Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A's choice for a day out today, was Ollie's ocean world. On such a sunny summer day. Managed to negotiate to Play Shack, in Hedge End, so we could at least go on elsewhere for a picnic. Which we did, to Itchen Valley. We were there 2 Tuesdays in a row, for picnic lunches, this one just me and my little girl, she had the playpark to herself, mostly. Last week we took Granny Mary and met up with 4 of the NCT gang, a miracle as we only ever make 5 at most ( 1 moved away, 1 got super job doing clever things and travel). So, two days, both perfect sunshine and picnictastic.

The one good thing about the Play Shack is the sofas. I bought a copy of The Times, for a change, and read all of it while A made a friend and played with him. My neck has been hurting a lot more today, but it's my own stupid fault for spending 4 hours cleaning the kitchen (Washed the walls! Wiped out drawers! And threw away every lid without a plastic pot). If you come round you had better mention the clean kitchen. Although it doesn't last for long does it? Better come today. Neck pain might also be slightly linked to me getting all excited about the jet washer we have borrowed and insisting on having a go.

Have got through more fiction than lately, or kind of close to fiction. I am reading 'the diving bell and the butterfly' which isn't really fiction, but I don't know what you would call it. Other book on the go is 'Stories to make men out of boys' by Neil someone. Now, amazingly, a few weeks ago it was recommended to me, and I asked at the library, as it did not show up on the catalogue. They said they would put forward my suggestion to the buying panel. The next time I went in it was right there next to the counter! Now, that, along with weekly wheelie bin collection, is what us council tax payers expect! And leisure centres that don't smell of drains would be nice.

The book is full of stories about heroes, and mainly about seiges and wars and battles etc. I have read about Shackleton, Scott, Armstrong, Nelson, Zulu warriors, American Indians, the thin red line and the charge of the light brigade ( never understood that before - ouch! that guy really messed up bigtime). So, it is not fiction either is it, but maybe verging on legend. Have not got any nuggets to tell you, except be glad you are not a soldier in the Light Brigade. And if you are ever caught in a battle from the past, be one of the guys on the horses.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Have been spending time with people of all kinds, too varying to all belong to the same species really. Finding for some reason (new tablets? post op? general crazy person?) that I feel more on the outside looking in, from a big grey cloud, and it is most peculiar. I am either full of beans and hyper-double usual manic self, or really tired and droopy and lethargic, and usually its the latter. So, when the bursts of craziness come, I make huge use of them to compensate for the grey times. Which then maybe last longer as a result of being tired? Oh, I don't know, and will quit while I am ahead on my medical training. I saw our GP, Dr Ahmed, the butt of A's favourite 'Knock Knock' joke, on Friday, and thanked him for his swift action in sending me to see Dr Slicer. I guess not many GPs get much thanks, or clearly he never had before, judging by his stunned response.

As I have now got a job from September til February, my favourite internet past time of looking for jobs is no longer legitimate. It is a great relief to have a job lined up, and such a lovely one, as I have been busily spending the money I will be earning already. Then R pointed out that the first big dollop of it would just compensate for the cash I was no longer earning from church job, and goes on exciting things such as a pension and life insurance. Which leaves me with a big chunk less to spend.

R is building up his fleet, now proud owners of 3 boats, for those who know or care: a Topper, a Mirror and a Fireball. The Fireball sits on the drive in a sorry state, having been in a garden in Porchester for 10 years, until it was rescued on Saturday. It spent all of Saturday afternoon being jetwashed, and looks much better - however it does have a hole in the bottom, a huge problem for a boat. Well, an even huger problem for the person sailing it, I guess. Let's hope this sudden flurry of boat repair, combined with the bike repair, in full flood, could become a wonderfully fulfilling career change for R. He could recycle environmentally friendly forms of transport, maybe even invent a bike with sails or boat with pedals. Think the second one has been done. Not very well though, sure the pedalo is not the pinnacle of sailing engineering. They don't have a pedalo class in the Olympics, do they? We have booked camping space in my sister in laws sister's garden, in Weymouth, for the Olympics in 2012. Bet you haven't been so forward thinking, eh? May have to make more friends with bigger gardens in East London to get the campsite sorted there. I imagining that only A and I will actually need the tent, as R and H will by then, be so good they are competing in the 'bicycle-boat combi' class.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Yesterday there was a poster on the kitchen door

Breakfast £1.

No money-no food.

I didn't have to pay, as the money raised was to pay for a present for me. However, as A has no access to her own funds, and Jo is staying and working as a maid and child minder, I paid £2 for them to eat. H then took the money to the Coop, to buy my present. Now, I was thinking - bar of chocolate ( "Fair trade, A, not smarties, as they don't help poor children go to school do they mummy?"), magazine, that is about all the Coop stretches to that could be called a present. What do I get? A tin of Heinz vegetable soup. Serves me right for being so practical myself, that the child most like me is, well, like me! R said to a friend once: " I wish they were all a bit more like me!" Anyhow, soup for lunch today it is!

R went to Bon Jovi last night, his Christmas present from me at last arrived. It was fabulous, apparently, and would have been wasted on me as I would have found it too noisy. I watched the final of the apprentice, and wanted Claire to win, as Lee has way too much facial hair that grows too fast for him to be human. He seems a nice enough chap, but frankly, if he is worth a 6 figure salary, then so am I. Can you imagine if I went on the apprentice? I would be awful, too cooperative and kind and not caring at all about the cash on the bottom line. I would be giving Ferrari rides away to poor little urchins and barrow boys. I would be giving ice creams away to them too. That would ruin the interiors.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Dr Slicer his usual perky self on Friday, slashed my neck ( again!) on our date at the General. It is getting a bit tedious and I hope he shakes himself out of this nasty habit. My recovery is miraculous, I am walking around as normal, popped to the library this morning, and spent the afternoon yesterday sunbathing at the sailing club. I can see that my blog is getting more St Tropez than San Bitterne, with all this sailing taking me to Netley on a regular basis. So my stays at the Southampton General are to earth me in the everyday. Food the usual top notch nosh - in fact, a cheese and onion sandwich that came home with me was demolished today by Josh, so must be good. I found the immediate recovery a lot worse this time, and self scored a 9 on the pain scale and got all the morphine I could eek out of the nurse in recovery. Maybe that is why the food tastes so good? Anyhow, now, I have no complaints, am very comfortable and glad to have Jo staying and doing the school run and the general feeling of not having responsibility for the girls, so I can just get better myself.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Furzey Gardens, visited this week, suffering yet again from half term-it-is with throngs of children shouting about fairies, and a bunch of unsupervised pirates playing with sticks. I know, I know, I shouldn't go in half term, and I thought you loved children Kay? But I do, just not mixed in with my solitude and place of healing, damnit! Still, we took Keith and Gillian and Rosie for their first visit and we did all the usual fun story elements and some painting before the rain poured down. We have had a rained upon half term, but this weekend has been fab for weather and getting out there.

Today, the intrepid sailing duo of our family were down at the club just after 9 ready for a race, which was abandoned due to no wind, they were paddling back in when A and I arrived later. H spent the whole day in Southampton water on a surf board, not the best surfing waves and she will probably have some water-borne disease tomorrow. A and I mooched off for a strawberry pick, which seemed early, but the signs were up and the strawberries were ready. We went to Pickwell's which I have passed many times but never been in, a great find - local, good choice of PYO and a farm shop which sells great range of fruit and veg and some other odd items.

R is cooking a roast chicken in our new microwave, and mowing the grass. Theat's the great thing about microwaves, isn't it? So adaptable.

A terribly posh chap called James Pilkingyton Slime has been calling R all week, as R bought a mast from him on ebay. Now, the geezer has a weekend 'cottage' (read stately home) in Itchenor, which is a very yachting types village near Chichester, and took the exact change, £41.21, from R. Now, don't round it down to the £40 cash, or even the £41. Nope, take every penny, and you too could have two homes, the holiday one of which is bigger than yours and mine together. Bless him. Still, travelling to Itchenor on a sunny day meant we explored the beaches around that way, and I don't want to reveal where exactly we went, as it was crowded enough and I don't want hordes of stalkers turning up, but, we found a fab beach and had a great sandy, sunny day. To continue our Fatface lifestyle, we had a barbie on the beach on the way home (at the sailing club) for tea, which was perfect. And the country park was full of people watching three big cruise ships going out, so we did that too.

With apologies to anyone reading this who does go to church on Sunday mornings, not going in this last month has been the best thing that could have happened to our family life. Our weekends are so long now, we get time together to do normal everyday things, and extra fun outdoor things like beaches and sailing and picking strawberries. I feel closer to my family than I ever have, and closer to the people in our housegroup, as we are consciously being with them more - the Whitmores came and played on the beach today, and the Clarks are coming for the microwaved chicken experiment in a bit. We are doing church, honest - just differently. And when I have time and space with my family and by myself I am in a better place to really be a good friend and neighbour to those who live near me.

Last weekend was wet in Dorset. Very wet and windy in the nights, scarily so, and if we ever wanted evidence of the lack of waterproofing on our tent, we got it. We stayed at a brilliant, simple campsite, with direct access to the beach, and had a great beach driftwood fire with marshmallows on our first night - told you we would soon be on a Fatface catalogue. Maybe Howies? Campsite had hot power showers and really clean loos, and a handy tumble drier. Only ruined by smug caravaners sitting in the warm while we were taking off in high winds in our pathetic excuse for a tent. We are even closer to buying a campervan than we were! Still, going with Rachel and Paul was great, as they have a heater and lots of gadgets and equipment that we didn't have - like a sharp knife and a corkscrew. And not only for their gadget array, but for their fun and quirky company, adorable children and relatives, who welcomed us into their number. Camping and sailing are great for children making friends, and we didn't see much of H for the trip. She and James found the camp shop, and spent ages making trips there and working out what they could buy, usually coming back with packets of biscuits after about 30 minues of deliberation. A had a go at this new hobby, and came back with a packet of Jaffa cakes. Result!