During my enforced bedroom tidy up, I found a sheet of paper in the Princess’s room on which she had written her name backwards. I suddenly remembered that she used to almost always write her name backwards. But she stopped at some point. Recently, I feel, but I can’t say when. It appears that despite my attempt to obsessively catalogue their every move, the children keep growing up and it happens so naturally, I don’t even notice.
Archives for April 2010
I’ve been saving this up until I could get back online.
One Saturday afternoon, the Princess went out with a friend and his mother for a birthday treat, Mr. Waffle went to the supermarket, I cut the grass and the boys played upstairs with a little girl who lives on our road. Later that evening, after the children had eaten dinner I went upstairs to dress to go out. It was only then that I discovered that my sons and their little visitor had taken off the shelves, out of baskets, out of cupboards and out of wardrobes everything their little four year old mitts could reach. In all the bedrooms. The Princess’s room was knee deep in tat. I couldn’t even open her door. I roared at the two boys. They lay on the ground and bawled contrition. I continued to roar at them. I was so furious that I STILL don’t feel bad about that. At this point the babysitter arrived and asked, in awed tones, whether we had taken photos. As we had to leave, our priority was to clear a path to the beds so that the children could get into them at some point later in the evening. I was most displeased. I think that this may well be the boys’ earliest memory.
As though this were not bad enough, the following day we had the Princess’s birthday party. This normally hair raising event passed off relatively peacefully due to the following factors: the party was only two hours long; my sister came to help and made the birthday cake; we hired professional help; one of the invitees was 11 and more like an extra helper than a guest; the weather though not sunny was dry and the children were able to run in the garden; and, all the parents collected their offspring on time.
Much entertainment in the office with stories of colleagues stuck all over Europe under a cloud of volcanic ash; ferries fully booked; general hilarity on the part of those not stuck in Cherbourg where colleagues comprehensively fail to see the humour. All back to normal now. Until the next Icelandic volcano.
We got bunk beds for the boys. This followed a concerted campaign by Michael who insisted that they were essential for his happiness. To be fair, I also felt that it was time that my four year old sons got out of their cots. Michael steered the delivery men into his room. He was quite cross when they wouldn’t move the other furniture so that the bunk beds could be fitted into the selected alcove. I went upstairs having seen the men out, to find Michael lying weeping on his bed. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” I asked. “What will happen to my bed? Please don’t give away my bed that I’ve had since I was a tiny baby.” Oh dear.
While they were far too big for their cots, they look very small in the bunk beds.
1. I still haven’t had a chance to use the immensely large gift voucher my parents gave me for my birthday 6 weeks ago.
2. You may have noticed that posting has been light here recently (or not, don’t shatter my illusions). Our computer is broken, the men have taken it away to fix it but still it is not back. And my husband wants the laptop to work in the evenings. The injustice. I have wrenched it from him tonight but I think he wants it back.
“Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel
I prepared a big long spiel on this and then I lost it. I can’t face doing it again. Here is the summary version. This is about Thomas Cromwell who was Henry VIII’s chancellor. Some kind of great, great, great uncle of the more famous Oliver. Until about page 350 I thought that this was one of the best books I had ever read, I was entranced with it, I couldn’t speak highly enough of it and I kept accosting random strangers and telling them about it. But, at page 350 or thereabouts, I went off it: I got increasingly tired of the way everyone was always very clever and each sentence uttered was capable of several different interpretations, something not clarified by the author’s tendency to refer to her hero only as “he”; I was unconvinced about why our hero attached himself to the Boleyn interest – this is not, in my view at all clearly explained (and as those of us who were forced to do Othello for the Leaving know, lack of motive for a principal character is a major flaw in any work); Cromwell is given a very modern English liberal sensibility, this became annoying and deeply unconvincing; and, the endgame with Thomas More drags on forever.
Still and all, well worth a read.
“The Mysterious Affair at Styles” by Agatha Christie
Read while recovering from Wolf Hall. You know, Agatha Christie, undemanding.
“Skulduggery Pleasant – Dark Days” by Derek Landy
Really lovely to read this series set in Ireland. Other than that, teenage zombie, vampire, alternative universe standard fare. With a skeleton.
“The Famished Road” by Ben Okri
That’s it, I’ve had it with magical realism. Never again. I should have been warned by the following quote from a review on the back “..an epic poem that happens to touch down this side of prose…When I finished the book and went outside, it was as if all the trees of South London had angels sitting in them.” And the following: “Overwhelming…just buy it for its beauty..” You certainly wouldn’t want to buy it for its plot. Because there is none. 500 pages of the spirit child and his visions set to a backdrop of grinding poverty. I am so glad to have finished this book. Poetry that lands just this side of prose is not meant to be read in 500 page dollops in my view. If this book had been written in four stanzas, I might really have enjoyed it.
“Tanglewreck” by Jeanette Winterson
I got a present of this from my godson and I really enjoyed it. It’s Jeanette Winterson’s first foray into the world of children’s fiction and she does a good job. I think that she is a fantastic writer and that is a huge help. Her plot is a bit convoluted and owes a lot to Philip Pullman’s “Dark Materials” trilogy. Mrs. Coulter and Regalia Mason are closely related. Still, I would definitely read another of her offerings for children.
I have lost my copy of “Cold Comfort Farm”. I am bereft.
Finally, what would you think if your husband, a man who normally reads literary fiction, came home with a book entitled “Another Man’s Life”? And further, he had recently turned 40. And further the book was described thus on the dust jacket:
“Another Man’s Life is a brilliant, funny and honest novel about living every man’s dream – whatever that is….
Tom is married with kids. After losing two jobs in as many years, he is now a full-time ‘house-husband’ with the self-confidence of a mid-leap lemming.
Sean, his twin brother, runs his own business, wears handmade suits and sleeps with a succession of beautiful women. The problem is: they are both miserable.
Sean craves stability and domestic bliss. Tom dreams of a day when his shirt is not dripping with his children’s snot.
So, the brothers decide to use the trick of their birth to live each other’s fantasies; to have another man’s life for two weeks.
But things are never quite so simple and the truth of what these brothers really want begins to emerge…”
Is it any wonder I’m growing my hair?
I am growing my hair. Mostly through inertia, it grows slowly. I haven’t had it cut since April 2009 and it only really needs to be cut now. It hasn’t yet reached my shoulders. Someone complimented me on it recently and commented that 90% of men who have affairs have them with women whose hair is longer than their wives’ hair. Discuss.