Sunday, August 29, 2010

The poo on the hill and why Somer never sets

We've just got back from a really lovely weekend in Somerset with friends. The spud loves the countryside and he was in absolute heaven - collecting eggs from chickens, playing with dogs, swinging from apple trees; he was very sweet.

'Where are we?'


'Will we see it setting?'

'No darling, Somerset is a place, it's not going to set'

'But then it will go down and then it will be winter!'

'No dear, Somerset is a place'

'But it will be setting when we get there and then we will watch!' ... etc...

Saturday our hosts took us to a well known iron-age hill fort which I'm not naming in case English Heritage are watching. We managed to get the Spud all the way to the top under his own steam which was nothing short of a miracle and we set up a picnic under the rim of the old fort walls. A herd of mixed cows were grazing the fort and their ordure was rather everywhere, something that doesn't bother any of us in the slightest but which has some bearing on the outcome of this tale.

We found a spot. We chased off a cow. We spread our blankets. We ate our hard-boiled eggs and sandwiches. There was a Peppa Pig birthday cake for the hosts' daughter. The views were amazing and it was all suspiciously idyllic. The spud, full of lunch, started wandering over to play with the dogs and just as I was languorously contemplating a second honey sandwich the Frog nudged me and muttered 'Uh oh' under his breath in a certain tone of voice. I looked up and sure enough, the spud was doing the poo walk. Bum clenched tight, legs stiff, he was clearly touching cloth and urgent measures were required.

I'll skip to the part where, after scurrying down the outside of the hill, the spud had dropped a massive steamer into a little rabbit scrape among the thistles and I was heroically trying to clean him up with paper towels and spit.

We'd been completely alone on that bloody hill for at least half an hour but just at the point where I was crouched with my son's nearly-clean bottom a few inches from my face and the guilty evidence gleaming out from the hillside scant inches from my toes, a family peered over the edge and looked down.

I smiled grimly and they gestured for the rest of their group to catch up. I started talking very loudly at my confused son 'That was a good wee-wee wasn't it! No wee wee on your trousers, that was good! Ha! Why don't you put your trousers back on? Go on! Ha ha! Good boy!'; all the time dropping bits of grass and rabbit droppings onto his delivery in a futile attempt to disguise it.

The first group moved on and a second approached.

As my befuddled son put his trews back on, I noticed near my other foot a dried cow-pat and in a flash of brilliance, bent down, snapped a bit off and then stuck it onto the crime scene. Within seconds, and this is a tip I highly recommend if you're ever caught short in the country and don't want anyone to know what you've been up to, I had created a cow-pat mosaic with poo grouting just in time for the final onlookers to stop and gaze down at me as though I was part of the whole iron-age experience. Me and the cow pats.

The journey back to our digs with 3 sorts of shit on my hands was not my finest hour but after all, it washes off and thankfully the rest of the visit passed without incident.

We left this morning with a very happy boy in the back seat.

'I love Somerset' he said. 'Can we have our house in Somerset?'

'No sweetie, sadly not'.

'Are we leaving Somerset now?'


'But we didn't see it setting yet'

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Many hands make boxes difficult to open...

Down to some sort of magic trick on the part of the gods we have been asked, unbelievably, to test toys for Toys R Us.

Road test new toys? Are you kidding?

...Review of Fireman Sam's Deluxe Firehouse  here

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Little stinger

I know many adults who have never been stung by a bee or a wasp, but as of today Charlie has collected his 3rd sting after treading on a wasp in the kitchen. This is his 2nd foot-sting as well as a bumble-bee sting on the lip (and he's not even a teenage model...)

Sadly wasp #2 left part of its stinger in Charlie's foot so we had to spend 20 minutes picking it out with the tip of a needle while he emitted the sort of shrieking one normally associates with teen slasher movies. After five minutes of him howling like we were dismembering him without the Frog ever managing to get needle close to foot, we closed all our doors and windows. Not, you understand, to save the neighbours but rather to save ourselves from the ministrations of social services.

That was Sunday. Today, with no nursery to go to the Spud spent the entire day in his pyjamas. That's right folks, all day and back into bed. Someone give me the Good Mother award, I need somewhere to put my vodka.

We spent the morning doing precisely nothing, by which I mean the spud lay on the sofa watching 'Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom' on repeat; a DVD I've not been able to get off the machine since it arrived - all the charm of Peppa Pig (same production company) with the added bonus of fairies and elves and magic wands. I probably watched it all the way through twice without irritation or boredom - result.

Anyway, 'Little Kingdom' took us from a shameful 10am through to... Crap I'm not sure I can actually type this... 2pm. Yes yes yes. In that time he failed to finish his breakfast but gamely choked down a cheese toastie. Little hero. Sometimes I think kids actually need time when nothing is happening to them, a rainy day to recoup.

After this, but without the social niceties of, say, getting dressed we had 4 of his friends to play and make pasta together, enabling the shut-off of the DVD without having my eardrums pierced. One friend has stayed over and they are currently giggling in the dark while the frog and I are feet up, martini-down.

I could handle a few more days like this, to be honest.

Tomorrow morning we're off to the country; I'm packing the Piriton and on the lookout for a size 4 child's bee-keeping suit.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Marmaduke and other shaggy dog stories

We get quite a few offers to review movies, but I have to say that Charlie's not that keen really, he gets scared easily and films are loud and take place in big dark rooms. Case in point, he counted down the days to the release of Toy Story 3 for months, but he came out and cried for half an hour after not really watching it. Apparently, there is a scary doll.

So, when the team promoting Marmaduke contacted us to see if we'd like to go I rather thought not, however I passed it on to friends of ours whose daughter is very keen on films and asked them to give us the scoop.  Click here for more.

Monday, August 02, 2010

umpa lumpa shove it up your jumper

I like to think that over the years I have learned to curb the worst of my disorganisation and to keep the bulk of the chaos in my head from leaking out and getting all over my life; sadly it seems I am not quite there.

I was in the market recently for a Christening present for my God-daughter-to-be. After looking high and low in every department store in town I was very happy to find exactly what I wanted in John Lewis, a lovely little silver cross on a delicate chain; sadly the clerk checked and double-checked the stock then and asked her manager to go and look again before telling me that definitively there were none left. Seeing my down-cast face, the manager brightened up, opened the display case, took out the cross and then took her time with the silver cloth polishing it. She found a box in perfect condition, located the original silk bag, boxed it, checked it again and only then would she take my money.

By this point she'd spent about 15 minutes helping me out, none-the-less she jumped me to the front of the queue and rang it up, at which point I opened my handbag to discover that my bank-card was gone and I had no cash.

I cast my mind back and clear as day recalled buying a top-up for my oyster card that morning and telling myself as I jammed my card away that I was putting it somewhere stupid and would probably never find it again. Cursing myself under my breath but with renewed effort, knowing that it was just hidden and not actually lost, I redoubled my efforts, patting and prodding and yanking endless piles of crap out of the maw of my bag.

The manager watched as the minutae of my life began to take shape on her counter. I told her, as I pulled out tissues and toy car wheels, that I knew I'd put it somewhere stupid. She smiled, indulgently. I searched. She gamely kept smiling.

Just as I was down to the lint balls and feeling the lining hopefully, I remembered where I had put my card. With a flourish, I dove in and pulled it... out of my bra.

The look on her face was worth every second I spent fumbling around in the damn bag. After we had both fallen about fairly substantially I left thinking that sometimes a little bit of chaos isn't such a bad thing. Nor, for that matter, is a decent bra...