Thursday, July 31, 2014

haiku #1

My heart is broken.
Not in a romantic way,
It just doesn't work.

Now that I've managed to blog every day in July (phew! and go, me!) I'm on the lookout for a new bloggy challenge.  It's been good to have something to keep me going this month.  I'm thinking of making August haiku month.  What do you think?  Three haiku a week in August?  Or maybe two is enough.  I'm not promising anything here, just thinking aloud.  Either way, here's a very simple haiku about my heart, written ("written") in the car on the way back from Kilmarnock the other day.  I'm considering making all my haiku about heart-related things, but am worried I wouldn't be able to avoid becoming maudlin.  We'll see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

look what I got

Yesterday Dulcie and I accompanied my mum and dad and their measuring tape to their soon-to-be new house.  It was the first time I'd seen it in real life.  Ooh, it is lovely.  Old and quirky and cosy and comfy and with a beautiful garden.  I can't wait to see them settled in.  Before heading back to Glasgow, we took a detour to the nearby town of Kilmarnock to have a bite to eat and visit some charity shops.  Kilmarnock is not a very nice town (though the sculptures on the main shopping street are great!) and, as is often the case with not-very-nice towns, is chock-a-block with charity shops.  We only scratched the surface this week, but once my parents move, we thought we might drop Dulcie off with my dad one day so Graham, my mum and I could spend a full day charity shopping.  Wowsers!  What a thought!

These jigsaws were my favourite find of the day.  Dulcie loves jigsaws but is starting to find many of her existing ones a bit easy.  These beauties are the next level for her, I think, except the rabbit one, which is too hard as yet (it took my mum and I a full 15 minutes to make, I think!) and I'll be more than happy to look at these over the coming months and years.  They must have been someone's collection at some time and I got them for less than £1 each.  Dulcie also got a hideous pink electric guitar for £2, but it is less photogenic.  I couldn't leave it behind once I saw her rocking out with it in front of the changing-room mirror, but I suspect we'll redonate it at some point in the future :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 12)

4th April 1988
We went to visit Martin Scott. [The one with the broken leg - see last post.]  It was boiling.  I could have sizzled like a sausage.

5th April 1988
Quite hot but not as hot as yesterday.  I saw a bee three times today.  Tonight I am going to read Son of a gun.

6th April 1988
We saw Junior Mr Fly.  In other words Mr Fly Junior.  This morning Kerry and I were swimming.  We had a barbecue.

7th April 1988
Donna, I've got something to tell you.  I'm going to buy a Gordon the Gopher.  I've got enough money to buy one.  I went to granny's house to earn some money.  We stuck an L plate on her back.  She went to huntly with it on and everyone was laughing at her.  We earned £5 each.  We sang her our cool song.  [This day could have a whole post of its own, my funniest childhood memory, probably.]

mum mum 8th April 1988 mum
Today it was windy then rainy then windy then rainy then snowy.  I got 70p for helping with the sticks.  Kerry and I did a play for mum and dad

9th April 1988
It was Pinknosewinkypoos birthday.  [He was my cuddly toy cow with a name chosen with help from my granny, she of the L plate debacle.]  I don't know what else to write apart from I am wearing plain white ankle socks.  Kerry only has to get 95p until she can buy a Gordon the Gopher.

10th April 1988
Last night dad videod taped Police Academy and I watched it this morning.  We were looking after Linsay and she never cried once.  I got an easter egg, a T shirt and 2 pairs of socks.

Monday, July 28, 2014

library luck (again)

Dulcie tried to veto this book when I found it in the library recently.  She refused to listen to it for the first few days.  But I persevered.  I knew she'd love it eventually, though I didn't realise she'd love it quite so much as she does.  She chooses this every bedtime and her face while we read it is a (delightful) picture.  Her mouth hangs agape as the boy does something scary and she gasps and beams as the dog stops him doing anything too scary.  It's a lovely book, it really is.  We might have to invest in our own copy.

I blogged about another Helen Stephens book once before, also brilliant.  She's an author/illustrator worth looking out for, for sure.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

note to self (you don't need to read this)

Poster / silk-screen crowd #02-La pool
Beautiful swimming poster/print by Virginie Morgand.  I discovered her etsy shop this week and immediately favourited about 50% of her listings.  So good.

I'm feeling utterly broken today.  Dulcie's sleeping issues (and general clinginess...clingyness?) are wearing me down, big time.  Things had improved and she has been sleeping right through, or settling herself when she woke up, fairly often.  But the last couple of nights she has been back to having me up constantly from 1 or 2 am.  Last night, after hours of hysterical screaming, I ended up caving in and sleeping in her bed with her, clinging on for dear life all night and hating myself for not standing my ground, knowing it was the worst thing to do in the long term.  Graham had promised to take Dulcie out today to give me some much-needed space (also because he was out solo all afternoon and evening yesterday, so owes me) but the few hours of this morning were hard to get through and now, even though they've finally left, I feel like a switch has been flicked and I can't flick it back.  BROKEN INSIDE.  Sometimes I don't think I like being a mum.  That sounds awful, doesn't it?  But I feel comfortable enough saying it because I love Dulcie so dearly and wouldn't have things any other way, of course.  But I'm broken.  Oh, I said that already.

Our house is a bloody disaster area.  There will be something where it's not supposed to be and Dulcie or the cats (the effing cats! aaaargh!) will spot it and drag it out and spread it all over the house.  I turn my back to sort one thing and another thing is speedily destroyed behind me.  I want to have a nice day to myself today, maybe even do some nice things to the house, like hang some pictures in Dulcie's room, but once everyone had left and I could stop and look around, I realised that by the time I tidy up today's mess and go to the shops for essentials like food and toilet roll, they will be back and Dulcie will be limpeted onto me until I leave for work tomorrow.  I can't stop thinking, "What is the point?"  About everything.  Of course, there is more behind this than a lack of sleep and a messy house, but to go down that road really would take all day.

So, what's good?  Well, Dulcie is!  She's funny and sweet.  Her brain is dreaming up a load of nonsense.  She lies hilariously about what she's been doing with her days, write songs constantly ("It's the trainer shoe, trainer shoe, trainer shoe sooooooong!" on an ascending scale was the grand finale of one) and makes up words that make perfect sense.  I stormed into her room with my hair all bed-headed and crazy.  She stopped crying instantly and said, "Mummy, what has happened?!  You hair is all skeltered!"  Skeltered?  Where did she get that from?  But it described my hair perfectly.  I love her brain.

Other good stuff?  Well, we went out on our bikes again yesterday.  Graham found a way to get to the pool without going on the roads much at all.  I had to get off and push at every hill (and there were MANY) but I made it, was noticeably more confident on my wheels and had another lovely cycle home via the canal paths.  At the pool I swam ten lengths and felt good to swim many more, only Dulcie wouldn't allow it.  I'm still planning to go swimming on my own again this Tuesday and am REALLY looking forward to it.  I still can't stop eating things I shouldn't, but I feel like this is a good and maintainable improvement to my lifestyle.  My bum is sore again from the bike, but not nearly as sore as it was last time.  Do they toughen up as you cycle more?

It's not long until we go on holiday and I CAN'T WAIT.  We have three holidays lined up between now and the end of the year, one of them especially exciting.  I'll blog about it some other day.

My mum and dad are nearly ready to move into their new house.  Dulcie and I are going to see it with them for the first time on Tuesday.  Exciting!  My parents will be 20 minutes away, rather than 4+ hours away.  Dulcie will go for sleepovers and my mum and dad will pop through to take her out and help me when I feel ill.  Graham and Dulcie and I will have a lovely homely home to visit for nice lunches, dinners, afternoons in the garden.

My friend is going to lend me her car while she is abroad for six months.  I'll be able to see how much of a difference it makes to our life and make an informed decision about whether it would be worth our while to invest in a car of our own.  We'll be able to do supermarket shops and not have to carry home bags pack-horse style, we'll be able to go on day trips, I'll be able to get to work on Sundays!  We're so lucky that this has all fallen into place and my friend has been so generous.  (Let's not talk about how terrified I am to get back behind the wheel!)

Some little bits of our house are getting excitingly good.  I'll have some amazing furniture to share here soon and we got it for FREE!

So there is plenty of good stuff.  I feel better now, slightly less broken.  I'm off to make the most of my empty :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

little drummer

Graham found this drum machine thingummy in our back lane recently.  One of our neighbours had thrown it out.  He brought it in and we were surprised to discover it actually works.  Graham has often spoken about buying one of these and he's not the only one who loves it.  Dulcie will play with it for ages.  We did give her some beaters, but she prefers to use mismatched kitchen utensils.  We don't know which of our neighbours originally owned this, but we do wonder if they can hear it from their flat and if they are tearing their hair out, going, "Aaaargh!  I thought I'd got rid of that infernal racket!"

Graham is one of those people with an uncanny knack for finding things in bins and skips... i.e. a tramp!  Ha!

PS, I don't know what was going on with Dulcie's fuzzball hairdo on this day.  It has been very humid.

Friday, July 25, 2014

wallpaper ptaste (the p is silent)

 See what I did with that title?  Oh, me...

We are in the process of choosing wallpaper for our tiny and dark hallway.  Not having found anything in our original price range that we remotely liked, we're now looking at all the expensive wallpapers we discounted for their price in the early stages.  Our hall is so tiny that we're hoping we won't need many rolls at all to cover it.  

Last weekend we went to John Lewis and spent ages looking through all their books before ordering these samples.  I was a bit disappointed the pieces they sent were so tiny (A4 sized) because you don't even see the whole pattern on many of them and it makes it really difficult to imagine the wallpapers in situ.

What do you think?  The three on the right-hand side are definite nos, even though the hexagon one is possibly my favourite of all.  Graham has vetoed it.  To be honest, in the space it's intended for, it looks more grey than I'd imagined.  But it is beautiful hand-printed paper.  I'm glad just to have the sample.
 This one is looking like it might be the dark horse of the pack.  Things we were not looking for: big pink flowers, a white background, Orla Kiely (I love her but see some of her designs too much to be able to live with them) and this is all of those things, but it works somehow.  It's nice and bright in the space, pretty but geometric, '70s but modern.  When you see more of the pattern, you can see the flowers are grouped in hexagons.  (I'll have hexagons one way or another!  Ha!)  A definite contender.
 This pink one (brighter in real life) also seems to work well in the space, but I do worry it might be slightly cliched in its Japaneseyness?  Is it Japanesey?  It does have the advantage of a colourful background with white accents to brighten it, rather than vice versa.  This is more what I had in mind, I think.  Again, it would have been nice to have got a bigger sample.
I'm sorely tempted by this one too.  Turquoise and gold?  Yes, please!  When the light hits the gold, it is beautifully glinty, but we don't have much light in our hall and the turquoise background is very deep and dark.  I worry it might be a bit too much/too dark.

In the process of writing this post, I think I've swung even more in the direction of the pink Orla Kiely flowers.  It reminds me of my childhood for some I just found it online for almost half the price we were quoted!  Whoop!  But gold is so special... Oh, I don't know.  Do you have a favourite, or any other wallpapers you'd recommend?

Thursday, July 24, 2014


 The Commonwealth Games have officially started here in Glasgow.  Dulcie is so used to having her photo taken with Clyde the stereotypical mascot that she adopts this pose every time she sees him without even being asked.
And this on a day when the unwilling/grumpy model would only allow me to photograph her back!

Other than giant plastic thistles popping up everywhere and various roads being closed, I haven't really seen any great difference in the city so far, but I guess it's early days.  I have been noticing a few extra tourists over the last couple of weeks.  I always like to see tourists on my home turf, it's nice to be reminded, by people taking photos, that things you walk past every day are interesting if you take the time to look.  

We watched some of the opening ceremony on TV last night (we watched a Mad Men instead while the teams were coming into the stadium) and I thought it was really good.  I like the colourful inclusiveness, the toungue-in-cheek moments and the low-budget elements.  We heard the Red Arrows overhead from our vantage point on the sofa, which was fun, and certainly heard the fireworks at the end!  They were so loud and we are miles away!

I just watched the end of the women's triathlon on TV and was very impressed, but I think it's too nice a day to stay on the couch and watch the swimming that's coming on now.  I could wander down and see if I could catch some lawn bowling for real (that's taking place in our neighbourhood) but I think it might be too nice a day for that too (phew! it's so hot this week!) and I have too many jobs to do around the house anyway.

Talking of sporting achievements...  Yeah, this is not really on the Commonwealth scale, but I did have my own miniature sporting victory this week.  Graham and I have agreed that I will go swimming one evening every week and that he will stay at home and try to persuade Dulcie that she doesn't need me to get to sleep.  This was week one.  Dulcie was distraught as I left and, even though I lied and told her I was going to boring old work, she was desperate to come with me.  Graham bravely restrained her while I ran out the door, telling me she'd be fine two minutes after I was gone.  She wasn't.  After 45 minutes solid of hysterical screaming, Graham reluctantly phoned to ask me if I could come back.  Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for him and Dulcie!) I was already in the pool by the time he called, so was blissfully unaware until I checked my phone while getting changed again.  Ha!

We're hoping this was a blip and she'll get used to the idea.  I have managed to have the occasional solo evening out in the past, including one fairly recently, and I think the swimming would be really good for me (body and soul!) if I could keep it up.  Graham, the brave soldier, is willing to keep trying.  What a guy. 

Anyway, other than Dulcie having a flaky, my swim trip was amazing in every way.  I was so tired as I set off and was sorely tempted not to go.  I struggled with the 25 minute walk to the pool, but once I got in the water I was fine.  The pool was freezing, which was just what I needed after a long day in the hot, hot heat of the park.  I told myself anything over 10 lengths would be good, but I ended up managing to do 30.  Go, me!  I was stopping to catch my breath every two lengths or so, but this is still pretty much what I would have managed before all the heart crap if I hadn't been swimming regularly.  My muscles were lovely and achy the next morning (I had slept so well that night!) so I think it was probably a good amount to do.  I can hardly wait for next week's outing to come around.  Now, if I could just stop eating so much crap and staying up so late...   Well, progress is progress.  I feel good about this :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

cerddoriaeth (that's welsh for music...apparently)

I've been quite enjoying this new single by Gruff Rhys, though it does remind me of this older song...

I loved this naff article when I was little.  I even wrote a story at school about a girl getting the best surprise of her life - front-row seats at a Richard Marx concert!  Ha ha!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 11) - all about the "exersize"!

You might remember that last week's installment ended with the earth-shattering news that we were to be without any water from 9-3 the following day.  Have you been on the edge of your seats all week?  Well, read on, my friends...

28th March 1988
Today we werent going to get any water.  But as some strange things do happen. We did.  They were working but our water didn't go off.  I made two dolls out of wool.  One was is a boy and one was is a girl.  I was doing a few exersizes to music.  I watched a brillient film about a bus.  Kerry gave me a doll made out of yarn.

29th March 1988
Tonight I was doing some exersizes to lose some weight.  I did them to an exersize tape.  I was also doing them to hits for kids.  I made another doll today.

30th March 1988
Culltural day. 
[This was an idea of my parents to go on cultural outings as a family.  I think they aimed to do this every Sunday for a while, much to my horror - I liked to stay at home whenever possible.  This wasn't a Sunday, but I suppose it must have been the Easter holidays?]
I went to Aberdeen.  We saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I made a coin.  I got a pen.  I had a shower.  Had great fun.

31st March 1988
Now for some Shakespeer.  Alas, Alack it is the last day of March.  Good.  Well I think it is.  This morning dad's birthday present arrived. [Ten weeks early?!]  It is an exersize bike.  Kerry and mum went to Aberdeen.  I started my sewing box.  I have three things and a pin cushion that I'm in the middle of sewing.

1st of April 1988 April fools day
This morning Kerry and mum made dad run downstairs in his knickers.  I did four miles on the exersize bike.  We heard Martin broke his leg.

2nd April 1988
I went for two miles on the exersize bike.  I watched a vidio.  It was called The Phantom Tollbooth.  I also watched a film caled The Three Lives of Thomasina.  It was all about a ginger cat called Thomasina.  It was very good.  Yesterday Martin broke his leg.

3rd April 1988
Yahoo.  It's easter day.  I got lots of presents.  Two big eggs, a mug, a small egg, two small wispas and an easter bunny called Benjamin Bunny.  Or Benji Bun for short.  We did a concert at Church.  We saw the moon rising.

Monday, July 21, 2014

twinkle twinkle

Check out these sparklers!  Maybe how an egg from a vajazzled duck would look? I'm not sure that's something to aspire to... 
I haven't painted my nails at all in many a long year, but I figured I should take the "in for a penny, in for a ten pound note" approach.  A little over the top, perhaps?  I do love glitter, though. 
Really, I painted these for Dulcie's amusement and am slightly uncomfortable with the level of glamour I'm carrying around with me.  They're not really me, or not the 2014 me anyway.  I'm sure I would have been very proud of these in the late '90s.  Still, they make the view of my dreary work keyboard look a bit more cheerful.  Shazzam.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I read this book lately.  I just happened to find it on a bookshelf I had to move for decorating purposes and was intrigued by a) Ian McEwan having written for children, something I didn't know about, and b) illustrations by Anthony Browne, whose books Dulcie and I love.  I don't know where my copy of this book came from really, but it was with a whole load of books I had for the classroom when I was teaching and I don't remember buying it in a charity shop, so I think my mum or dad must have given it to me while I was still busy having a proper job with a classroom bookshelf to fill.  I was probably too busy having a near nervous breakdown at the time to pay it the attention it deserved, but - WOW - it's such a great book!  It's really quite dark and grotesque in parts and kind of sad in others, but the moral core of it is certainly very sound.  I'm going to be putting this on the Dulcie-must-read shelf for when she's a bit older, though I think grown-ups should read it too, for sure.

I seem to be enjoying children's fiction.  Quality children's fiction, I should add, but children's fiction nonetheless.  I don't look on children's fiction (quality children's fiction! ha!) as a lesser genre, but I do worry my brain is subtly telling me it's not up to the mental challenge of "real" books any more.  But I'm thinking I might indulge this interest and read more of the books I found on my once-classroom shelf.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

things people put in books

While having a quick tidy-up on Thursday afternoon, I found my stash of bookmarks.  I did consider photographing more and using it as my annual "accidental collections" blog post, but decided that would really just be an (excellent!) excuse to ditch the tidying up, so instead I decided to share just this one, one of my favourites.  I think we were given these at school in the '80s.  Quite ominous looking, I suppose, but I really like it.  I was quite ruthless and took about 75% of my bookmarks to the charity shop.  I was in a donating sort of a mood and I'm sure I won't miss them.  I didn't give away anything nearly so special as this one.

Beside my bookmarks was my small collection of things I've found in books, which I sometimes like to use as bookmarks too.  I blogged about that a long time ago (2008!) but I don't think I've added anything to the collection since then, so you should click on the link if you want to have a look.  

Later that afternoon, Abe Books sent me an email all about the strange and wonderful things their second-hand booksellers had found in books too!  Weird coincidence, huh?  The article makes for quite interesting reading.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Look what arrived in the post yesterday!  Hummunah hummunah!  No prizes for guessing what we'll be doing if it stays dry today :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

eagle eyes

One of the fun things about milling about with Dulcie is that she notices every tiny item of any interest whatsoever.  If there's a single insect crawling on the pavement 20 metres ahead, she will spot it and take me over for a closer look.  While we were sticking fallen leaves back on on trees (her idea!) in the Botanics on Friday, she found this crazy-looking little stick - furry at one end and spotty at the other.
I worked out it was one of these things without the seeds.  Not that I know what this thing is either.
It's fun to have someone with you to point out the world's small wonders :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

big girls do cry

Dulcie keeps surprising me lately with how much of a big girl she appears.
Here she is, looking very grown up while she watches TV, wearing the dress I made her a while back.  I had to wrestle her into it for some reason, probably because every task these days involves wrestling, but once it was on, nobody could deny how good she looked, not even Dulcie herself.  It fits her much better now than it did a few months back.
But really, she's still only little, I know.  I have to keep reminding myself of this fact in an attempt to keep myself sane.  Much of the time, she is the absolute epitome of a stereotypical terrible two-year-old.  The crying.  Oh, my god, THE CRYING.  She will scream about absolutely anything and everything, mostly about me not giving her enough attention or making her do one thing when she wants to be doing something else.  And you can guarantee she never wants to do anything we actually need to do - going to the toilet, eating meals, going to nursery, sleeping, getting dressed, visiting the supermarket...  And when you picture her crying, don't think of a stifled sniffle as a solitary tear trickles down her peachy cheek, it's more of a glass-shattering, eardrum-bursting scream, a red face and flailing limbs.  Once the screaming abates, she'll sometimes say something horrendous like, "I'm sad because of you, Mummy."
After a mammoth decorating marathon (helped massively by my parents on their recent visit) Dulcie finally moved into her own bedroom this weekend.  The room is lovely.  Dulcie still whispers, "Wow!" every time she walks in and gives actual guided tours to her soft toys.  She thinks having her own bedroom is the best thing ever.  But sleeping in it?  Hell, no!  After spending ages fighting with me about whether or not it can be night-time when it's still light outside (every night - aargh!) her real gripe is that she does not want to be left alone.  She begs and pleads with me not to leave her and will only stay in bed long enough to go to sleep if I am close enough to her so that she can actually hold onto me, usually by my hair.  Ouch.  Once she's asleep, I sneak out of the room.  This is the unhealthy manner in which I've been getting Dulcie to go to sleep for ages.  The thing is, while she was forced into a sharing a room with us, I would be back by her side by the time she woke up sometime between midnight and dawn.  All I would have to do to get her back to sleep would be to reach out my arm and let her know I was there, I hardly even had to wake up myself.  Now that we're in separate rooms, she wakes up on her own and sets up a blood-curdling and hysterical-sounding screaming session.  She keeps it up until I get out of bed, go to her room, tuck her back in and sit by her side while she falls asleep again, definitely not something I can do in my sleep.  Last night she woke me up at 2.30.  And 3.00.  And 3.30.  And 3.45.  And 4.30.  And 5.  Basically, I was awake from 2.30 to 6.15...and my alarm was set for 6.30!   Ugh!  (Yes, I really did go back to sleep for those 15 minutes...and loved every one of them!)  Graham tried to do his bit and went through a few times too, tucked her in, sang to her, even tried to reason with her, but this just made her more hysterical still and meant it took even longer for me to settle her back down afterwards.  It's nice to be wanted and all, but I need to sleep.  Our new king-size bed is proving to be super comfortable and spacious and it's so frustrating that I'm not reaping the benefits of that.
Dulcie was actually pretty sweet in amongst the hellish frustration and exhaustion last night.  I think it was around 4.30 when I finally succumbed to silent tears.  Dulcie, stroking my face, realised I was crying and said, "I want to make you happy, Mummy."  I honestly didn't have to work too hard to resist the urge to shout, "THEN GO BACK TO SLEEP ON YOUR OWN, YOU EFFING BLIGHTER!"  Ha!  No, really, I was still sitting watching her sleep and marvelling at how bloomin' beautiful she looked by 5am.  (What can I say?  I'm truly besotted.)  But something's got to give.  Even Dulcie herself was suffering as a result, looking pasty-faced and exhausted when she had to get up for nursery this morning.  And every day she promises that tonight will be the night she settles herself and every evening she goes back on her word and I'm left asking yet again, "What would Supernanny do?" and thinking that her solutions just wouldn't work for us, but obviously everything I'm doing is not working either.  At least doing things my way, the neighbours aren't disturbed for quite so long, right?
I feel like such a crap mum.  And a tired one :(

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 10)

21st March 1988
Kevin F, Lyndsey S, Donna W all have same birthday.
I gave a card to Lyndsey and Kevin and Donna because it is their birthday.  I went swimming.  It was good fun.

22nd March 1988
I desighned four stamps at school.  One was for Aussie being 200 years old, one for pancake day, one for Christmas and one was for easter.

23rd March 1988 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
It is Debby's birthday today.  The Nicolls were at our house to play.  My Mum was going to go to Huntly with their mum to get Mrs Munro's present.  But the clock that they were getting wasn't ready.  It is 18 past 9 just now.

[Mrs Munro was my school dinner lady.  We used to fight for the right to go and collect the milk from her because she would give us a fruit gum from a tin she kept in her drawer in the school kitchen.  She also made really nice food for us every day.  I think I loved everything except her jelly.]

24th March 1988 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Nobody's birthday today.  But it is Emma's tomorrow.  Groan.  I was at brownies.  I got three badges - venture, dancer and writer.

25th March 1988
I was at Mrs Munro's presentation.  The act went very well.  Today I had my last dinner made by Mrs Munro.

26th March 1988
Today it is Julia's and Garry's birthday.  We went to Banf and Aberdeen.  We went there to look for a suite.  Kerry and I found a set of bed springs with a toy duck on it.  There was a sighn saying push down springs to make the duck fall of.  It didn't because it was stuck on with glue.

27th March 1988 Jack Jack is is
Today is Sunday the twenty seventh of March.  I had to give a cristening certifacate to Clair's mum at church today.  I was in bed for most of the day because I had a sore tummy and I was tiered.  After tea I went outside.  Tommorrow we won't have any water from 9 oclock till 3 oclock.  Boo hoo boo hoo.

Monday, July 14, 2014

sunday lovely sunday

We went on such a nice outing yesterday morning.  I cycled for the first time in about 20 years!  We went to Maryhill swimming pool (we normally have to fork out for a taxi there on a Sunday) where the gates were looking particularly gorgeous in the sunshine.

I got Graham a Dulcie-sized bike seat for his birthday back in January, but he only got it up and running a couple of weeks ago.  (Long story.)  Dulcie and he have both been really enjoying it and I've been managing to overcome my crazy mother fears about the danger involved.  This weekend was the first time I'd joined them on one of their wheely outings.  I did not want to wear a helmet really, not because I look like a knob (I know I do!) but because it was all mouldy from years in the cellar, hanging on Hillary's handlebars.  Eugh.  But we're doing our best to get Dulcie to equate bikes with helmet wearing, so I took a spore or two for the team!
The cycle to the pool was pretty horrendous, to be honest, and I was regretting getting back on my bike and thinking wistfully about how I'd have to send her back to the charity shop from whence she came.  My poor bottom was in agony at every bump and I couldn't decide whether my thighs or my lungs were burning the most.  I kept worrying my heart was going to do something crazy (when I pedal bikes at the hospital, they have doctors and resuscitation experts watching my heart on a fancy monitor, after all, for fear of death) or that I was going to be hit by a car on the roads or cycle into a lamp post, or (worse) a pedestrian, on the pavement.  I couldn't really look around without veering dangerously, so I had to keep stopping at every potential hazard.  And it was uphill nearly all the way.  By the time we got in the pool, I was too tired to swim any lengths, but Dulcie insisted on riding me around the baby pool using my swimming suit straps as reins, so it wasn't exactly restful!  At least the water soothed my saddle sores slightly...  I spent most of my time there dreading getting back on the bike and wondering if there was another way of getting home.
But once we were back in the saddles, I had a total change of heart.  Gone were the cars, lamp posts and pedestrians, as we cycled along the canal path instead.  And it was glorious - pretty, sunny, smooth and flat!  I was able to pedal for a bit and then free-wheel to let my legs and lungs recover, so there was much less stopping and starting and much more of that lovely feeling of fun and freedom that I'd remembered from childhood cycling.
We left the canal path in time to stop off at Jaconelli's cafe for fried food and ice cream, which felt well deserved and made us all happy.  (I do worry I'm turning Dulcie into a comfort eater, something I've only recently realised I am.)  Unfortunately, it was back on the roads and pavements from then on to get home, but we went between pushing and pedalling and at least it was mostly downhill and I was a bit less nervous/out of control by this time.

My bum is still very painful today, but my thighs are surprisingly OK and my overall feeling about my first adult cycle outing was pretty positive.  I'm definitely up for some more journeys on Glasgow's cycle paths, although I wish we didn't have to go by roads to reach them initially.  I also wish Glasgow was flatter, but that is nothing new.

Lately I've been trying to think of ways to exercise more that would fit in with my life, laziness and poor health.  I can't see myself becoming a regular cyclist really, but some fair-weather bike riding can surely only be a positive addition and I think it's good for Dulcie to see us doing these sorts of things too.  I'll let you know how it goes.  If I say nothing, you can probably assume Hillary and the helmet have gone back in the cellar to gather more mould!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

housing small objects

The Oxfam bookshop near us always has nice displays.  This little house shelf is part of their current Scottish window display and caught my eye because it's very like something I'm planning to make for Dulcie's room.  I bought a huge bag full of these shelves in the Salvation Army shop about five years ago.  They're just untreated wood and were three for £1 or something.  I had plans to do them up and sell them in my Etsy shop, but never got round to it, so I've decided to use them in Dulcie's room instead.  I'm going to spray paint them white, put some vintage wallpaper inside the doocots and hang them on Dulcie's bedroom wall in a little neighbourhood.  She's already got some wee trinkets to store in them (including some of my old trinkets) but there should be plenty of space for her collection to grow over the years.  I'm pretty excited about this little project, despite this proof that my idea is far from original!

The curtains I made for Dulcie's room are awesome.  They're not perfect and they took me approximately half a lifetime to make and they don't keep the light out as much as I'd hoped, but they have made such a big impact on the room and are so bright and fun and nicely finished.  I'll share some pictures soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

cancel the games

This monstrous ensemble represents Team Scotland's parade uniform for the Commonwealth Games.  Honestly, when I first saw this, I thought it must have been a joke.  So wrong on so many levels, not least the ladies' little handbags.  Ugh.  It looks like it's been thrown together by the losing competitor on week one of the Great British Sewing Bee, someone who panicked when they entered the fabric store and then had to construct everything in the last five minutes using safety pins and sellotape.  "And tartan... And drape...  Aaargh!  Done!"  Perhaps I'll find some other country to support.  Ha!

In other news (non-news) I am perilously close to my 1000th blog post!  Wowsers!  I'd like to do something to celebrate, but am rather uninspired.  Any ideas?  I'm happy to raid my handmade-goodies drawers and have a wee giveaway, but I'm not sure I have much that I haven't given away before and haven't all six of my regular readers won something at least once in the past?  Be quick with your suggestions, if you have any, because I'm trying to blog every day in July (had you noticed?!) and my 1000th post is due to fall this Tuesday.  If nobody has any great ideas/interest in a random giveaway, I'll just post my diary as usual and give myself a wee pat on the back instead :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

heads up, it's public art!

Dulcie is really into letters these days.  She's got quite a lot in her repertoire and loves to spot them whenever we're out and about (or in and about).  And so it was I found myself leading her on a letter trail a few weeks back, in an attempt to distract her tired legs from the journey home without having to carry her.  That was why I spotted what I thought was a bit of paper stuck to the wall in this back lane.  "Ah-ha," I thought, "More letters up ahead!"
When I got closer, however, I realised it was a small ceramic plaque cemented into the wall, that I must have been walking past for the previous three weeks or so.

A few days later, I decided to check out the website and discovered this.  So the lovely little plaque was not the art itself, but was the information about the art - a small ceramic head nestling somewhere nearby.  I also discovered that the next writer due to be featured in the project was someone I met (and spoke to at some length) at that wedding we were at recently.  How odd.

Anyway, armed with my camera, I headed out to see if I could spot the head and I found it just to the right of the ivy in that top picture.  The weird thing was, as soon as I looked at it, I realised I had seen it before.  I had spotted it while walking past on my own and it had given me the heebie-jeebies so badly that I had blocked it from my mind, to the extent that I was surprised to learn there was a head there when I looked at the website.  I'm not sure how to explain how I know I had already seen it, but I KNOW that I had.  This has rather freaked me out.  If I can wipe a ceramic head from my memory/consciousness, how else am I distorting my view of the world?  It's probably best not to think about this too much.

The next day I was walking down the lane with Dulcie again and decided to show her the head.  I had to lift her up to do this.  Despite its spooky appearance and its being surrounded by cobwebs (her personal obsession at the moment) she didn't seem too troubled by it, so I decided to let her have a conversation with it.  "Hello, Dulcie," I said in my best man's voice, i.e. a cockney accent delivered from the belly.  She was a bit taken aback, so I encouraged her to say hello to the little man and they ended up having a fairly lengthy conversation about where she was going and what she was doing.  She was having such a lovely chat that she didn't want to leave, but was eventually persuaded to walk off, looking over her shoulder and waving and shouting, "Bye-bye, little man!" as she went.

Dulcie is quite used to having conversations with animated inanimates.  She can be quiet or, at best, vague when Graham and I ask her what she's been doing in a day, but if Susan the plastic seahorse asks her while she's in the bath, all the news comes spilling out.  That night, Susan asked Dulcie if she had met anybody interesting or done anything fun that day.  This was her excited response:  "We met a little man.  He had a funny voice.  He lived in a hole.  He didn't have any legs, just a head and no body.  I told him I was going to the library."
A few days later I was thinking about the little head while I was at work and marvelling at just how many things it had made me think about - how strange it was that I had spotted it and unremembered it and remembered it again, how much of an impact it had made on Dulcie, how coincidental it was that it turned out to be connected to someone I had just met...  I was messaging my colleague Emma and wanted to tell her the story, but couldn't think how to explain its many legs of strangeness in a brief message, so I just told her that a small ceramic head in a hole in a wall had made me think all sorts of thoughts and had even turned out to involve someone I'd met at a wedding recently.  Emma immediately messaged back, "It's not Nicola, is it?"  Well, Nicola was not the person I knew, but she was the person who had made the head and organised the whole project.  It turned out Emma had worked on a similar but different project with her before and had blogged about the experience.  Unfortunately, this all took place at a very sad time for Emma so only amounts to three posts, but her brief record is so beautifully written and I was really glad to have read it, something I wouldn't have done if I hadn't been looking for letters and spotted that plaque on the wall.

All in all, I can hardly believe the strange paths that little plaque has led me on.  I bloody love Glasgow.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

a happy surprise

Quite by accident, I have discovered Sarah Waters has a new book coming out in August.  Yippee!  I feel like I've been waiting for ever for this.  Now I can't decide whether to jump in and pre-order the hardback or wait impatiently for the paperback.  I treated myself to a brand-new hardback copy of The Little Stranger when it first came out and it really did feel like a treat (most of my books are dog-eared copies from the charity shop, so to smell the ink and hear the little crack of a hardback spine... oh!) but then a paperback is so much lighter and more transportable...  Then again, it's almost 600 pages long, which makes it neither light nor transportable in any printed format.  Hardback it is!  I repeat, yippee!
If you've never read any Sarah Waters, I'd recommend Fingersmith (read it! read it! read it!) and The Night Watch.  Those two and The Little Stranger I thought were pretty amazing, but the others are enjoyable too, so you can't really go too far wrong with her.  I hope this new one lives up to my ridiculously high expectations.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

painting the postboxes red

A few weeks ago (approximately one day before banners began to be hung from every other lamp post in town) I remarked to Graham that there were surprisingly few signs that Glasgow was about to host the Commonwealth Games.  He replied that we'd know it was happening when they started repainting the postboxes.  Sure enough, a couple of weeks on, the postboxes are being smartened up left, right and centre.  It hasn't just been a wee lick of paint either.  All the old layers of paint have been removed first, so the letterboxes are really looking very smart indeed.
I'd never realised before how old this box, local to our flat, was and probably wouldn't have noticed had it not been for the repainting and my dad's eagle eyes/historical know-how.  This box is not from the reign of Elizabeth II, as I had presumed, but is actually from the time of Edward VIII.  A little piece of history that I pop my letters in now and again, for the first time in a long time, looking as smart as it deserves.  I wonder what sort of items have been posted in here over the years...?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 9) - V.G.

Vintage Rocking Cowboy with Lasso (1970s)
This lasso thrower is available here.

14th March 1988 Kerry is a baby Ga Ga
[There's a picture of a hand throwing a lasso round the word March]
Today I went to swimming.  I went into the deep end again.  I went on the chute.  The second time I went on she held me untill until I got started then she let go.

15th March 1988
[lots of subtraction sums here with tens and units clearly marked!]
I am the cook in the Drummer and the cook.  We made pigion holes.  We wrote letters to people.  I wrote one to Toby.  One for Julia and one for Mrs Smith.

16th o Mach March 1988
[some cats and faces drawn here]
Today I wrote a letter to Mark, Lyndsey, Martha, Diana and William.  All different letters of course.  I wrote them at home.  Martha McPhee did a pea and never flushed the lavee.

17th 17th March March
17th 17th March March
17th 17th March March
Tonight I went to brownies. At brow brownies I went for a walk.  It was good fun.  I went up to the warmer moriel [war memorial!] and back on my bike.  I wrote a letter to Emma.  Garry N came to play.

It is the 18th of March today
Today I drew a picture of twichy [my hamster] for a competition.  At school we opened the postbox.  I got 4 letters.
V.G. [looks like I was marking my own diary entries!]

19th March 1988
I wrote two letters to Lynn and Garry N.  Diana and Toby phoned to ask if the letter was true.  It wasn't.
V.G.  V.G.  V.G.  V.G.  V.G.  V.G.  V.G.  V.G. VVVG

20th March 1988
Dear Donna I went to the beach.  At the beach I fell down and hurt myself.  I got five bruises on my knee.  I went for two walks.  I played rounders with Ruth and Jan. V.G.

Monday, July 7, 2014


One of my colleagues left some origami paper and a book of instructions in the kitchen at work last week.  I made this sweet little fox on a quick screen break and was rather pleased with him.  It looks like other subtitlers have been trying their hand at some paper folding too.  The kitchen windowsill is becoming a regular paper menagerie :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

if you went down to the woods last Saturday...

 Last weekend, Dulcie donned her fairy wings and accompanied my mum and I to a fairy festival at the Children's Wood.  It was a really fun couple of hours.  This lady here was telling a story about a fairy while leading a promenade around the meadow.
 Dulcie met quite a few friends from nursery and actually had two pals fighting over who would get to hold her hand at one point - most amusing to me, having never been involved in such a social melee, myself!  Here she is holding hands with the victor, her long-term friend, Vaila.  They are so funny together, playing really nicely for a while before their equally strong stubborn streaks bubble up to the surface and cause a flash fight.  They hang out outside of nursery most weeks, so we are pretty familiar with their double act by now.
 Of course, it wasn't long before there was a fight over a wand.  "No, Vaila!  That's my wand!"  Shortly after this photo was taken, the two of them were stealing the storyteller's limelight by having a full-on wrestle in the long grass, an incident that cheered them both up and had them laughing and cuddling again.
 As well as the storyteller, there were lots of other fun activities, the mini petting zoo being a definite highlight.  Dulcie was the first one in with the rabbits and guinea pigs.  She's so brave these days :)
 The absolute highlight of the whole shebang, however, was stroking this African pygmy hedgehog.  Dulcie was beyond delighted and followed the hedgehog handler around for ages.  I was pretty pleased by the encounter too.  I love hedgehogs and all their spiky weird creepiness.
 We skipped the willow-wand making in favour of a general tour of the woodland.  There were lots of fairy doors and glitter trails to spot, but Dulcie was more interested in jumping across the logs...
...and playing with the recycled bunting.

The Children's Wood is such a great place - a rambling natural oasis amid the streets and buildings of the west end - and always has loads of events on.  If you're Glasgow based or bound, you should check it out.  The council wants to build flats in this space (naturally) but there's a very well organised opposition to this and joining in with all the fun events they put on helps their cause no end.  Win-win, huh?  You can find out what's on as well as more ways to help save the woods and meadow by visiting their website here.

P.S. Perhaps you've noticed that Dulcie is never out of these grey knee-high socks these days.  They're from BHS's schoolwear range, so came in a cheapish five pack, and I thought they'd be great for our unpredictable climate and for potty training - quick access in case of emergencies and less layers to change in case of accidents.  I was right on both these counts, but I wasn't expecting them to look quite so bleedin' stylish with it, gov!  I love them!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

les bicyclettes!

Tour de France, baby, yeah!  (Tour de France, bebe, oui!)

Dulcie and I made this collaborative piece recently to get us all in the mood.  I drew the road and the trees and left Dulcie to do the rest. She did have assistance with her signature, I'll admit!
 These super-sweet bike stickers were only 50p a pack in the Paperchase sale.
I bought a few packs so I could afford to let Dulcie go mad with these, sticking the whole lot on various projects/places in one fell swoop.

I hope she lets Graham and I watch enough cycling to really get into the race this year.  If she does, I'll let you know who I'm supporting (in my own whimmish I-don't-really-understand-cycling sort of way) in due course.  

Vive la France!  Vive la Yorkshire too!

Friday, July 4, 2014

chalk it up

One of Dulcie's favourite back-garden activities is drawing on the path with chalk.  She likes to lie down and have me draw round her, then she adds details.  You can see from this picture that pants are high priority at the moment (she's only been out of nappies a couple of weeks and is doing so well) so they get a giant scribble.  The sore bit on her ankle (added after this photo was taken) was also heavily exaggerated, bless her.
Fortunately, our neighbours don't seem to mind the shared back garden looking like a colourful crime scene and we're in Glasgow so it's never long before a shower of rain arrives to wash it off.
Dulcie's granny (my mum) was the chalky assistant on this occasion and I was very pleased to get a half-decent photo of them together at long last.  Until now, my mum has been represented on the kitchen fridge photos by a picture of Sally Magnusson (cut out of the Aye Write catalogue) because Sally Magnusson was deemed to look more like my mum than my mum did, oddly.  Now we'll be able to replace Sally's mugshot with this picture.  Dulcie really believes that Sally Magnusson is my mum, I think.  She always used to shout, "There's Granny!" when she saw her face on posters round and about.

I've got these pavement chalks on my wishlist on Amazon.  The colours look amazing.  I may have to invest before summer is out, but perhaps not the giant 48-pack, which seems rather extravagant.  I'm sure 16 shades of chalk are enough for anybody and still a great improvement on the five similar pastel shades we currently have in our repertoire.  Our neighbours won't know what's hit them!