Thursday, 26 April 2012

Bird on a wire

Some days it is hard to see the magic. The ordinariness of the days roll into weeks, time just a series of events punctuated with the occasional moment, whisper, or gesture that you remember forever. It's been especially hard to find the magic this week, the rainiest April on record. Day after day of thunderous, pelting, pouring, tipping, pissing down rain which fills our thirsty reservoirs and drains our souls. The cats and I have been housebound.

During a rare glimpse of sun, and it's lovely and warm behind the clouds, a swallow lands on the telegraph wires as I scrub the breakfast dishes. She sits there all the time I wash-up and is still there when I return to the window for morning coffee, it occurs to me that this little bird is knackered. She (it could be a he I grant you - but it is apparently very hard to tell them apart, I just googled it) has not moved in a couple of hours. Could it be that she has just landed after flying all the way from Africa?

Imagine the journey that little bird has flown, over mountains, plains, rivers and jungle, past wars and peace, filthy cities and choas, over people's every day lives, through birth and death and hope. The enormity of her journey is humbling.

I'm glad I looked up and saw her, she has given me the sparkle that this week needed.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Just hold my hand, mummy

A is a kind, wise, intelligent little girl. She has many wonderful attributes but my goodness, she is not brave (I can say that being her mother) - P on the other hand is the kind of kid who will fall down three flights of stairs, lips quivering but not crying, and say she's OK. A (age 6) struggles with a graze, we are not talking about any blood here, just a bit of skin discolouration and she is distraught, great sobs and rivers of tears, snot pouring out of her nose, heaving telling me it hurts SOOOOOOO much that she can't possibly have a bath for a week as it will sting. She always refuses a plaster due to the fear of having to pull it off later. Bless. As an antenatal teacher I always wonder how she will fair in labour.

Well, the story goes that A came home from school with a plaster on her knee, rather a deep cut which nearly required a stitch. Uh oh. Three days of negotiations we decided that today was the day, I had to see what was underneath. Sat on the bathroom floor getting ready for her bath A decided that she wanted me to pull the plaster off.

"No, no, no NOOO, mummy!" A said changing her mind  "I'll do it" - I understood her need for control.

"OK darling" I soothed

"No, you do it.." she wailed indecisive about this huge moment in her life.

"OK, are you sure?" I queried, as I got ready peel off the plaster.

"Yes, no...yes!"  we both fell about laughing, A really has a lovely sense of humour.

"OK Mummy, I know, I WILL do it and you just hold my hand " A's decision had been made.

So I held her hand, stroked her back and after 3, A very bravely ripped off her plaster using some deep breathing techniques we had practised as well.

"I DID IT, all by myself!" A whooped, obviously extremely proud.

And it got me thinking about labour. About all those times I have dads-to-be worried they will be a spare part during the labour process, so very often worried that they will be unable to help their partner with the pain. When the baby has been born I ask: "How do you think you helped your partner during labour?" and very often the woman will chip in and say: "Oh, he was wonderful, stroked my brow, held my hand, told me I was doing an amazing job..."

We forget the power of love and support. I will always be there to hold your hand darling A, you are a very brave little girl and of course you can do it.

Monday, 23 April 2012


 I hope you're not eating, especially a Cadbury's mini-roll or something.

You've gotta laugh though haven't you? I was walking up a little country lane with P, dotted with houses, and noticed these beautifully labelled dog poo's. I hope the owner of the dog has seen these and duly cleared the mess. Funniest thing was, I thought the labels could be bought at Homebase - now there's a thought, a pack of 10 for £1 and we could just keep them in our pocket. Whenever we saw a turd, label it so. Brilliant.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Wild garlic pesto

Look at all this free food. Jars and jars of pesto just growing there waiting to be whizzed up with a drop of olive oil and some parmesan. This is our garlic woods (well not actually ours, but we have named them - so feel as though we can lay some sort of claim) and for the last 4 years I have lived here, I have never actually got round to making the pesto. We regularly drive past the woods, wind down the windows in Spring and scream 'GARLIC WOODS' while taking in great nose-fulls of the pungency. This always provides much joy to A and P, and to me, but this year we actually went a-collecting... Boy its good. Bright green from those young spring leaves, incredibly strong tasting and so satisfying that I made it.

You see, this is not going to be a blog of Cath Kidston / Country Living smugness. I don't make cup cakes, wear a pinny or enjoy bunting. That's why these jars of pesto are so wildly exciting. I nicked the recipe from Hugh (the Fernly-Whitting whatsit variety) and it goes something like this:

Some wild garlic - take off the stalks
Olive oil
Parmesan or good hard cheddar/goats cheese
pinch of salt
tiny bit of sugar

Put in a food processor and whizz, place in sterilzed jars (ie put in the oven for a while) and pour a little oil on the top. Job done.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


Really, I am bored. I know I shouldn't say it, boredom was a swear word in our house when I was growing up, but I have nothing to do. Yes I know I could clean the cooker or something, but really, come on. Trouble is, my big girl A (age 6) is at school and P (age 3) is at pre-school, its tipping down with rain and I only have 2 hours of paid work this week. Its pretty dire here in the winter (I know, I know its not winter and yes I know we need this rain).Oh how I remember the days when I longed for a bit of freedom, that hideous phrase 'me-time'. Its just a taster of things to come when P starts primary school in September - what the hell am I going to do? Yes I have a job, I work part-time mostly at the weekends but what about the rest of the time? The whole career/job/childcare is a nightmare which no-one really prepares you for. To go back to work or not after having a baby, to drop to part time hours? A brilliant debate on the whole conundrum on Womans Hour:

I feel like I'm about to enter a new phase, the breastfeeding, nappy changing, mush-making days are over, my role as a mother has changed, I'm not needed on a 24 hour basis, and while I embrace this change I am flummoxed at how to best use this time. Maternity care assistant. horticulture, riding instructor, writer, its like being back at school and choosing your career all over again.

So I need a job which is term-time only, Monday to Friday which finishes about 2.30 so I can pick the kids up, anyone any idea's?