Friday, 17 July 2009

Two things I am not supposed to enjoy, but I do

Black pudding - when we go up North on holiday I get quite weird at the prospect of eating a really good black pudding from the local butcher; my London-born boyfriend and children can't believe I would eat this stuff. I say they haven't tried a proper Yorkshire/Lancashire home made black pudding; they say they don't want to.

Blocking my knitting and weaving in the ends - really, why is it so bad? I love this part!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Falling apart

I am an organised person. That’s not a virtue or a vice, that’s just the way I am made. And I have one organised child and one hopelessly dreamy and forgetful child – but that’s okay too, because I have enough organisational skills to share around (only with the children though - boyf can organise himself).

So the day-to-day household management around here usually happens without too much fuss. Cheques get paid on time, appointments are made, reply slips get returned to school, last minute requests for costumes or cakes are whipped up with minimal grumbling and important dates are written in the calendar.

But this week something has gone horribly wrong with my organisational powers and I feel like I’m walking on shifting sands of confusion and muddle. It is the last week of term. I am tired and preoccupied with work, the organised child is almost delirious with exhaustion and too much homework while the dreamy child is shattered and even madder than usual. We’ve hardly seen G as he works stupid pre-holiday hours trying to get everything done before we go away.

So far this week:
  • The dreamy child lost her dinner money envelope and the organised one left his in the bottom of his school bag and forgot to hand it in.
  • The organised child then left his lunchbox at school – or possibly at the childminder’s. The dreamy child is having school dinners all week but by the evening can’t remember what she ate for lunch. Did she eat anything?
  • The organised child thinks he might need a tennis ‘bat’ for when he goes to summer camp next month. I think we’ve got one somewhere in the house but I can’t remember where. I forget to look for it but the organised child forgets to remind me, so that’s kind of okay.
  • The organised child starts making arrangements for where he is going to meet the childminder at the end of the school day next term. Except that he does not know where his next classroom will be, nor where O’s next classroom will be. Both children, the childminder and I are all very confused.
  • I pack my lunch for work and then leave it at home. Two days in a row.
  • The organised child looses his asthma pump and comes home with someone else’s. I forget to call the Doctors to get a repeat prescription written up for him.
  • Both children have received some Sainsbury’s school vouchers through the post from Granny. The dreamy child thinks she has lost them somewhere in her bedroom. But the organised child then tells her that she never even had them; he has in fact lost them in his bedroom. They argue about who has lost them and then find them in a box of Lego.
  • The dreamy child is told she must be a “buddy” for a new girl in her class. This means she has to wear a smiley face pin badge on her uniform at all times, for a whole week. So far she has lost the badge twice - but has at least also found it twice.
  • The organised child forgets to hand the vouchers in to the school office but finds the dreamy child’s lunch money in the car.
  • I take the Sainsbury's vouchers into the school office and then forget to order school sweatshirts, a size bigger, while I am there. I have two days left to remember to do this or the children will go back to school in September wearing this year’s stained, faded and too-small ones.
  • This morning, as she was walking in to her classroom the dreamy child shouted over her shoulder “Oh yes, I forgot to tell you, I need to bring fairy cakes and a packet of straws into school tomorrow!”

This suddenly seems like a monumental task, but I get home from work this evening and make them anyway. Fortunately I am sufficiently organised to have just enough baking marg left in the fridge.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Saturday morning, cycling to work, 8:45am

  • Bangra and bass thumping out of two silver beamers parked outside Leyton Police station.
  • A postman walking very fast.
  • A convoy of four cement mixers queuing to enter the Olympic Park.
  • The milkman stopping off at the Londis on his way home.
  • Dozens of Saturday runners out in Victoria Park, but nobody resting on the benches.
  • A shout of "Awright darlin'!" from an old lady sitting on the front steps of her house, nursing a cup of tea, in Bethnal Green.
  • No other cyclists next to me at the traffic lights.
  • Speeding down the almost empty Hackney Road, very fast, in top gears.
  • Swerving past the broken glass outside the strip clubs in Shoreditch.
  • Spooked by the post apocalyptic emptiness that is The City on a weekend...
  • ...except for two men in very well cut suits going into JP Morgan,
  • and a delivery of beer to a pub in Moorgate.
  • My colleague going out to buy me a bacon sandwich and a cup of coffee when I get to my desk.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Man shopping

We are having a party on Saturday, for ten people. I am at work all day so G, an infrequent but enthusiastic cook, is in charge of everything. I shall just turn up when it's party time.

Last night he gave me this shopping list of things he needs for the meal and asked me to go to the supermarket.

Yes, it really does include seven unwaxed lemons, two whole celeriac, five balls of buffalo mozzarella and two legs of lamb. TWO LEGS OF LAMB!!!

But he's cooking and he's paying, so I got everything on the list and lugged it home. But not before I called him from the supermarket car park and freaked him out by revealing how much money he now owes me. It's going to be some party.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

In praise of sisters-in-law

Me and my brother, taken by my sister-in-law, originally uploaded by The List Writer.

One of the things I love about getting older is the bigger family you have as an adult.

As a child my family was very straightforward: siblings and parents, and grandparents on high days and holidays. Now, my family is so much bigger and more complicated to explain. Nephews, sisters-in-law, my partner's grandparents, neices, brothers-in-law, my sister's mother-in-law - all these extra people are now a part of a very extended family; I love it. And in the years to come, hopefully there will also be sons-in-law, grandchildren, nephew's wives and all sorts of other characters to add to the mix.

I spent a happy day yesterday, sewing a quilt with one of my three sisters-in-law. It made me reflect that all of them are very different but equally loveable. Here's why:

  • one of them takes the best photos in the world
  • one of them sees these clothes pegs and knows how much I would love them
  • one of them understands all about being married to a twin
  • they all love my children and relish being aunties
  • they are all very accepting and laid-back
  • they will go on knicker-making workshops with me and snort with laughter at the word 'gusset'
  • all of them sit very happily in a halfway land between sister and close friend. Not one thing nor the other, but in many ways a bit of both.

Love 'em!