Monday, 24 May 2010

RIP Zippy Mouse

It's been an odd week. After calm acceptance (below) came the storm. First the rental was offered to someone else, having been supposedly taken off the market, then problem after problem arose with the new build. It would seem I am all out of adrenalin because even I was surprised how serenely I digested each piece of news and with visions of our family sleeping in cardboard boxes somewhere on the road to Ipswich I dedicated the week to serious house hunting. It paid off, and many miles, viewings and tired stroppy children later we had two beautiful (and very different) homes to choose from.

So do I play Lady of the Manor in a superb Georgian house or Footballer's Wife in an equally appealing town house? In the end we plumped for the latter, if only because it is far closer to the Station and it would seem that two house moves are no longer on the cards - all being well in the summer we will make one move to our new home and be settled in time for the new term.

This week had more surprises up its' sleeve than Paul Daniels however and midweek I realised with horror that my smallest boy was infested with head-lice. Ugh. Something every parent dreads but thankfully he was easy to clear. I made sure I took a large paper bag to school today when the head-lice notification letters were sent home (I now keep a stock of useful identity shields, highly recommended for days like today) and fondly remembered bringing similar slips home to my parents when at school. We used to sit on the school bus home and draw little diagrams of lice all over the letter too! Lovely...

The on Friday, after a blisteringly hot first Sport's Day at Josh's school we came home to discover his beloved hamster, Zippy, had died in his sleep. He was pretty old for a hamster and had enjoyed a full life but we are extremely sad to see him go. We held a funeral and wished him plenty of banana chips in his little niche in heaven, thinking of the prehistoric squirrel in Ice Age and his acorn! Zippy was our first hamster and a real character, he will be much missed.

So, on with a new week, forget the battered Volvo and Hunter Wellies, this summer I need blonde highlights, hair straighteners and a visit to the nail parlour. Wind Chimes de rigeur and a good dose of Mediterranean Sun would be nice. I think the Multipla might have to go though..... it never was going to fit either option!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Experiments in Minimalism

So here I am, sitting in my sunny spot outside my kitchen. Which, in point of fact, will no longer be "mine" in 7 weeks of so, and if we're being picky the chair might be my favourite spot to sit when the sun is out, but I rarely sit down at all! Still, when the sun is shining, and I find a rare quiet moment it is most definitely my most favourite seat. Shutting my eyes, listening to a bumble bee drone past I could be a child again, in a different garden at a very different time. I'm quite an aesthetic person, finding sounds, smells and sights incredibly evocative and  sustaining. Just thirty seconds of imagining a time of incredible simplicity and serenity is sufficient to revitalise me again.

We are busy packing all the items we will not need until we finally move into our new build early next year and I have to remind myself in my haste that material items carry all-to-important sensory meaning too. I can do simplicity, live very well without the trappings of materialistic accumulation but I would not stay happy for long without the little touchstones of my life. This seat has seen me watch my children grow and play, nurse babies and cuddle baby rabbits. Plan menus, muddle through family logistics and campaign strategies (for anyone who tells you running a large family is not akin to a major military campaign is being economical with the truth) and escape the noise within.

Not bad going considering how infrequently it is used - but then that is exactly the point I am making. Filtering everything out except our wind chime tinkling in the breeze for the briefest of spells is quite sufficient to calm the soul. Which is why I will be packing the most obvious of creature comforts during sixth months of minimalist experimentation, but the chair, the wind chime and hopefully some sun this summer will be coming with me.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Hadleigh Show

Well today, at last, the sun seemed to break through what has been a truly wintery week.  What a difference a little bit of sunshine makes. Today was the Hadleigh Show, an event I look forward to every year. In a moment of ambitious optimism we decided to all go, hoping for few tantrums and meltdowns and  as little rain as possible!

It started well, until H spied the Australian leather hats and decided that he couldn't live without one - and any suggestion otherwise met with screaming and sobbing. We doggedly persevered with promises of hats for good behaviour and enjoyed the sunshine, ponies (my daughter informed me"girls don't ride horses Mummy")  and laughed at the Dog Agility Team whilst keeping an eye open for the most promising coffee stand for essential caffeine top-ups to steady the nerves. Queueing for lunch required more paper bags than we could muster, so lacking invisibility or at least limited visibility we gritted our teeth and stoically reminded H of the promised hat if he managed to wait with at least attempted patience. Someone please remind me next time to obtain a menu from the burger van in advance to allow him to make his choice from a clearly set out list of choices though, since interpreting a chalkboard list whilst waiting in line was never going to work.

The twins enjoyed sitting in the fire engine, always a highlight of the day for them. This year though A had more in mind than pretending to drive and managed to start the computer up! A few clicks on the mouse and he'd reconfigured the nav-com, and the engine was destined for Pontefract. Swift intervention from Richard prevented trouble but A was really very disappointed! ( I think he had designs on following in Fireman Sam's footsteps, he's always had a penchant for fire engines. ) K's wish for the day was to see some baby piglets though and in this we failed to deliver but she did concede the cows were "quite nice". Fortunately Richard stopped short of pointing out the nearest we got to baby pigs were the bacon rolls at the burger van since we had only just managed to stop H getting progressively more frustrated as he struggled with the concept of eating meat whilst admiring the cute animals on display! The highlight of my day was getting caught in the Joules tent when the Heaven's opened, and I was forced to spend fifteen minutes browsing.... and spending more than I ought to. Well, it was obviously Fate intervening and it would have been rude not to!

Eventually, we congratulated ourselves on achieving a family outing relatively unscathed and bought the coveted hat. I must admit it really suits him - and he is now wearing it asleep in bed!!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Transition - on many levels.

Too many perhaps. but then my life was never meant to be straightforward!

We are definitely moving house. Twice. Our new build will not be completed until Christmas (fingers crossed, but we are reading end January....) and we have now sold our current home. So, in a couple of months we need to move into rented and wait for the completion of our new home.

As I sit typing that it all seems very unreal, as though I were recounting the plans of some fictional family, hell bent on  a path of good intentions for bettering their daily lives with horrendous - almost laughable - potential pitfalls on the way. Apart from anything else, just HOW many visual aids is this master plan going to necessitate to help smooth the path ahead for H? Not to mention the legal substances I am likely to require to get myself through the next 8 months! Quite honestly, coffee and wine bills really need to be factored in to our costings. The stress of moving a family of six twice, changing schools for three of the four children, relocating medical services for the younger three and ensuring continuity of care is enough to send the most laid back of mothers into a headspin. Those of you who know me well will recognise that isn't a good description of yours truly, and although I have been told I've been shortlisted for Most Organised Mum of the Year I'm not sure an A Level in Advanced List Making or a Degree in Juggling (see below) is sufficient to safeguard my sanity in the coming months.

However, the promise of a simplified school run (read "walk") and a new kitchen can make it all seem worthwhile and quite exciting. I suppose it comes to something when granite worktops with natural copper flecks shimmering within pushes your buttons but for most mothers the kitchen is of prime importance. Having the opportunity to design the interior of your new home is thrilling and absorbing, hopefully the inevitable brain ache from the necessity of two house moves will be more than worth it.

On the whole I don't *do* big changes. Or at least I do, but with maximum stress until I feel I have "arrived" safely on the other side. Take my new computer. I am now the proud owner of a MacBook Pro, which I am totally in love with. (Macs really do make PCs seem two dimensional and brittle.) But the heartache, angst and mental agony at the incipient learning phase was almost too much to bear. Watching my virtual footprint cease to exist for a few hours until the transfer was complete was painful in the extreme, like moving house in microcosm. unlike my husband, the journey is never pleasant, the process of transition I could totally do without. Just get me there ASAP!
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