Monday, July 11, 2005


It got dark around me...

... so engrossed was I with Flickr.

I was struck last night by the rich and heady blend of scents in our garden; rose, jasmin, mock orange. Just now, as I noticed (vaguely) how dark it was getting, I could smell it again. Then M lit a fag under the study window.


Communication failure

When we first met our cleaner (A) her friend interpreted: she's Portuguese and had very little English. It's much easier now, but we got in the habit of not communicating much: messages had to be left on her friend's mobile and notes were out of the question. We got by.

Last Friday was the third week in a row that she didn't come. One week was relatively normal, two worrying but three? You've got to be pretty unwell not to come for three weeks.

I was prompted to further thought and a revelation by the cat fur tumbleweed in the bedroom (Babe's contribution to the cleaning shortfall has been to shed his own body weight in fur each day). What happened just over three Fridays ago? We changed the locks! M was mugged and we changed the locks!

A phone call later and all is resolved; she no longer thinks we changed the locks as a not-too-subtle hint about her employment. What a disaster.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


"Oh Dear"

"Oh Dear" seems to be a popular part of the limited vocabulary of 10 month olds (gleaned from my huge sample of two: nephew and next door neighbour).

It accompanies any small accident; toppling towers of bricks, spitting masticated salmon onto the carpet, fumbling a raw egg from the fridge onto the floor, and a brake-less Thomas the Tank Engine crashing into a river ("Oh Dear. Splash!" to this last).

Adults encourage this. A chorus of "Oh Dear" about juice spilled all over the table is thought to aid my nephew's language development (we're a very nurturing family). His comment was, "Oh.... My.... God". Difficult to reprimand blasphemy while choking on your broccoli with mirth.

But I'm not sure these are 'accidents': I've detected a new tone that should concern the parents. "Oh Dear" is now accompanied by catching an adults eye, and has a calculating query about it. Not long before it comes as a slightly contemplative challenge, 'just how bad is that thing', 'and this?', 'what about if I do this instead'. Screaming 2 year old tantrums are not far away.

Lovely being an aunt and spectulating from a comfortable distance.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Taking vegetables to the pub again

It's Thursday (organic box scheme day), so we're to be found rootling through a carrier bag in the pub, trying to identify strange root veg or greens. Kohlrabi was a new one on us and Madhur Jaffrey came up trumps again with a recipe. There isn't a vegetable too obscure for her. We didn't do quite so well on beer miles as food miles, though.

Smiles in the pub Flickred.


Bad day

How I miss yesterday's smugness now.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


What's this feeling?

I've never before felt as I did at 5.45pm today as I tuned in to all manner of smugness from Radio 4 about winning the Olympic bid. To my shock, I had a lump in my throat and felt proud to be British. Lordy, how odd. I often love our country: subtle landscapes, every colour of green, smell of the seasons, Yorkshire pudding (Chirac has it all wrong), Darlington accents, being called 'Pet', but I've never felt proud of it before. I just felt like we'd done it. And it was only yesterday that I was griping about the preposterously expensive bid process.

I didn't expect us to win. ITV news made it sound as if the media have just been holding their breath, not daring to hope and underplaying our chances of winning so as not to blight our hopes. Yeah right. Good thing to say now. As if they weren't just as cynically disbelieving as ever all along.

It was a surprising and welcome change. I drove all the way from work to home and heard not one cynical word or one suggestion that this was anything but great news and would be anything less than a triumph. What if they'd announced first thing in the morning... would John Humphreys have been as upbeat? I wonder who the Today programme will have on in the morning: an olympic bid organiser being heavily questioned about the next steps, with a direct insinuation that this will be a fiasco and end up costing more than planned? Or is it me that's cynical...

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