Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Micro-celebrity corner

There is a house on the corner of our road and the one perpendicular to it that was, until relatively recently, owned by an old couple. It was a fairly bog standard, end of terrace Victorian job, with probably 3 or 4 bedrooms and a smallish garden. It was bought about a year ago by a couple with 3 kids, and they gutted it. I remember watching 1960s type fittings being hauled out and dumped on a skip, a loft extension being added, a chimney put, completely without planning permission of any kind, up the side and a totally out of keeping pair of round windows added - because the stairwell is so dark - again, without any sort of planning permission being obtained. We complained about the chimney, as it is ugly and a bit of a fire hazard, ironically enough, but have thought no more about our new neighbours, except that they are clearly thoughtless idiots, with far too much money, and admittedly, a beautiful house.

It turns out that she is Mel thingymebob who was half of Mel and Sue. You know, the one of the telly. Not the one with the specs, the other one. How exciting.

And to make our little corner of West Ealing even more exciting, the house that is now overlooked by the horrible and ugly little round windows is owned by Marijne from Salad. I know! Hollywood has nothing on us.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The sound of one child shouting

Lucy and I are having more and more rows at the moment. She is pushing every single one of my buttons and it is driving me nuts. Tonight's row was about going to bed; I wanted it to happen as soon as possible, she wanted me to read her the stories of her choice from the top shelf, play a game on our bed, let her run around making a lot of noise while the baby slept, go in and see the baby, waking her up if necessary and take her own clothes off as slowly as possible. It ended up with me putting her in bed, in her pyjamas, not reading a story and going downstairs to the sound of shouting.

I like to be in control, and this is absolutely impossible with very young children. I have to keep on telling myself that I have no control over her behaviour, I can only control my reactions to her behaviour. At the moment, these are explosive and shouty, and I end up with severe headaches most evenings. I am trying to be firmer with her, to give her more boundaries, to help her understand that when I say "NO", I mean it, and she is not to keep going on and on and shouting at me.

I think that this is the hardest part of parenthood, this realisation that we have very little control over these tiny things we have brought into the world. They will do as we say, they will learn to be good little citizens with our help, we can threat and cajoule them to do the "right thing" or to do whatever it is that we have asked them to do, but in the end, we cannot control their actions. I have to come to terms with this, otherwise I will get some form of ulcer by the time I'm 40.

Fortunately, at the moment, the rows Lucy and I have can be resolved with a bit of time, a couple of tears, and a lot of cuddles. Tonight, for example, I went back up about an hour later to check on her and she immediately said that she was sorry and that she loved me and could we be friends again. I think I may be doing something right after all.

Some more thoughts about knitting

The dodo socks proved to be too much for me. I've ripped them out and am turning them into a pair of pale blue and grey socks for me, which will be good travel knitting, and probably won't be finished this side of Christmas. The dodos will be made into Andy Warhol-esque blanket squares; ie different coloured dodos on different coloured backgrounds.

Knitting. Actually quite stressful for something that is meant to be fun.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I have pinched this photo from The Women's Room, a blog I read and have a great deal of time for. But honestly, these are UGLY, whether they are endorsed by Mary Portas or not.

Some of the other shoes on the website are really quite pretty, although they have very daft names.

Some thoughts about knitting

Or why the hell did I decide to make f-ing dodo socks?

For some reason, I just can't make these effing socks do what they're supposed to do; ie look as if they will fit human feet and legs. I got as far as the bodies of the dodos the other night, and they were too tight, too annoying and just WRONG in every way, so I ripped them back and started again. Twice. I am now working on their stupid smug little faces for the third time, and if they don't work out this time, I'm going to either use the pattern to make into a blanket square or swear blind I've never heard of the pattern, or the gone birds project, or even Margaret Atwood. I might even go as far as swearing I'd never even heard of socks.

I don't know. Knitting is supposed to be a fun hobby. Something I do with my hands that isn't smoking, eating or drinking. Something that uses automatic muscle memory. Something that I enjoy. It is turning competitive, at least against myself; I do not have a competitive nature. I hate all forms of sodding sport. This is an endurance race, and if I manage to complete one sock without crying, swearing, shredding an entire ball of sock yarn or killing my loved ones, I will be happy.

Monday, 5 September 2011


So, it is Lucy's birthday next week. She is 3. I can't believe it, blah, blah. Relatives have been asking for present suggestions; I have told them that Lucy really likes real things such as helping with the cooking, helping us to feed her sister, pushing the buggy, going to the supermarket and other things that are important and boring and grown up. Her aunt Esther has bought her a cashtill with proper products to buy and plastic money and a credit card and all sorts. Her grandad has bought her a buggy with a dolly that cries and is really super annoying (he is on a list). Her uncle Tim and aunt Jane have put their names down for a doctor's kit. Her uncle Jamie has asked us what she would like. Here are some emails.

From Simon:

Apparently this is what she really really REALLY wants.

Her friend has the smaller one and also she's been playing with one in ELC today and Juls couldn't get her away from it. I think there used to be a pink and a blue model but now this is the only one they still sell. And it doesn't look as horrible as the pink one in my view. Maybe you could get Dad to chip in?

The reply:

The link doesn't work? I can read on the link it's a kitchen or something? Hmmm I'd rather not buy her housewife type stuff to be honest, I'd rather buy her something scientific, creative or sporty!

I have a couple of ideas but I think I should keep them a surprise! (Not a 50cc mini-moto I promise!) ;)

I am really quite cross about this. Does he not eat? Does he not realise that his brother, my husband, Lucy's father, a man, does something like 75% of the cooking our house? Has he not realised that most chefs are men? Has he never heard of Heston Blumenthal and the application of science to cooking? Does he not realise that the simple art of feeding your family and yourself is creative, nurturing, scientific, requires maths, complex thought and a degree of imagination? I will allow that it isn't sporty.

I am raising Lucy to be a strong, independently minded person, and to know that she is capable of doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Obviously, this isn't actually that hard with Lucy. The problem we have is restraining her from doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants. My sodding brother in law, who at the age of 35 has not realised that if he says what he thinks, he needs to think about what he says, is implying that we are bringing her up with gender stereotypes; what makes me absolutely furious, boiling mad to the point of punching him, is that had either of our girls been born boys, they would have been inundated with Black and Decker mini-workbenches, trains, diggers, tractors, you name it.

Gender stereotyping. It works both ways.