Saturday, 21 March 2009

New pleasures

Today Daniel enjoyed a new pleasure...that fantastic feeling of satisfaction you get upon completing a crossword. This is from the childrens section of the Grauniad, and he loved the whole process of looking up the right clue, using existing letters for hints, and that on-the-tip-of-tongue experience when you just KNOW what the answer should be but can't quite think of it...

The crossword experience is all the richer for being shared with somebody else, but D was super excited to find he could get some all by himself, and had a good shot at the spelling too. I had a less successful attempt at the grown-up one. Hmm, I need someone to come and help me!

Today has been a day of funny little activities and interludes, but nothing specific. There were some periods spent in the garden (I had a picture of this but blogger not playing nicely), digging and I don't know what whilst I did some chores. And some crafty moments, and Kerplunk, and maths, and helping me sort socks, and a bit of Top Gear followed by Enid Blyton. All the important stuff.
Another very good thing today was a radio programme on Fats Waller. The ratio of talk to music could perhaps have gotten away with being more biased towards the music, but still very interestesting and a good listen. Get it on the radio 4 website now or regret it later.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


Spring is now a-coming!


Daffodils and little lammies!


Oh yes, it feels like Spring has definitely arrived this week. Today I did nothing except sit out in the sun with my good neighbour, because I think I overdid it yesterday and felt a bit funny for it. Everywhere I look there are daffodils, except my own border, where there are catkins on the tree, grape hyacinths, and love-in-a-mist starting to spread out too. How lovely! Whenever I see the daffodilies, it reminds me of the picture above, which I took on a picnic with Grandma last spring. I say picnic, but it was actually sandwiches and pop on top of tankerton slopes but, like today, that day really had the feel of new life and warmth in the air. I remember declaring that it was not a day for cleaning, but that we would instead go out in the sun. And so we did. I was very scared that the brakes would fail and grandma would roll away down the slope, which is why we are seated at some distance from each other. I wanted to make sure the back two wheels were on concrete.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


Here is a picture of our lovely new pram. Well, secondhand new. It can't really be described as compact, but then nor can the babies our family tends to have.

Isn't it nice? It has lovely big wheels and very bouncy suspension. You can't tell from this picture but the inside looks and feels all smooth and padded like a traditional pram with a mattress, which is unusual in a pram which can also be made to sit up. It can face forwards or backwards, and the wheels come off easily for getting it into small spaces. Fortunately it fits in our boot without having to do that.

It was also described as having 4 wheel drive, which I thought sounded a bit gimmicky. But then I tried pushing it and realised it really does - the front wheels are connected to the handlebar a bit like on a bike, and the back wheels just follow along. I was amazed at how tight a corner it can turn when pushed with just one hand, which would have been impossible with Dan's old pram. This function can however be disabled in order to enable logical reversing, something with which women notoriously have issues.

The handle has been turned down so the pram can fit in the room which makes it look a bit odd, but this also happens to be the ideal height should D wish to push it. He has shown quite a lot of interest in it, and admitted he had thought about getting in it, and then thought that maybe that wouldn't be a good idea without consulting me first. I don't blame him for thinking of it as it looks very cosy. I would sleep in it if I could.

Here is a picture of D eating a huge marshmallow kebab which my dear brother brought him from Holland. D was very excited until he realised that, after eating a couple, you feel a bit poorly, and declaring the whole thing yucky. I explained that with such things, the yumminess factor tends to be in inverse proportion to the amount eaten, which reassured him I think.

These pictures actually give them impression that my house is reasonable tidy today, don't they? At least I didn't take any pictures of upstairs.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

'Queue' #1, and 'Smaug' #2

When D got up this morning I hesitantly showed him my developing Smaug, and fortunately he quickly recognised the scene.
At breakfast it appeared he had been similarly inspired, as he brought down one of Grandma's old 'Ant and Bee' books and showed me the picture he had decided he would like to have a go at, all by himself. (Grandma keeps cropping up here doesn't she!) It is really a very nice picture of a queue (it being an alphabet book), makes me think of some of those Turner pictures with little grim people stomping about. So after breakfast he got going with Grandma's oil pastels too, and seemed to enjoy their nice consistency. This is where he got to before having to get ready for school.

When we got to school I realised he had black smudge of oil pastel on his cheek which made him look like a little chimney sweep. Never mind.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Sewing, sewing, sewing, drawing

This post will be dull for anybody wishing to hear about D. It is largely about sewing, with one drawing reference which is sort of to do with D.

Here is a picture of some baby trousers I just sewed, I used a (charity) shop-bought pair to make the pattern so hopefully they will fit. They are a bit baggy on D's frog here (I was going to ues koala again but Ben is having a nap and has locked the door to stop me bugging him!), who is also modeling a yellow batwing jumper I knitted a while back. The batwings are not evident on dumpy ol' frog.

Here is a picture of me in my jolly maternity frock, which wasn't really intended to be a maternity frock. I just happen to like empire line dresses and this was a 'copy' of one I already owned, but I put a little too much fullness into the skirt. Ideal for pregnancy.
Don't know if it shows, but the miraculous thing about this dress is the buttonholes. I don't know if I'll ever be brave enough to put buttonholes in something again, but I hope so, because they really work. Wish I knew how to turn photos round though. This is the sort of garment I worry Ben despairs of because it proves just how barmy I am. But actually he really likes it, perhaps because because it is traditionally feminine, or perhaps just because it has a skirt. Oh Christ look at my knees.

And here is a hint of the Smaug drawing D has been asking's a copy of a picture I found on the net because the ones in his book are too stylised. Its supposed to be Smaug blowing flames all over Laketown, shortly before he killed. Also, I wanted to try the oil pastels which found their way into my cupboard after Grandma passed away. It is drawn on paper from a pad which also contains a couple of sketches of boats and things begun by Grandma. I am very similar to her I think when it comes to hobbies - many interests, not enough time to spend on any one of them. However, the purpose of a hobby should largely be enjoyment, and so I decided to just go for it like Grandma would have. She was actually quite good at art and drawing and things. I am scared of anything that isn't a line drawing, so this is quite scary. But I'm trying not to worry, will just do my best with it, because D is bound to be pleased even if its a bit rubbishy.

Obviously this is still very much in the early stages. It is very tricky because I can't get nearly as much detail with pastels as I would like, as the 2 or 3 drawings I have ever done were in pencil, and I tend to get a bit obsessed with perfect proportion and replication of detail, which isn't always a good thing. I did it at 4 this morning, which is a good time for scary new things. I'd gone to bed at 7pm, woke up about 3, then went back to bed a couple of hours later. This is a fairly common pattern because I get so tired, but also get a lot of back pain in bed which can wake me up.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Moomins and Falafel

Mmm today we had fresh falafel and it was surprisingly nice, and very economical. We will definitely be making that again.

I don't really have anything to post about but feel bad for neglecting the ol' blog, so here's a picture of the moomin drawing I finally found a frame for, and Grandad kindly noticed today. I wanted to put it in D's room but he wanted it in the living room, so its staying there for now. Til I get bored of looking at it anyway. I like this picture though because, if you know the moominland midwinter story, it will immediately make you feel chilly and spooked out, just like little moomintroll was when he woke up halfway during hibernation to find the world felt completely different.

One day I must try copying another story picture, it was good fun. But so irritating if it goes wrong. B and D would like me to try one of the hobbit pictures (especially a scary one of Smaug), and admittedly they are lovely, but they are heavily stylised watercolours and there's no way I can even be bothered to try.