of residence with the music case Cello-Kid had left behind ....

The only flaw with the Forestry Commission is that I believe you're expected to be NICE to people when you meet them. I don't feel nicely disposed towards teenagers just now, though ...