Wednesday, 26 April 2017

All Things Mandarin

Yesterday, I accompanied The Boy Child, 13 other pupils from Year 5
and assorted staff members to a Mandarin Taster Session at a local school.
It was huge fun!
There were three sessions: language, art/culture and dance.
A few boys were silly during the dance session, but that notwithstanding,
all the children and adults enjoyed the afternoon very much.   

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


When The Brainy One travels abroad for work,
a few things happen in our house.
 I change our bed.
I love a freshly made bed.
More so if I don't have to share it for a night or two.
Is that selfish of me?   
 I also get into that freshly made bed earlier then when TBO is home.
The ritual involving The Boy Child is that he gets to choose what we have
for supper.  It invariably involves pasta, Parmesan and my home-made
hidden veg in tomato sauce.  Last night, I added diced salami and
 quartered cherry tomatoes.   

What rituals do you have? 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Memos: Mail: Me

The only bright spot in a week of envelopes with windows in
was the arrival of my sub copy of The Simple Things.
Plans to read it over the weekend didn't materialise, 
but I'll be rectifying that error today.
As for the weekend, we drove 25 miles out into the countryside 
in order to dog walk in the woods.
It was beautiful and we hardly saw another soul.   

Friday, 21 April 2017

Sywell Aerodrome

On the Saturday of the Easter weekend, we drove up to Northamptonshire
 To be honest, there's not much there unless you are an aviation enthusiast.
But it turns out that lots of people are, as it was fairly busy. 
 The flying highlight was the arrival of a privately owned Spitfire,
 which drew the crowds like a moth to a flame.   
We had a great day and it was marvellous to see The Boy Child 
and his uncle build on their relationship.
And even if you're not an aviation enthusiast, I'd still recommend a visit.
There's a beautiful Art Deco building which houses a bar, restaurant and hotel.
The volunteer-run Museum is also worth an hour of your time,
and you never know what just might fly in.
  It's also dog friendly.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

What a Pair

We caught up with our great nephews over the Easter weekend.
Although it was difficult to find all three boys awake at the same time, 
we did manage a family photo with Los Pequeňos.
As you may have noticed, Pequeňo Dos no longer needs additional oxygen
(that's him on his Gruncle's knee), and they are pretty much nigh on impossible
to tell apart.  They are now six months old and doing so well that it's easy to forget
The Boy Child loves having baby cousins and you can see him with the twins here

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Month in Numbers | March

Did March turn out to be marvellous?
Let's take a look:
55: the number of minutes it took for the orthodontist to attach my braces. 
330: the number of lengths I put in at the pool - the biggest total of the year so far.
6: the number of separate donations made to either via freecycle or to a charity.
27: the number of layouts I made during the month.  It sounds a lot, but the majority of the pages
were divided pocket pages and quick to put together.
30: the number of times I went out with the dog to the park.
  Most walks were around 90 minutes from start to finish.  
20,040: my largest daily step count.
72: the total number of leaflets I dropped through letterboxes re a proposed development.

Month in Numbers is the brainchild of Julie
and you'll always find a warm welcome over at her place. 
 Not to mention entertaining posts about a varied list of topics.
Go on over, stop by and say hello.
You can see my previous Month in Numbers here.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Autism | Five Years On

I'm back from the Easter break and ready to mark
what has been a huge milestone for my family.
Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of learning formally
that The Boy Child has autism.
I wrote a blog post back then and, having re-read it just now,
I find that I was far too cocky in my assumption that
autism is just a word. 
It is so much more than I first realised.
Autism affects every corner of our lives and we're still learning to live
with this unwelcome and unwanted intrusion into our family and home.
The biggest thing I've learned is that autism, while every present,
comes in peaks and troughs.
It ebbs and flows.
Some days are easier then others, 
some days are harder than I ever could have imagined.
Some things for The Boy Child are easier.
Some things for The Boy Child are definitely harder.
The Brainy One and I attended the dreaded annual Statement Review meeting 
before the Easter holidays and learned that things were worse than we'd been lead to believe.
Later this year, we have to apply for the Secondary school we'd like The Boy Child
to attend from September 2018 and I desperately miss the wise counsel of this lady.  
The next few months are set to be challenging, but surely not as difficult as the last five years.
Wish us luck,

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Roman Walled City of Chester

When I was a child, a day out in Chester
was both a treat and a joy.
 We did the same thing pretty much every time we were there.
A walk around the walls.
An hour in the cathedral.
Lunch in one of the city's first family friendly pubs.
We're just back from a long weekend in Chester,
and I re-enacted those days for my own family.
Chester is, in my opinion, one of the United Kingdom's
most beautiful cities.
If you've never been, make a plan to go.
If you already know Chester, make a plan to go again.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Secret London | The British Dental Association Museum

Tucked away behind the madness that is Oxford Street
is the tiny museum of the British Dental Association.
Given that the Boy Child had a dental check-up on Tuesday
the timing seemed perfect for a visit.
 See those real teeth? 
taken from dead soldiers on the battlefield at Waterloo.
 Pre plaster casts and plastic models, 
real human skulls were used for illustration purposes.
But it's not all gore.
They do have a very nice line in Public Information posters.

The museum really is very small, but worth dropping in for 10 minutes.
It's free to enter and open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-4 pm.  

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Harry Potter Studio Tour | Part 2

The Boy Child wasn't the only one who enjoyed our visit.
The sets were magnificent!
~ the Great Hall ~
~ Potions Classroom ~
~ Professor Umbrage's office ~
~ scale model of Hogwarts castle ~
The attention to detail is astonishing and the set designers
must have put in thousands of man hours getting the sets just so.
Those guys are worth so much more than a name check at the end of a film
when no-one is really paying attention.
Also, I think it's going to be great fun the next time we see one of the films,
to shout out, "we've been there!"
(The Boy Child has seen the first four films; 1-3 are rated PG. Four is rated 12 (as are 5-8), 
so there was a lot of humming and haaring before we decided to let him see it.)  

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Harry Potter Studio Tour

And so to the world of Harry Potter.
 It would be no exaggeration to say that The Boy Child
absolutely loved every minute of it.  
 Having mastered his first broomstick lesson,
 he hopped aboard for a quick flight over the quidditch pitch. 
 Followed by a lesson in wand control and appropriate stances.
He's even more convinced that he'll be going to Hogwarts
when he turns eleven next year ...

Monday, 3 April 2017

Memos: Mail: Me

Just one piece of Happy Mail this week,
and one that I kept for a few hours of reading on Sunday afternoon.
Along with the House & Home section of the weekend FT 
and a short story from Diana Gabaldon on the Kindle. 
 The weekend, aside from the reading, may have also included
several hours spent with these characters.
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London was our birthday gift to 
The Boy Child this year and Saturday was the day ...
... details to follow.

Friday, 31 March 2017

We're Making Memories

Just after lunch time today, The Boy Child begins
a little over two weeks of school holidays.
I have a fair bit planned for us to do,
and with those plans in mind, I won't be posting daily during that time.
Because, you know, we have to make the memories before I can write about them.
Or scrapbook them. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Capturing His Other Life

The Boy Child is just finishing up with his second term
of Fencing Club (after school on Wednesdays).
As, obviously, I'm not there to see what goes on, I've been reliant
on him giving me the details.
Details which turn out to be rather sparse.
So, last week, I asked his TA if he could take a photo for me.
(The TA is a helper at the club.)
He then emailed an image via his 'phone.  Because the image wasn't the best quality 
(I'm not really complaining), I printed it out half-size and then trimmed it to 7cms square.   
(My apologies: late afternoon Spring light isn't that conducive to good indoor photography.) 

Can't think why I didn't ask earlier.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Initial Thoughts on Wearing Braces

I have a lot more sympathy for braced-up teenagers.  A lot more.
I've eaten gallons of soup.
I did manage a pub lunch of sausage and mash at the weekend,   

but only after cutting the sausages into the tiniest of pieces.
And then virtually swallowing them without a single chew.
Bonjela is my friend. 
Despite feeling as though I have a 'fat' mouth, people don't seem to have noticed.
The Boy Child announced that my teeth are ugly, but as he also said that before the braces went on,
I feel as though I can ignore that pronouncement.  
Talking about braces is boring.
  For everyone. 
 So I'll stop.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Be the Good

I was a late convert to Instagram,
but now use it regularly 
and I'm always on the look out for more beautiful feeds to follow.
{Suggestions welcome}
I put this A4 sized piece together in around 10 minutes,
having seen the original idea when scrolling through 
the images Instagram had selected for me.  

After recent events in London, it felt like the time to reinforce
the message within the message.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Memos: Mail: Me

This week, The Postie may have aided and abetted my ever-growing collection
 as well as allowing me to add to my collection of London-themed
reference books.  The Secret London book was recommended to me
by a neighbour who thought The Boy Child might enjoy exploring some
of the more obscure places listed.
 I have a few places already earmarked for visiting during the Easter holidays.
As for the weekend, on Saturday we went up to Little Venice for a stroll
along the Regent's Canal and lunch in a very picturesque pub.   

 We're fortunate that the overground train takes a mere 6 minutes
to reach Paddington station, and Little Venice can then be reached on foot within 5 minutes. 
Sunday was Mothering Sunday here in the UK, and apart from receiving a sweet card from
The Boy Child, it was a Sunday exactly like any other.
With added blue sky, blossom and vapour trails.

Friday, 24 March 2017

What Caught My Eye #9

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."
~ Anne Frank

Thursday, 23 March 2017

London | My City, Your City, Our City

We are in shock.
We feel deep sadness and grief.
We are not afraid.
London: a global city.
One made up of a thousand different cultures.
One that embraces those differences.
One that welcomes the world.
One that will continue to do so.
We are not afraid.     

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Describe Your Family in Three Words

I read a post yesterday on Cup of Jo that set me thinking.
How would I describe my family in three words?
The first one that sprang to mind was loud
The Boy Child lives his life on full volume,
and, no, he doesn't have any hearing problems.
If I can't see him, either at home or when we're out,
I only have to listen for a second or two before being able to pinpoint his location.
And I can usually be heard yelling at any given point on any given day.

The second one is enough.
We are a family of three.
The Brainy One and I have a son.
We shouldn't have to justify why The Boy Child is an only child.
Quite frankly, it's none of your d**n business.
For us, three is the magic number.

The third word was left to The Boy Child to choose: brilliant
When I asked him why that word, he replied,
"because we are".
Which made me feel glad that he sees us that way,
because there are many, many days when we are far from that.

What three words would you chose to describe your family?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Turns Out You're Never Too Old

Call it vanity.
Call it what you will.
After years of disliking my smile,
I've done something about it.
Yesterday, and somewhat apprehensively, I went ahead
with a fitting for upper and lower fixed appliances.
Meaning, by the time I reach a significant birthday in May next year,
I will hopefully have the smile I've longed dreamed of.    

Monday, 20 March 2017

Memos: Mail: Me

I had a fabulous haul of Happy Mail this past week ...
the April edition of The Simple Things
tickets to a concert next month,
and ... ta-da! ...
confirmation that I had come up in the Wimbledon ballot
and was being offered a pair of tickets for Court Number 1
on the first Friday of the Championships.
As for the weekend, we returned to the beautiful Thames-side 
town of Marlow. 
No rain this time, just overcast.