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When you are: 2011

03 July 2011

Purely Scottish

National identity has been a subject of some debate in our house over the years. When I say in my house I mean in my head mainly, sometimes spilling into the wider world.

As an island we are very confused. Are we British? The Northern Irish never will be, as Great Britain doesn't include them - the United Kingdom's full title is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So British doesn't mean UK. Are we United Kingdomers? Who knows?

I'm British, also English. But what about my boys?

Well, to quote JJ:

Two poodles can't have a Labrador.

Which means as both parents are English that makes bambinos English too. Apart from one minor detail, that's the big thistle on their birth certificates, and the Scottish place of birth on the aforementioned.

Tell you what, let's given them Scottish names and then let them decide later on.

The oldest already has. He like his flag. HIS flag. Whenever we see the Saltire and the Union Flag together he points the Saltire out as his, but also sees his as part of the Union. He's setting out his political table too, I am happy enough he won't be the next Alex Salmond.

Over Easter I built the boys their climbing frame / swing set / slide / picnic table, and number 1 son said he wanted a flag on it. Scouring the tinternet for a suitable size MOTS reigned me in and downsized the flag size I wanted. When it boiled down to it the flags we got were small hand-held waving ones, the sort that sold out in nanoseconds in London at the Royal Wedding.

During a clearout of my wardrobe MOTS found my Euro 2004 (Portugal) England St George's Cross. A fair size bigger than the Saltires flapping in the breeze in our back garden it slipped perfectly over the Saltire wrapped around pole. And there it sat from yesterday afternoon.

They'll never take our garden!

This morning the boy saw it. He got the keys. He let himself outside. He climbed the highest mountain (the highest in our garden) to tear down the infiltrator's flag. He marched to the seat of the rebellion, and threw the St George's Cross at the moll of the rebellion leader. That is not my flag, that stays off, do not put it up again.

Well, that's us told. What was I saying about him not being the next Alex Salmond…?

06 June 2011

Another life sentence...

Just a couple of weeks ago it was MOTS' turn, today it's mine. Today marks the point in time when half my life has been spent with MOTS. Only half my life ago she was just plain old young Deb.

She'd get less for murder... but then wouldn't have her two boys!

20 May 2011

A life sentence

Today marks the day for MOTS that we have been together for half of her life. I would never have known that fateful night in the Hotspur that we would have two boys at this stage in life. A lucky walk to Marlborough Crescent bus station is to be thanked for the boys very existence, even if the bus station has long gone.

15 April 2011

[2] Official Walking Week

After weeks of tentative steps, and cruising (which #1 never did) we've officially decalerad this week as "walking week". We're still very much at the hand-holding stage, with no more than a few steps at a time, being thwarted by the smallest of obstacles (ie th rug in the lounge), but it's a progression with no definitive point in time.

May the Lord have mercy on us all.

10 April 2011

Happy birthdays, Granny & Grandpa

A bit late, quite a bit late in Grandpa's case, but as it's on a date of their choice.....

Happy 60ths!

Enjoy your meal, hope there's no too much soot on it!

07 April 2011

Three B Week

We've had a very interesting couple of weeks. What with barfing, building, burning… it's all been happening.

Rules is rules
Barfing: #2 son has had a bug that's been doing the rounds, which in hindsight MOTS and I have had too. #1 got away with it, which was good. MOTS had a mild dose, and it hit me hard enough for me to only have half of my curry on a night out with work. And let's face it, me not finishing my curry is a monumental disaster. Not to mention that #2 was poorly (nowhere near as bad as some of his plas in nursery who ended up at the Sick Kids), but a wasted curry??

Grandma got it from #2 son, so that'll be a be a biological export then! That's the barfing covered. Covered Grandma, that is.

Will look great
when the scaffold
comes down
Building: Man needs shed /* said in Neolithic voice */ Ugg, shed. It's all part of the grand master plan, a 7'x5' pent shed with tongue & groove fascia will be arriving this afternoon. It is going to be built in a very convenient location, only 2 foot away from our outside plug socket. Which means… the beer fridge can be switched ON in there. Whoo-hoo! I sold it to MOTS as some sort of external storage facility to house some of the junk in the garage when that has to get cleared out for the garage conversion we have planned for next year. But I have other ideas, at the next BBQ it will house the bar. The base has been dug out, gravelled and bearers laid and ready to build the new shed on. It's all over bar the delivery.

Building 2: For the last 9 months or so I have been stashing some cash aside, initially without MOTS' knowledge, to replace the swing set we had given a couple of years ago. Surprisingly, this medium term plan actually got followed through. Most of our medium term plans never get off the ground, so this one is rather unique! The kit has been in the garage for a few weeks and construction started at the weekend just past. #1 was gutted when his old set got taken down, but now the new one has the scaffolding up it's a whole new attitude. He's directing me on which bits to build next, and what has to be built first, so I can see him being a site manager. Not that I'd want to live in any house he built though! Just watch, that will come back to haunt me when he does turn out to be a builder and he builds our retirement bungalow by the coast.

Another drama
Burning: #1 isn't what we would describe as "easy" to deal with. School have their own word for him. As it is approaching the end of term we've had a couple of emails back & forth with school and on Tuesday we were feeling very positive, things are going in the right direction, and we had high hopes to a good finish to the term. A burning desire you might say. Not an alarming proposition, one might agree. The staff at the private nursery picked him up from school as usual, but from a different room as there had been a fire alarm and evacuation of his building. And that meant his chart wasn't available, the chart that offers daily feedback, but the news from school was everything was fine, all happy faces. So as #1 headed down the corridor and past the fire alarm and said "I pulled that down at school" the heart sank. At school it is right beside his coat peg, so is an easy target. Nursery staff told us that the teachers hadn't said anything, so it looks like they didn't know. Well, they will this morning when they read my email. We had a long chat, which ended with a big sorry, a promise never to do it again (promise offered, not asked for), #1 saying himself he was in big trouble, going to bed with no story or self reading time and him not even asking for kisses and cuddles. And the first thing he said to MOTS this morning was he didn't have a story and his light on because he was in big trouble.

That's it for the moment, we're all looking forward to having a couple of weeks off work in the run up to Easter, which will be the first family time we've had since October really. With general family life being in turmoil since the start of December, and the loss of Snoopy redirecting efforts, we're just starting to look at normality again, so hopefully this two weeks will be as relaxing as we hope. Perhaps a trip to the fire station might go on the to-do list. Please, no…...

14 January 2011

Two small cuts

Loin of pork.

Shoulder of beef.

No? Oh dear, today's the day then. Time to watch some John Wayne movies, just to get used to how I'll be walking for the next couple of weeks.

13 January 2011

So >>THAT<< is how Houdini did it!

So how did Houdini do it then?

#1 found out this afternoon.

Always slip out un-noticed via the back door when the audience's attention is diverted!

It's standard magician's stuff, create a diversion, draw attention to the big shiny thing over here, miss the real action over there. Big fanfare, round of applause.


Big fanfare, heartbeats racing, people in a panic. No applause.

What's gone wrong, has the trick failed?

As the atmosphere changes, the smoke clears to see a 4 year old outside wandering the streets on his own, looking for him Mummy. The trick was followed to the letter, it should have worked, it goes like clockwork, it never fails, nothing changes....

But that is where it failed. MOTS has gone back to work after her maternity, so childcare arrangements have changed. Both boys are now in nursery for the duration of the working days, whereas before #1 was in 2 afternoons and one morning up to that point.

On one of those afternoons, a Monday, he had a French lesson. That took him to pick-up time, so MOTS was always there after French to pick him up.

Not any more. On a Monday MOTS is at home, and so are both boys.

But this is Thursday. He's switched from Monday to Thursday for French, as it's held in the nursery. Only he's now picked up later, about an hour after French ends.

But that hadn't fully sunk in. So he expected to be picked up. So under cover of a parent doing a pick-up, he slipped downstairs and out of the back door into the car park.

No car. Where's Mummy?

Round the corner to the far side of the car park. No car. Where's Mummy?

But Mummy normally parks here, but not always. If she was going to the High Street before or after picking #1 up from nursery she would park in the train station car park. So guess where he went? Yes, up to the station to look. Unaccompanied. And worse of all, not missed.

Thanks to his French teacher going to his room to give his homework the alarm got raised. By which time he was returning to the building and buzzing to get back in.

Bit of a shock. We are really pleased that he was savvy with the roads. We are really pleased that he went back. We are far from happy that 22 days later is when the door is due to be fixed, with handles raised out of reach of young hands.

It looks like the staff have had a bigger shock than we have. They have got away with a very easy chat with us, initially, about the escape. That conversation could have been with far more difficult parents or even worse, with far more difficult circumstances.

At the time of writing I am a couple of hours away from getting the report and action plan, so that should be interesting reading. We have heard it from Houdini's side, now for the stage managers.

Until we see the report we are thinking about procedural failure (ie staff handover from French class back to his normal room) and physical security. It's the thought of it happening again, to someone not so clued up, that scares us.

No names. No incrimination. Just action to ensure no repeat performance.

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