Sunday, September 30, 2012

how to get things done

 I am still not very good at getting things done around the house while I'm looking after Dulcie, but sometimes she can be persuaded to "help" for a while.  Here she is helping me sort and wash my fabric stash (this is just a small fraction of it) that had been left rather dusty following our neighbours' building work.
It's only taken me nine months or so to start this job.  Who knows how long it will take me to finish it?!

Friday, September 28, 2012

unlikely allies

 A strange thing has happened over the last few days.  Poppy, the world's grumpiest cat, a hisser and a spitter, has decided that she and Dulcie could be friends.  Here they are having a good snuggle up this afternoon.  Dulcie was loving it, Poppy was tolerating it.  We were watching with bated breath, ready to detach cat claws from baby flesh at a moment's notice!
"Tolerating" is definitely the right word to describe Poppy's general attitude towards Dulcie's rather grabby brand of cat stroking, but I have actually heard her purring once or twice.

I wonder how long it will be before Dulcie discovers that cats have claws.  I'm sure it's inevitable, but in the meantime I'm just enjoying this rather bizarre new relationship.  I never thought Poppy would be so accepting of having a baby in her life/space.  Lola (the world's most friendly and least violent cat ever) put up with hair pulling for a while, but now scarpers every time Dulcie comes near her.  Unfortunately for Lola, Dulcie is quite determined to catch her.  If someone holds both Dulcie's hands she can move her feet in a walking fashion.  Ordinarily it takes a good ten seconds for her to co-ordinate each and every step (the concentration!) but when she sees Lola, she sprints across the room so fast her feet are a blur.  Fortunately for Lola, Dulcie has not quite mastered the art of changing direction, so the cat can usually escape in the same way you or I would try to escape a crocodile.

p.s. We have not gone crazy and bought white furniture, we have just put the covers in the wash :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

WWSS? (what would Supernanny say?)

I am in a fankle.  A couple of weeks ago, Dulcie stopped being a superstar sleeper and decided that she absolutely would not sleep if she was in her cot.  We could get her to fall asleep in our arms, but as soon as the tip of a single hair on her head so much as grazed her own mattress, she was awake and screaming.  After a fair few nights of next to no sleep for me, bleary eyed, I took her into bed with me so I could doze while she fed.  I can feel Supernanny's glare burning a red-hot "I told you so" as I type this because now I cannot get Dulcie out of our bed for love nor money.  

Graham has been relegated to the spare room because Dulcie has completely taken over his side of the bed.  Over the last week she has spent no more than a couple of hours sleeping in her cot and, worse than that, about 90% of the time she's in our bed, she is firmly attached to my boobs.  I feel like I've painted myself into a corner with her and just can't get out of it.  I sleep really badly with her in the bed with me (contorted into uncomfortable positions and constantly worrying I'll smother her) but it is the only way I can get any sleep at all.  

I've tried to stay strong a couple of times this week, putting her into her cot and trying everything I can to soothe her there, but after four hours of sobbing (from Dulcie and from me) I've caved in and taken her into bed with me again.  Once she falls asleep there, Graham can sometimes manage to transfer her back into her own cot without waking her (if I try to lift her she just smells milk and her eyelids snap open) but she'll always wake up after an hour tops and start screaming once she realises where she is.  

I knew it was a bad idea to take her into bed with me in the first place, but I just wanted to sleep.  Is that really so wrong of me, Supernanny?  I'm wondering if a dummy would help, but having got through more than ten months without one, I'm loathe to get her hooked on a dummy now.  But perhaps weaning her off a bedtime dummy down the line would be easier than weaning her off big bed and boobs now?  Oh, I am in a mess.  

To top it all off, Dulcie is going through a stage where she can't bear to be apart from me and starts crying if I so much as turn my back on her, let alone (God forbid) try to leave the room for a minute.  I'm not sure whether this is contributing to her nighttime behaviour, but it certainly makes it harder for me to cope with it.  Other than when Graham gives her her nightly bath, this baby is literally on me 24/7.  It is nice to feel wanted, but I'm really not sure how much more I can take.  I just want my bed back, but a wee hour or two of baby-free time in the evening wouldn't go amiss either.  

Has anybody got any bright ideas, or am I really going to have to summon the wrath of Jo Frost?

Friday, September 21, 2012

reading for pleasure

 Dulcie and I enjoy reading most days.  I have a fairly substantial collection of picture books, but have been finding that most of them are a bit too wordy for Dulcie yet, so we tend to get most of her books from the library.  Some books she shows absolutely no interest in, while other books she really seems to love.  I love it that she has her own taste/interests already.  Her favourite book at the moment (and mine) is Me... by Emma Dodd, who overuses ellipsis nearly as much as I do...  We previously had You... (also by Emma Dodd) out from the library and it was really the first book that Dulcie showed any particular interest in.  Since then we've noticed (in hindsight) that a few of Dulcie's favourite books from the charity shop have been illustrated by Emma Dodd too, so it seems she is a bona fide Emma Dodd fan.  I'm not sure how much I would have been drawn to Emma Dodd if it wasn't for Dulcie's reaction to her books, but now I really like her too.  My only problem with her work is that I often can't read the last couple of pages of her books because I am sobbing by that time.  They really do tug at the emotional heartstrings, but I should point out for fairness' sake that since becoming a mother I cry at the most ridiculous of things.  I always have to bring hankies to Bounce & Rhyme in case they start singing Five Little Ducks.  By the time no little ducks come swimming back, I am in no fit state to see the song through to its happy conclusion.
 Me... is about a baby penguin being small in the big, wide, fast and scary world.  The page above is Dulcie's favourite picture of the little penguin.  She always smacks him (her?) as soon as we turn to this page and that is a major sign of affection from her.  I find this picture pretty adorable myself.  Just look at the fluffy little blighter struggling in that howling gale!  Aw!
This is my absolute favourite page.  It reminds me a bit of John Burningham or Brian Wildsmith or some other illustrator I liked as a child that I can't quite put my finger on, and it's so beautiful with the shiny silver touches and its grand scale.  The little penguin is barely visible down at the bottom of the left page.  Dulcie sometimes tries to pick him up from the page.
Dulcie didn't show any particular reaction to this page the first ten or so times that we read the book, but suddenly she started getting super excited every time we turned to it.  She always reaches up to whack the sun and then turns round as if she's checking I've spotted it.
 In fact she loves this page so much that she ate part of it.  Oops.
"Eating library books?  Who, me?!"

I'm really hoping Dulcie will follow in her mother's footsteps and become a bit of a bookworm, not only because it gives me another good reason not to part with all the books I've already read.  I'm sure she'll want to read them one day!

And a last interesting little point about Dulcie's taste (no pun intended!) is that she tends to love books about babies.  I find that very sweet.  Does she know that's what she is?  I think she must.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

last week

Glamorous geggies!
Originally uploaded by Stuart Chalmers

I'm six days behind myself (I tried to squeeze a bit too much clearing out into the last days of my mum's visit and have left myself in a bit of a fankle with stuff pulled out of every drawer and not quite put back in anywhere - schoolboy error!) but I wanted to leave a note to my future self here about two things that happened on Wednesday of last week. 

First of all, at the ripe old age of 32, I got my first ever filling. I hadn't been to the dentist in a while and had built it all up in my head to be a big/scary deal, but I forced myself to be sensible and make an appointment while a) my mum was here to take care of Dulcie and b) my year of free dental treatment hadn't run out. I used all the horrible medical procedures of the past year to good effect in persuading myself to go and be not afraid in the first place. Hark at me turning a negative into a positive! Much as it smarts a little to be toppled from my perfect-teeth pedestal, I am pleased to report that I'm not really bothered. One tiny filling (it was only a wee one) at the age of 32 and post-baby is really pretty good going if you ask me. My geggies are still perfectly glamorous!

The second momentous event of Wednesday was that I finally succeeded in eating beef! I got my mum to cook a beef and vegetable stir fry for us (making sure not to see the beef in its uncooked state) and I ate every last drop. The beef was not too horrendous to me, just surprisingly... underwhelming. And that's not a comment on my mum's cooking as the stir fry as a whole was really delicious! The experience has left me feeling kind of like meat is not worth it, but glad that I'm a huge step closer to being able to eat meat if I need/want to. That was Dulcie's first experience of meat too (if you don't count fish) and she wasn't convinced to begin with but did give it a good go eventually.

There's plenty of more interesting snippets for me to share (more interesting to anyone who might read this anyway) but when I will get to share them is anybody's guess. My mum's visit was THE BEST but I'm finding it hard to slot back into multitasking mother mode again. See you on the other side...

ps The pictures at the top of this post are from a shop in Partick (Glasgow) that always amuses me. That's not where I got my filling, incidentally!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

born nine weeks too early and four decades too late

One of the long overdue jobs I've managed to do since my mum came to stay is to wash (repeatedly) those amazing vintage clothes I found for Dulcie a few months back.  It turns out I timed it rather well as Dulcie has just grown into the smallest of the outfits and she loves it.  She's been posing for photos and smiling at herself in the mirror all morning.
I'm sorry, but how freakin' cute is our baby?!  I think these clothes could be going into the brain bank of best charity shop finds ever.  She'll be growing into some of them for years to come so the pleasure is set to last a long time too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

day in the life - monday 10th september 2012

Midnight - midday
Dulcie sleeps better than she has been lately and just gets me up a couple of times.  While giving her her second feed of the night at 5.30am, I think about how I would like to raise money for the British Heart Foundation but am not the type to walk the West Highland Way etc.  I come up with a plan to open an online shop either on Etsy or Folksy.  When Dulcie goes back to bed, I can't get back to sleep so I lie in bed planning my "charity shop" until I give up on sleep and get up for the day.  I have toast and butter and a cup of decaf coffee while browsing the internet for any insight into whether Etsy or Folksy would best suit my purpose.  This research reminds me how time consuming listing items is and I start to get cold feet over my grand plan, which has got a lot more complicated since I came up with it an hour or two earlier.  Dulcie gets up at about 7.30 (if my memory serves me correctly - I took no notes today) and I give her a bit more milk then medicine and breakfast.  I spend the morning playing with Dulcie (who is being quite easy going today) and getting her and me washed and dressed.  I manage to get some minor tidying up done before popping Dulcie in the baby carrier and heading out to the underground.

Dulcie and I get off the underground in town and head to the train station to meet my mum.  Once she arrives we all get back on the underground and head to the west end for lunch and Kember and Jones.  For once we don't have to queue and get a table straight away.  I have my usual - a goats cheese salad - and it is just as delicious as ever, which is very, very, very delicious indeed.  I have taken a wee packed lunch for Dulcie and she sits quite happily in the high chair to eat it, even though we have to wedge her in with all three of our jackets and she still slides down to a strange angle.  She starts getting grumpy just as we finish eating (good timing!) so we head home where we have a cup of coffee and an empire biscuit that my mum made herself and brought with her.  My mum keeps Dulcie entertained most of the afternoon and I start the MAMMOTH task of clearing out (I mean clearing out as in emptying completely, not just tidying up) the craft room.  I make a good start, throwing out lots of large items and bin bags to the back lane since tomorrow is the day the council comes to collect them.  This is most satisfying.  After a while I stop, shake the the dust off myself and the three of us head out with the pram to the supermarket to get a couple of missing ingredients for tonight's dinner.  When we get back my mum entertains Dulcie again (I am loving having a live-in baby-sitter already and it is only day one of her week-long visit) while I make dinner - a sweet potato curry with lashings of peanut butter.  I've been allergy testing Dulcie over the last week or so and she has shown no reactions so she'll be eating it too, lucky thing.  The sweet potatoes take a ridiculously long time to cook, so dinner is a bit late, but is very tasty when it arrives.  After dinner Graham gives Dulcie her bath while my mum and I tidy up the kitchen.  I give Dulcie a feed  while watching EastEnders and she dozes off looking all contented but is not keen to be in her cot and keeps waking/screaming every time I try to put her in there.  I fall asleep while cuddling her in the chair in the bedroom, but when I wake up I discover that she is sound asleep too (not having been dropped or smothered by her irresponsible sleeping mother) and I finally manage to get her into her bed just after 9.  I dig out some photo frames and put in a few family pictures to have in the living room, chatting to my mum while I do.  Graham leaves us in peace and spends the evening doing mysterious internet business in the kitchen.  We both manage to sneak into bed without waking Dulcie up.  When Graham gets up to go to the toilet, however, Dulcie is not best pleased and the screaming begins.  Fortunately for anyone reading this, that was at midnight so you can be spared the horror of the rest of my sleep-deprived night!

And I think that is about it for my Day In The Life.  Marceline should be posting links to everyone else's posts once she's back from her jaunt up north, but I think Claire has collated some of them already if you just can't wait to see what anyone else got up to on this day.

p.s. Sorry for the lack of pictures.  I may have my mum here to help me this week, but Dulcie and the craft room are still keeping me busy!  Feels really good to be making some progress with my outstanding to-do list though :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

food fights, food peace

Bah, I had high hopes for this post, thinking it was going to be a concisely worded minefield of invaluable advice for weaners (har har har!) the world over.  Sadly, it's taken me well over two weeks to write it thanks to Dulcie being unsettled in the evening (blogging time) and all through the night (brain recharging time) of late, so I kind of lost my thread and my mojo along the way.  But I had invested too much to give up, so I just crammed in, list style, what I could remember of what I planned to say.  I should also add that I am no expert in weaning babies (or babies in general) but I have been feeling like I've been on a mighty steep learning curve lately and I wanted to share what I have discovered since it's really the first time I have felt like I've had any baby know-how to share - rather a nice feeling, hark at me!  Hopefully it will help somebody some day, even if all they get from it is an idea of what pasta shapes are easiest for a baby to hold...

Feeding a baby can be hard work.  Aside from the mess (not that the mess should be underestimated - jeez!) there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day.  Dulcie has no sooner finished breakfast and had some milk than it seems to be time to make a start on her lunch.  When she was tiny and new to the eating game, she was quite happy to eat smooth purees from a spoon, but as we tried to introduce a bit more texture and variety into her diet, she decided that spoon feeding was not for her.  In some ways I was quite happy about this.  I had really wanted to do baby-led weaning with her, but because premature babies are weaned at such a young age/tiny size, it just wasn't feasible.  Now it seems that she wants to feed herself quite independently anyway.  Great!  The downside of this was that I really had no idea WHAT to feed her.  Pureed fruit and veg was easy to make and freeze in batches, but making a variety of food that she can pick up and feed herself takes a bit more effort and imagination.  Dulcie would quite happily eat toast for every meal, I think, but I am really keen for her to eat as varied a menu as possible before she gets set in her ways.  In the picture at the top of this post, taken a few weeks ago, she's eating a makeshift fish cake (the previous night's leftover baked potato with cheese and beetroot mixed up with the insides of two fish fingers and some plain flour then fried) served with a pea puree.  The fish cakes went down very well with Dulcie, who gobbled them all up.  Success!
But no sooner had I finished patting myself on the back, I was left wondering what I could make for her next meal a few hours later.  You can see Dulcie was wondering too!

Weaning is messy.  Live with it.
Weaning by spoon is messy enough.  Letting your baby feed herself means that mess times about one gazillion.  Don't feed your baby over a carpet.  I guess you could have worked that one out for yourself!  I know some people put newspaper under the high chair.  I don't bother with that (aren't most kitchen floors wipeable?) but I do like to double bib.  You can see from the pictures above that Dulcie has a muslin square tied around her under her not insubstantial bib.  I roll up her sleeves, tie the muslin round her neck and then tuck the ends of the muslin into her sleeves so she is totally covered.  She usually ends up with food smeared well past the elbow line and you'd be amazed how hard it is to remove regular old vegetable stains from clothes.  Dulcie hates (hates!) having her hands and face wiped once she's finished eating, but I find that if I get the worst of it off before lifting her out of the chair, she's much more amenable to a proper scrub once she's lying down.  I've no idea why that is.  Oh yeah, and I try to check nostrils after feeding too because about half a meal's worth of food can find its way up there.

Eggs are your friends.
Eggs were not something I'd always have in the house before, but they are now.  There are so many quick and easy last-minute baby meals that you can make with an egg and whatever else is lying around.  Dulcie's favourite way to eat eggs is as a one-egg omelette.  Sometimes she has it plain, sometimes with a bit of grated cheese (I'll try to give her some sort of vegetable alongside these) and sometimes she has it mixed up with a bit of pureed vegetable from the freezer.  I've usually got little pots of herby tomato and vegetable sauce (useful for making pizza) on the go, so I just mix that up with the beaten egg before frying.  Eggs are also useful for binding things like fish cakes before frying, or for making fritters with a bit of milk and flour and the ubiquitous tinned sweetcorn.  French toast has been another eggy success, whether plain, herby or cooked with cinnamon and topped with stewed pears and cream cheese, which brings me nicely onto...

Bread is invaluable.
I mentioned above how much Dulcie likes toast and you can spread almost anything on it - unsalted butter, cream cheese, pureed vegetables...  I used to faff about with toast, cutting all the crusts off and slicing it into little fingers.  I soon realised that Dulcie (even without a single tooth in her head) could munch crusts down no bother. I still cut it into fingers (or squares or triangles) though because then if she accidentally drops a piece on the floor, she'll still have plenty more toast to go rather than losing the whole slice in one go.  Incidentally, I also give her just a couple of fingers at a time for the same reason.  If I put the entire chopped-up slice in front of her, she'll sometimes sweep the whole lot off her tray in one go and wind up toastless.  When I'm feeling really lazy or stressed/busy (like when I'm trying to prepare dinner while Dulcie eats her lunch) I will sometimes just fling a dry slice of bread at Dulcie and, to be honest, she seems just as happy with that as she is with toasty fingers dripping in lovely butter.  Dry bread is also very useful for mopping up excess sauce at the end of a meal.  Recently I've also been using ordinary sliced bread to make a super-quick lunchtime pizza - toast one side under the grill, flip it over and spread with herby tomato and vegetable sauce from the freezer, blob on a few bits of mozarella and grill lightly before cutting into fingers.  Dulcie LOVES this meal, it takes about one minute to prepare and has vegetables, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium and fat.  She needs no help or encouragement to eat it on her own, leaving me free to eat my own lunch or potter about the kitchen.

Sometimes simple is sexy.
Well, maybe not sexy exactly, but often Dulcie will be more enthusiastic about things the more basic they are.  She's really not keen on eating anything I prepare for her with broccoli in it, but give her a couple of boiled/steamed broccoli florets in their unadulterated state and she'll chomp away quite happily.  One of her favourite delicacies of this last week has been sweetcorn straight from the tin.  I'll chuck a handful down in front of her and it keeps her entertained for ages.  I'm also entertained watching her chasing the kernels about and using all ten fingers to get just one in her mouth.  I know from her nappies the following day that she's succeeding in getting plenty in there in the end!

The family that eats together... eats! (But when do they cook?)
I used to feed Dulcie her evening meal at about 5pm and then try to have something ready for Graham and I when he got in from work at about 6.  Now that Dulcie can feed herself, it means we can all eat together.  It took a little while to break Dulcie's routine, but with a wee extra milk feed in the afternoon (she still drinks A LOT of milk most days) she can easily hold out until 6 to eat with us.  Since we've all started dining together, I have been trying to feed her the same as us whenever possible.  It takes a bit of forward planning, but I've realised that if you cut out the salt, a lot of what we already ate was fine for her anyway.  She's been enjoying pasta bakes, curry with rice, baked potato and salad...  There are lots of benefits to us eating together, but the main one for me is that Graham and I now get to eat without the distraction of a screaming baby who needs attention.  Late afternoon is a bit of a tired and grumpy time for Dulcie but now there's no more watching your food go cold while you try to cheer her up as 99% of the time she is very happy while eating.  The downside to eating together is that I used to prepare the grown-ups' food while Dulcie was entertained by eating hers.  Now I have to entertain Dulcie while I prepare dinner (rather than when I eat dinner) which is not always easy if she's feeling a bit needy.  I'll often try to make dinner in stages throughout the day, but then it can feel like it's taking over your life a bit.  If anyone has any tips on cooking with a baby around, I'd be glad to hear them.

Finger food doesn't have to be in fingers, but sometimes it helps.
It was really quite a revelation to me that finger food didn't have to be remotely finger shaped.  It may be messy and take a bit longer, but Dulcie is perfectly capable of eating the most tiny morsels with her bare hands.  I mentioned sweetcorn already and then there's peas too.  She'll also pick up and eat food like risotto or curry and rice (albeit mixed up so it's a bit more sticky).  There are some foods, however, that are much easier to manage if they are vaguely finger shaped.  One example of this is pasta.  Dulcie loses interest in the special baby pasta (teeny-tiny shells) but can hold onto and munch the long grown-up varieties.  The absolute best pasta shape for her is fusilli, the spiral-shaped one, as it gives her something to grip onto and stops it slipping out of her fingers so much.  This discovery was a great breakthrough for me as pasta is obviously very versatile and easy to prepare so it's great that we've been able to add it to Dulcie's independent-feeding menu.

When you run out of ideas, consult a recipe (or a friend) or two.
It's been very useful to have a sister who is currently weaning a baby too and who has gone through it before.  She has lots of ideas for quick and easy meals when I run out of inspiration.  Did you know if you mix three tablespoons of porridge oats with three tablespoons of milk and microwave it for two minutes you will get a solid(ish) substance that you can cut into slices and give to a baby for breakfast?  She also bought me a really good recipe book (where that porridge idea came from actually) full of quick fixes and tasty things you can cook for everyone in the household, not just the baby.  There's loads in there that I fancy making and we've already had great success with the cheesy lentil wedges (click on the link for the recipe).

If you've made it to the end of that, you deserve a little reward in the form of another of my classic home movies.  Ha!  I realise I run the risk of getting a reputation as someone who shoots and shares the world's most pointless unedited mini movies, but I can live with that.  Moving images in a blog post?!  It's sheer magic, man!  Dulcie's self-feeding skills have progressed somewhat since this was filmed, but I think you do get an idea of how relaxed and contented she is while eating.  One day this week while having lunch (bread-slice pizza and sweetcorn straight from the can) she sat in her high chair for over an hour, perfectly content all the while.  I was able to tidy up the kitchen while she fed herself.  It seems like food is one of the highlights of her day at the moment.  Long may it continue!

Holy guacamole, I am never writing an informative blog post again.  (Could you call this informative?!)  This has honestly nearly broken me.  Well, this combined with Dulcie making life in general really, really hard.  How ironic to spend weeks writing a blog post about raising babies while I'm pulling my hair out and not having a clue what to do with my own pesky infant behind the scenes.  My mum is coming to give me a week's respite/assistance as of tomorrow and I can not wait.  I just need to find a way to make it through tonight without totally losing it in the meantime.  That may not sound like much, but I feel my sanity is on a knife edge.  Nothing a good night's sleep wouldn't fix, I'm sure, but that is one thing I am certain not to be getting.  Better go and rescue Graham and his eardrums from the screaming.  Wish me luck :(

Saturday, September 1, 2012

sit up and take notice

Last weekend Dulcie was managing to sit on her own for about 20 seconds at a time.  With a bit more practice this week, she has now mastered the art of independent sitting.  Ta-da!  Since I keep meeting babies younger than her who can walk already (freaks!) it was good timing for her to gain a new skill and remind her paranoid mother that she is constantly progressing.  It's just a shame that learning to sit seems to have made her forget how to roll over...


Here's a wee whistle-stop photo tour of the holiday we went on a few weeks ago.  We were in Aberfeldy and long-time readers may recall that we have been there a few times before.  It was quite strange and rather a different experience to go back to a pre-baby place with the baby in tow.  We had a quiet week and despite the rain (see below) and insane/scary thunder and lightning, there was the odd spot of sunshine to lift our spirits now and again.  Dulcie, for reasons known only to herself, was going to bed very early and sleeping all night (well, up once a night) so was also rising early.  She and I managed to breakfast al fresco a couple of times (see above) but always with threatening black clouds somewhere in the background.
She quite enjoyed holding the umbrella on the rainy days and I was very grateful for my new waterproof jacket!
Every morning a family of three ducks would come and tap on the window to ask for any breakfast leftovers, much to Dulcie's delight.
The youngest duck managed to sneak in while Dulcie's back was turned and then panicked and ran headfirst into the glass in its attempt to get back out.  Amidst much flapping of wings and arms, I managed to set him free once again and cheer him up with a bit of toast.
We went swimming five days out of seven so got to see Dulcie sporting her swimming suits.  I think she liked the pool, although she looked quite serious/bewildered most of the time we were in there.  The first day, we tried to go swimming before her morning nap and she just floated on her back with her thumb in her mouth, trying to sleep in the pool.
We managed to keep her awake and afloat while we were in the pool, but she conked out on the sofa as soon as we got home.  The rest of the week we went swimming post-nap and she was a bit more energetic and interested in her watery surroundings.
We managed to get out for a couple of nice walks on the dry days and stopped off in a country pub for much less booze than we used to drink there.
I had half a pint of shandy and felt rather tipsy.  Oh, how times have changed!  Dulcie must have got tipsy from the fumes too.  We weren't quite dancing on the tables, but there was a fair amount of giggling and canoodling going on.
It really wasn't that warm so we were glad of the ripple blanket.

My mum and dad joined us for a couple of days and even looked after Dulcie while Graham and I went out for dinner, just the two of us.  We had a nice evening, but mainly spoke about Dulcie!  Another highlight was a day trip to Dunkeld for lunch and a browse round the shops and the annual amateur-art exhibition.  We made an unusual purchase in an antique shop (spurred on by that tropical island holiday feel, I think) but more on that some other time.