Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The future's bright

Depression. That's not what I have. Depression is a scary word, a word associated with failure or weakness. I'm just adjusting to the recent changes in our lives. Others have managed it, and so can I. Heck my mother travelled across the world with 3 kids and she managed. Thing is, I'm sure she had depression - I used to hear her crying at night. I don't want my daughter to hear me. So I have learnt to cry silently. And during the day, I rage against the smallest thing as I just feel frustrated by the way I'm feeling.
I've been here before, this bad funk, this huge cloud of negativity and woe-is-me. I know that it will get better. I know I'm not alone - I've been reading more and more stories and posts by people who are losing their jobs, finding it hard to get full time or any work, who have lost all hope of flexibility in their workplace as the recession bites and bosses don't need to provide it. I have to believe that I will work again, that I will contribute to the family pot of dosh. I have to believe that becoming a stay at home mum 5 years ago and giving up my job was a good decision. I have to forgive myself for not trying to do some freelance work and for not keeping up my network of contacts. I know that if my husband had stayed at home, he would be the one feeling this way now. I have to believe the future's bright.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Singing Kettle

Spout, handle, lid of metal, what's insiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide the singing kettle?
Yesterday afternoon we went along to Falkirk Town Hall to watch the Singing Kettle Funny Farm Show. The Singing Kettle are a group of Scottish children's entertainers that's been around forever but are virtually unknown in England. Tot was introduced to the delights of the group by her aunt a few years ago and for a while was Singing Kettle potty so when I saw the show advertised at Falkirk Town Hall, I couldn't resist buying tickets.
Before the show began they threw in some gigantic balloons for the audience to throw around. The show was fun enough but the acoustics at the town hall made it hard to understand every song. This didn't deter anyone as the audience was encouraged to do actions and sing along. Unfortunately, our little one who was dressed as a donkey got very upset as she wasn't chosen to go up on stage. In fact, on the two occassions they asked for volunteers, they didn't chose anyone with a costume on...not great for kids who had made an effort.
Many of the songs were familiar farmyard ones but with a twist added by the entertainers. My favourite was the Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly where the entertainer was doing multiple costume changes.
This was our first experience in the town hall which houses the theatre, a cinema, bar and cafe. It was opened in the 1960s.  I am not sure it would not be built these days because it's not in keeping with the surroundings. However, the theatre was nice enough and we were sat in tiered seats meaning our view was not obscured by the people in front.
We bought a Singing Kettle cd from their stand so for the next few years, I'm going to have that on whenever tot is in the car with me. All together now SPOUT, HANDLE....err maybe not!

Saturday, 17 September 2011


Have you seen that VisitScotland ad? The one that Neil Oliver of Coast fame does the voice-over. The one showing gorgeous Scottish locations. Wellll, that's what I thought it would be like when we moved here - every weekend spent at a beautiful loch, around a state clanshouse or castle, dining in restaurants with the finest Scottish fare, and with a bit of crafty-ness thrown in.
Err the reality was mostly rain, Falkirk and a woeful lack of farmers' markets or decent restaurants. Considering this is a pretty old town, there is not much to discover in terms of the "HISTORY" though I do still have to visit the Falkirk Wheel.
This is a sad excuse - truth be told I've been lazy and wallowing in self-pity at leaving London. Glasgow and Edinburgh are very close. There is a lot to see up in Central Scotland and to discover craft wise. But it needs effort to get there and rain just makes me want to curl up on the sofa and watch TV.
This Thursday the Sun was shining it's wonderful Autumnal glow and I got off my backside, picked up tot and went to Stirling to meet my mother in law. From what I saw, there is a pretty decent shopping centre there and plenty of places to eat (shame we chose a cafe in the Thistles centre which was dire). After lunch, we walked up to Stirling Castle. The approach is magnificent as you walk past the Old Jail and a Cathedral before walking up some steps to enter the Castle grounds. The Castle has just undergone a part refurb which looked odd as part of the structure was a bright yellow colour compared to the rest of the greystone buildings.
I was a bit shocked at the entrance fee of £13 so decided to opt in for the Historic Scotland membership so we could get money off in other historic locations.
There are two sides to the Castle - the history of James V and his wife Mary de Guise who was the mother of Mary Queen of Scots. The other side is the history of the Argylls and Sutherland regiment who were based at the Castle. Unfortunately, we spent too much time at the latter which whilst interesting meant the little one was not willing to spend at the Royal Court parts. Part of the regiment history detailed their role in India...not comfortable reading for me however, the history of the regiment in the Crimea and WW2 included some heartbreaking letters sent by soldiers to loved ones at home. Luckily the refurbished Royal Court had less to read (reminding me a lot of the updated parts of Hampton Court) - making the experience more interactive with museum staff who were in 16th Century dress.
I was in complete tourist mode taking in photos of the statue of Robert the Bruce, the magnificent views and the sumptuously decorated Queens Chambers. Me, and quite a few Americans of course ;) I'll definitely be returning to visit the Castle more (perhaps without the little one!) and to walk around the grounds which whilst not extensive have amazing views.
And a bonus on the way home, we passed Macrees which is a yarn shop I've bought online from. So I managed to slip in a bit of crafty-shopping. All in all, a lovely Autumn day and one of many I hope.

Robert the Bruce

Annoying tourist woman in shot

Refurbed Great Hall

View from Castle

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Greenwich Curry Club Awards

The curry devouring bods over at the Greenwich Curry Club have an award to dish out...and the lucky winner can be selected by you guys - please fill in the very short survey here to nominate your best curry nosh place.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

I do not know your name

 A poem written by Kenny Harris begins and ends with the following line:

I do not know your name, but I know you died
I do not know from where you came, but I know you died

He wrote it after visiting some war graves. I couldn't find any poems of remembrance for non-military people who had died in a war but these lines really sum up how I feel.
As we approach the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, I'm sure many of us will reflect on where we were when the first of the planes struck. I was in an office in Central London in my first design job. My colleagues and I watched it all happening on the Internet. At first there was laughter as it looked like a hoax but as we watched people jumping to their deaths and news came from other sources, it became vividly clear that this was real. Did the world change that day? I grew up in a London that was terrorised by the IRA - and on occasion at work on Oxford street, would be warned to keep away from the glass windows in our office building. The IRA gave warnings and I think mostly, hit military targets.
9/11 reminded the West that in war, it wasn't just soldiers who died. Was this the first time since Pearl Harbour that Americans had been attacked on their own home soil? The most shocking thing was these were people who were just having ordinary days the same as I was - going to work, having breakfast, doing their day to day. They weren't aware of any war, nor that they were potential targets. And it still doesn't feel like war, it still feels like murder as it did in London 4 years later.
I didn't know any of them, but I know they died and tomorrow I shall be saying a prayer for them and their loved ones.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Lazy sunday

It was my child's birthday yesterday. The years are truly going fast. After a manic week of getting presents and food sorted, we had a great get-together with the Scottish family in Dundee (plus my dad - who surprisingly came up for the weekend).
This morning, after dropping Dad off at the station we took the little one to Callendar Park in Falkirk to try out her new bike. Just by luck, there was an ActiveSunday event on so we were able to briefly watch some kids cheerleading and doing karate among other exhibits.
After lunch, we headed back home and had a lazy afternoon. Thanks to our neighbour's buddleia trees, we have many butterflies in our garden. While I was napping in the garden chair, one even landed on my nose! I didn't get a picture of that one but got a rather fuzzy one of a red admiral. It's very hard not to be chilled with these beauties fluttering about.