Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Well, here we are, the year seriously moving on.  It's been, for those of you not in the know, quite a decent year as years go.  Sunny, warm, full of things to do and one of the best summers I can recall in years.  We're now having the perfect Autumn; rain interspersed with warm sun, the leaves are turning perfectly and it's dusk when I pick the boy up from school.  We see bats in the park every evening now and the other day, an owl. 

This perfect fall is a source of frustration round ours at the moment however; the child is already tiring of walking home in the gloaming and today became insistent about demanding spring and summer back, despite winter not actually having arrived.  He was even willing to skip Christmas for the promise of camping.  Something may be wrong with him, come to think of it. 

He asked some fairly detailed questions about how many days it is going to be until summer, and then when I told him it was over 200 he started telling me what he thought about my answer and his sentences were full of phrases such as 'and then I was like' i.e. "So when you told me summer was so far away, I was like 'that's a long time' and now it's like, going to be winter I'm like 'I wish the winter was already over' but it's going to be, like, a really long time." 

The addition of the word 'like' as a quotative in his sentences is relatively recent; I'm not exactly sure when it arrived, but it's become a fixture since the onset of the latest school year.  The worst thing is that I'm not certain whether or not I use it in sentences myself and am in fact the model.  I recently subjected myself to the ordeal of listening to a recording of me talking in a meeting and realised that I hugely overuse the phrase 'you know' as a sort of sentence bridge or a pause when I should more properly be shutting up, so perhaps 'like' is equally a feature in my grammar and he's getting it from me.

Either way it's a sign that at 7, he's seriously grasping the things he needs to do to blend in and grapple his way up the ladder into adulthood, which I guess is all well and good.  I guess that misusing the word 'like' is possibly the least of my worries given that we're raising him in a massive urban pressure-cooker of a city.

In the meantime, it remains to grapple our way through the year, which time we have agreed to mark by the highlights to come - Halloween, Bonfire Night, Yule, Christmas, Equinox, Easter, Beltane and then camping.  Or rain.  One or the other.  Or, more likely both. 

But, it will be, like, fun.

Sunday, April 07, 2013


The Easter half-term holidays appear to have arrived only seconds after the last half-term holiday; it's a wonder my son learns anything at all given he's only in school five minutes at a time.

He has however appeared to learn something recently, although I'm not quite certain it's exactly what the school was aiming for.

This week we've been doing some child-care swaps and on Tuesday he had a friend over for the day.

After lunch, I found them playing 'crucifixion' in the living room, taking turns nailing each other to the 'cross', ie the sofa.  At one point they were chanting 'CRUcify him CRUcify him CRUcify him'.  It all ended when they started arguing about whether or not they could pull out their own nails.

I sense the finer points of their Christian education are being slightly lost in translation... I'm pretty sure that's not what the school had in mind...

... having blogged about it, I suspect the finer points of my education were lost long ago...

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Year. Bit late.

So, it's a new year, or at least it was a new year a few weeks ago. We've had a lot of new starts, the upshot of which are that we have somewhere new to live (hooray);  no money (boo, but what's new) and quite a lot of things to do.

I never make new year resolutions for all the usual reasons - plus I have a memory like a goldfish. This year, however, I have made a sort-of resolution - or at least, issued myself a challenge.

We were a bit homeless last year, which is to say that we were living in a few rooms with all our things in storage, bar the child's clothes and toys.

We expected to have moved by March, so I kept out my winter clothes and stored the rest.  This meant however that once the sun started to appear and all I had was jumpers and furry boots, a little bit of shopping was required.  By the end of the full 12 months, I had acquired a whole second wardrobe - along with a shopping habit.

Roll forward to December this year when the boxes were finally unpacked and I was faced with a true first-world problem - too many clothes.

The first thing I did was cull, robustly.  Three bin bags of kit went to the Barnardos shop right away and another went a few weeks later.

Having narrowed it down to things I couldn't bear to part with, I made myself a deal.  No new shoes or clothes for the whole year.  None. Further, I have to wear everything in my wardrobe at least once this year, or out it goes.

It's odd.  I thought that the simple act of not-buying things would be really easy, but now that I can't buy clothes I am obsessed with the spring window displays - which is bizarre because really I'm not much of a consumer; 60% of the jumpers I still wear are ones knitted or woven for me by family before I left home.  I'm nearly 50 so I think that counts for something.  The rest are ones my husband purchased because he couldn't stand to see me in 35-year-old knitting.  He may have had a point.

I essentially live in the same 2 pairs of jeans and 5 tops year round which is part of the problem.  I keep thinking I should wear something different so I dabble in the shops.  A dress here, a  pair of shoes there... so the wardrobe grows.  But it does mean that I have had been growing a pile of clothes that I never wear and that's what's going to change. 

I will wear them.  I will wear them and if they don't fit then I'm going to pass them on.  If I can't wear them, I can't keep them - and so, I am wearing them.  Every day I pull out something from the wardrobe that I haven't worn in a while.  I wore a trouser suit the other day that I haven't worn in about 3 years.  Looked great

I have no idea whether I will have learned a goddamn thing by the end of the year and frankly this isn't about lessons or denial or any other worthy thing.  I'm broke and I have too many clothes - it all seems to make sense.

In the meantime I've added 2 more charities to my list of automatic monthly donations (Sight Savers and Shelter) partly because clearly there will be a teeny bit of cash I'm not spending - and partly because I'm appalled at my own excess.

Happy New Year everyone, I'll be the one looking awkward in a dress.