Saturday, 30 April 2011

Wedding bliss

I persuaded the children to sit on the sofa with me to watch the Royal Wedding.

"It's the dress I want to see," I told them. "10.51: that's when we'll get the first glimpse."

Sure enough, knowing her duty to her future family means sticking to the clockwork timetable, Catherine Middleton emerged from the Goring Hotel on time. I, of course, am engrossed. It looks big, not sleek and slinky. It looks lacy on top. But really, it is impossible to see much in those few seconds, what with the car in the way and a lady running around with a camera.

My son and daughter are less enthusiastic than me. My daughter is excited by her name. "Is it Catherine with a K?" she asks. When told no, her response is that it is like my name.

"Well, a bit," I say, "but mine has an A in it. CathArine, not CathErine."

You see - that's what I am: Catharine with an A.

My son is intrigued by the wedding malarky, but states quite categorically that he is only interested in the kiss. When they said their vows he asked, "Do they kiss now?" (Clearly not.) And when they were on the balcony he was looking away when they first kissed and had to rewind! Thank goodness they did it a second time when he was watching!

But this is leaping ahead. The bride gets into her car, the train follows, and then her father sits by her side. No-one seems too flustered, not even that photographer. Everybody settled in and the car begins to move away.

Then my daughter says, "Is Catherine the one in white?"

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Sing along now!

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me-ee...
Happy birthday to me!!

And now life begins again...

Photo credit:

Friday, 15 April 2011

What happens when he grows up?

This week my son went on a school residential for three days ... and I went all weepy.

I don't know why. My children have stayed away from home on many occasions during their lives - in the early years with grandparents, or with aunts and uncles. They have never had separation anxiety and neither, really, have I. Knowing that you fully trust the people they are with (and having my own self-doubts at being anything like a good mother so expecting that they'll do it better anyway) has enabled me to let them go.

And it isn't even his first school residential trip. I wasn't like this last year!

So, I have a list of things to blame.

1. Too much alcohol the night before.
2. Too little sleep (same evening - possibly probably related!)
3. His goodbye was an over-the-shoulder 'Bye Mum!' - no hug or kiss or hint of sadness.
4. I suddenly realised he's growing up.

He's growing up, and one day he'll leave home. Probably in about 8 years. This is less than the length of time I've already spent with him! Panic about him fleeing the nest has set in and I haven't even reached the horrors of teenage years yet! The house will be so quiet: No elephants jumping down the stairs. No conflicting volume control fights with TV/computer and sister in same room. No 'Can I play on your phone?' arguments. No screams from his sister when he hits her. No trombone practice. And, for me, no school pick-up and longer days and time to myself.

Calming down a little, I can also rationalise that when I've experienced the teens I might be much happier about him leaving home...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Writing Wednesday: My Mslexia Hit

I was wondering yesterday what to write this week when what should fall through the letter-box but the new Mslexia magazine - the writing magazine for women. Instant inspiration! Us women are clever, creative people and this never fails to recognise this.

I promise you that I am not being sponsored to write this post. I was one of 2000 people who contributed my opinions for their revamped magazine via questionnaires. I was quite anxious that the new product would be very different: too much poetry (for me), too little opportunity to contribute my style of writing, too little education about the writing and publishing processes, too much that is uninteresting.

But the moment I saw it, through its clear plastic wrapper, I was excited. How great is that? I love the more solid feel of it, without resorting to glossy pages. At a glance, I found it easy to read and am looking forward to picking it up over the next few weeks (if I can hold back that long).

I always find it inspirational as I read others writing and am sparked with ideas for my own. At the back of my mind for some time now I have had a storybook for pre-schoolers (to learn colours, extending to a three-book series with ABC and numbers) and so I'm looking forward to reading the article on writing for toddlers. Maybe it will actually make me get my thoughts onto paper.

The competitions are also great, as they provide an opportunity to get one's writing known. Of course, my masterpiece (ahem!) didn't win the competition I entered ... but still, I'm not holding a grudge!

My only problem is that they have stuck to producing it quarterly: I could easily cope with this inspiration monthly; even bi-monthly would be better. So if you don't subscribe, buy a copy and try it out for yourself.

Writing Wednesday will take a break over the Easter holidays.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Writing Wednesday: The Sad Librarian within me

Not so long ago I rescued one of my favourite books from my daughter's bookshelf. Sadly, at eight years old, she still doesn't have a high respect for books. I'm always telling her to take care of them, not to grab the pages so that they rip, to turn the pages nicely, to use bookmarks. I know this reflects on my own perfectionism, as I love crisp, clean books and that is probably why I spend so much money on new ones!

Another facet of my sad character is my organisation and logic skills. This has helped me get a Maths degree, but perhaps was personified as a child when my friend and I (she was under duress) organised all my books into a library. They were carefully labelled and ordered. Each had a slip inside, just like the old library card system (yes, that does age me!)

My rescued book - Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls - was one of these. Inside is the old slip of paper, yellowed with age. Amazingly the sellotape still sticks. And look - it's No.1! Even then it was a high priority book. It is a collection of children's poems about naughty children, many contributed by Hillaire Belloc, such as Jim (who ran away from his nurse, and was eaten by a lion). It is beginning to crumble, as the paper and binding become crisp and have that gorgeous smell of 'old books'.

And then, via twitter, my attention is drawn to this: a personal library kit

Childishly, I have a secret longing to have this myself, even now! Unfortunately the miles of bookshelves that now fill our house preclude this happening. I would be bankrupt buying the kits and would spend the rest of the year sadly filing everything. But then, if you wanted to borrow a book it would seem mighty professional to stamp and date it before it left the house.

Or sad?

But still, a girl can dream, can't she?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

In which my son is learning the value of money....

It is late on Saturday night and Son is about to go to bed (procrastinating, but on his way). Cheerfully I say:

"So, will I get breakfast in bed in the morning?"

"Do I get paid for it?" he asks.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Hair crisis

I followed my neighbour's 10-year-old daughter to school this morning and thought,

That's a good way of doing your hair.
It is tied back, but also kept out of your face with a hairband.
I could do that.

Is it wrong to take hairstyling tips from someone thirty years younger than you?

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