Friday, 30 March 2012

Losing sight of the important things

Yesterday, in the swing park I got chatting to a man who had brought his grandson to play. Turns out the man used to be a professional landscape photographer, who also taught youngsters to photograph. Then last year a virus got in his eye and his vision deteriorated. He can't do his job anymore. He has been told by surgeons that he could get his cornea replaced (using a donated one from a dead person) but there is no guarantee the operation would work. So what would you do....little eyesight/no eyesight/perfect sight?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Aggressive bees

For the last few days, we have been watching bees/wasps (not sure which) hovering in the garden. They seem to be mapping it out. Just now we tried to go out in the sun and the winged ones were definitely trying to get us out flying into our faces. There is always one "on guard" who then flies to another one by the fence. Does anyone know what they are doing? I don't want this to become the bee-highway even though I know we need them for pollination.
Sorry for the crap picture but my phone camera is rubbish!

Job hunting

I applied for a job last week. Second job application in 5 years. It was for a temporary weekend role - working both Saturday and Sunday for 6 months, 9 to 5.  I did my best to tailor my c.v. as you do. Haven't heard anything yet. There aren't that many jobs to apply for around here and even fewer for a parent that has to be there for her kid when she gets home from nursery. I don't really want to pay for a childminder to look after her especially as what I would be paid for part-time work would just go straight into the hands of the childminder. However, in order to get more recent experience on my c.v. that's what I might have to do. I hate not having worked for so long. In August things should get a bit easier as little one goes off to primary school. It's also easier now we are living in the same town that Mr Plummy works in as he can help with school drop offs/picks up and emergencies. This latter has been the thing that worries me most - if I go to work, and there is an emergency at the school, who could pick up the little one. Sometimes it sucks to live so far from family and friends.
Can you tell that this is making me a bit antsy?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Playgrounds in the sun

Slowly this area is starting to unfurl before us and we are discovering more and more. In the last few weeks, we have been to Almondell and Calderwood, Beecraigs and Polkemmet Country Parks - the latter two have some fabulous play areas for the kids. But Polkemmet wins for me thanks to the Ivory Tower Cakes cafe where I had a delicious vanilla / lemon cupcake.  It's also home to a golf course which is hilarious - H&S must have missed this one as many of the woodland parks are on the edge of golfing greens. And home to the Horn, one of the artworks along the M8 - the Horn used to have sound which was turned off which is a shame as I'd love to have shouted to the drivers on the M8 "Turn around, you are going the wrong way!".
Closer to home our neighbour who has a 3 year old has pointed me to Eliburn park and Murieston Valley Playpark. These are all great and I'm amazed at the investment in kids playgrounds - it's fab the council are encouraging kids to play. We are still getting used to the walkways in Livingston which are rarely along the main roads but rather through woods - hopefully all safe though I wouldn't want to be alone along them for long. Then again, with the glorious sunshine we have at the mo, a walk down a wooden path along a stream is just perfect.

Beecraigs park, close to kids playground

our kid running for freedom

We had a look for the snake but the Graffulo ate it

Ghostly trees Beecraigs

Sundappled trees next to Beecraigs play park

Beecraigs park

Random mausoleum in Polkemmet

Mausoleum saying Polkemmet

The Horn, with sign warning you shouldn't go across the golf green!

Huge horn on the M8

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mothering Sunday

I never knew that the origin of Mother's day was a Christian festival called Mothering Sunday where people returned to the Mother church for the day . A bit like Christmas, the religious aspect is lost to most of us modern sons and daughters.
Last night (yes another partly sleepless one!) I started thinking of songs that had some form of "mother" in them. Instantly the lyrics of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody come to mind "MAMA, I just killed a man, held a gun against his head, pulled the trigger shot him dead" "Mama I didn't mean to make you cry wooohoooooooooo hoooooo". My God, I love it. So much so that I once chose to sing it during a night out in a Korean karaoke club. What a bad mistake - it's a bloody long song for someone who cannot hold a tune.
Then there is Junior Walker's "Mama used to say" where the boy is told to take his time, take it in his stride and not rush to get old. Good words.
However, the definitive mother has to be the Harlan Howard song No Charge as sung by Tammy Wynette. The internet, that slippery sneaky thing that it is has a number of different versions for the lyrics. A little child (sometimes it's a boy, other times it's a girl) hands the mother who's fixing dinner a bill for all the chores he /she has done. Before I had kids the following part of the song would reduce me to tears:

"For the nine months I carried you, no charge,
For the nights I've stayed up with you, doctored you, prayed for you, no charge,
For the ties, folding clothes and for wipin' nose, there's no charge
When you add it all up, the full cost of my love is, no charge"

At this point, the kid looks up at the mother with big old tears in his/her eyes, takes the previously proferred bill and writes "Paid in full" on it.

A bit like the kid by the end of the song I tell you - since having had a kid my understanding of motherhood has changed. In the vein of walking a mile in someone else's shoes/penny dropping/lightbulb over the head moment I have realised how hard it was for some of the mothers out there. I've written before about my amazing mum who moved continents, the second time on her own with three brats under 6 to deal with. I see both my sister-in-laws in a new light - one again living in a foreign country and raising her kids without much help from us the "family", and the other raising an autistic son. Amazing I tell you. And I think that partly what the song is about is appreciation for all mothers.
I admit when my little one was being a right little madam, I  told her how much I regretted giving up work, independence and general freedom to stay at home and deal with her annoying habits. She's four, I'm an idiot. She didn't ask to be born and I don't expect her to pay for it. She's at the stage where she knows she needs me. One day, probably when she has her own kids, she'll appreciate what being a mum is and so big blowy raspberries to the "no charge". And in the meantime, if by any chance she does a chore, I will be probably be so gob-smacked that I'll just hand over all my debit cards. Now that will bring a tear to the eye, no charge.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Noticing stuff

Wow the last post was quite errrmmmm needy. I didn't spend my time away navel gazing. I spent it in the Black Gulls bookshop which is a haven for jazz/easy listening loving, comfy sofa sitting, second hand bookshop loving people like me. I bought Douglas Adams "Restaurant at the end of the universe" (twice as I lost one copy on the train!), cookbooks and children's books all while humming away to Frank Sinatra. The shop has been there for 5 years but never open when we used to visit Dad. Then I walked along a buzzing East Finchley High Road which now has a new Village Bakery, the Barrucuda Cafe (yummy veggie brekkies found here) and on the weekend, a French Market. This is not the High Road I knew and I'm very happy it's getting better.
In Woolwich  I stood opened mouthed at the sight of a new building is going up - the long promised Tesco. Plumstead itself doesn't seem changed but it was fabulous catching up with lots of my old friends from there and I was so well looked after by my friend E who fed me such tasty food. On the DLR back towards Finchley, I notice new buildings which I guess are for the Olympics and  in the distance the Anish Kapoor sculpture which was not that impressive. 
While it was great being away, it was fantastic to be back home to a cuddly daugther and very capable husband. The house is spotless and the child has been looked after well. I better not go away again else I'll be made redundant!