Monday, 12 October 2009


i'm back! and it seems, a little insane. heads up. thanks to laura's timely and thoughtful comment on my 'i'm ill, pay me attention' post (below), i have just been transported into a brilliant maurice-sendak-twitters-defensively gawker post, which in turn catapaulted me down a late '7o's tinted winding lane of maurice sendak reminiscences courtesy of the commenters therein. with a "the hipster grifter gets how long?" on the side.

my kids love 'in the night kitchen', which they often ask for when at granny's house. granny downsized majorly nearly two years ago, but, of course, that process afforded zero book culling. both my parents are the kind of people who hoard nothing but books, bookshelves having long taken over their houses, quickly becoming entirely inadequate to their purpose. i don't know how they can live like that. (she said, eyes deliberately not sliding three inches right to a teetering pile of 100+ paperbacks next to the bed).

anyway they love it, just as my sister and i were transfixed by it as kids. (we may have occasionally preferred 'some swell pup' fot it's frank, if contextural, illustrations of poo and wee and the fact that the primary adult carer appears to be a bear for no apparent reason whatsoever.) mickey wears an outfit made of pastry, for a start, which to a kid with nary a whisper of s.p.d. seems entirely ideal. the book is like a child describing drunkenness. utterly compelling, completely bizarre, more than a little bit wrong... plus it is anatomically correct. why don't we see the gruffalo's penis ever? actually don't answer that.

anywaaaay, as previously predicted i am, i am afraid, almost nearly over 'where the wild things are', and it hasn't been released yet. i saw another trailer at the cinema the other day and found myself borderline indifferent, although i still believe the casting of max to be exquisite. no, now, i am almost beside myself with excitement about this. seems i heart wes anderson more than i heart spike jonze/ wild things- i did after all sit through 'the royal tenenbaums' twice, one showing right after the other, and can actually find myself crying with laughter and lying prone on the floor unable to speak even attempting to describe 'the life aquatic'. funny, because i never thought i'd have to choose. (alright, i didn't have to choose. but i have. screw you spike, i've seen 'lost in translation', i know what time it is. not really. i'll probably see 'wild things' too. god i'm fickle.)


Thursday, 1 October 2009

and people are saying why didn't you get it when poppy had it and i say i don't know, i don't even know if that is what i've got, and they're like hmm

.... i'm not very well.

but it can't be swine flu because if it was swine flu i'd have to stop and i can't so it can't be.


Saturday, 26 September 2009


when the kids were little, i did a lot of distracting whenever they were upset or wanted something they weren't allowed... i manipulated their attention so that they were more disposed to do things in a parent led, safe way. i got a lot of good feedback about this when other more experienced parents witnessed me doing it, so i kept doing it. i was after all making it up as i went along, like we all do to a greater or lesser extent.

i was just watching rudy playing with a little toy in my room. engrossed for a minute, it then whizzed under the bed, and his attention then jackknifed onto the subject of what is under my bed- poppy's birthday present. we had a brief conversation about that and secret keeping and reassurances that he too would have another birthday one day, and i instinctively redirected his attention to a book. in the space of a minute, he went from the book, to some makeup brushes, to a bust of the virgin mary (long story), to rubbing this french sort of plush bunny (my daughter's) across his face and naming it linda, to turning the lamp on and off, to pressing his wrists against a mirror, to squirting from a perfume bottle, back to the book, found the toy, dismissed it, to putting an emery board in his mouth, to starting a conversation about transformers whilst running the entirety of his arm up and down my duvet, to running out of the door muttering. as the paediatrician says, he's a busy boy.

might my technique of distraction have something to do with it? or am i making it all about me again?


Friday, 25 September 2009

hmm. well. what would shakira make of this. and indeed, do we care

i don't mention my friends here, because i don't feel it's really my place to. only about two of them know that this blog exists, so were i to be yammering on carrie style about who did what to thingy in whahoojima and why, it would be a little distasteful. i don't talk about my friends behind their backs, and writing about them here definitely counts as "talking".

but it depends, i suppose, upon the parameters, doesn't it. the context. and with that in mind, let's talk about... yeah. vampires.

my friends are, without exception, feisty ladies. they might strike you as the quiet girl, the friendly girl, the married lady, the professional powerhouse, the teen mum, the society grand dame, the butter wouldn't melt martial artist... and to say that we merely have fondness for wine and, like, shoes in common does us disservice. you know how this works. you know who you click with. you know who skitters just outside your circle, those who you talk to every day, maintain a friendly and/or professional rapport with, but you know you could never find yourself saying, to this person, say, in context, the words "anal monkey bartering" at 3am after 23 units of alcohol, a 20 minute giggling fit, 45 minutes of introspective tearfulness and two tubes of chillicheese pringles. you have to go with your gut there.

we're a mixed bunch, but somehow cohesive. i might even go so far as to say that we, each of us, dabble in feminism... but i would probably have to chair a three day summit in order to define where exactly our particular branch of feminism lies, to explore the roots of it. is it nurtured? is it reactionary? why are we waxing? which do we hate more- the patriachy or grazia?

but there seems to be one common chink in the armour of our righteous sense of fairytale averse scepticism, however. and that would be twilight, the perennial guilty secret.

i'm the only one on team jacob. and more anon.


Thursday, 24 September 2009

wha... tha... fa...

obviously i live in the uk and i'm a bit behind and everything, but i feel like i have slipped into a parallel universe.

well, colour me conflicted.


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

:- I

yes, i'm completely rubbish. sorry. but i have an excuse. sort of.

the school where p., and now r., go do this infuriating part time initiation month for the incoming reception class where they go mornings, then afternoons, then mornings and lunch, then lunch and afternoons... after which they are deemed ready to go full time, and you, hopefully, cease to run into yourself coming back down on the way up to school, endlessly trailing the book bags and discarded clothing items of the 5 or so miscellaneous loud and scampering children suddenly in your charge, your 'quirky' children being the relentlessly social creatures that they are. it's a good idea, but like many good ideas entirely a pain. i am currently walking to and fro school 3 times a day. this is kind of fine because the scales and i aren't exactly enamoured of each other at the moment, but that might have something to do with the plain insolence of an inbuilt body fat percentage calculator with the gall to tell me that i'm obese even though my bmi is fine, and normal, thankyou, and no of course this is not actually my cheese, i'm actually holding onto it for a friend?... but kind of not fine because each round trip is about an hour. anyways.

this was fine, though. this was a letter from the community paediatrician received yesterday cc. just about everybody:

"rudy _____ _______. d.o.b. __/__/04. problems: developmental co-ordination disorder/ communication issues/ attentional difficulties. rudy is a very busy 4 year old boy who seems to have some of those overlapping difficulties that we do see clustering in some children. he is ready for school. he has been seen by (ed psych- he hasn't, swine flu) and by (speech and language). he has certainly had a detailed work up from (occ. therapy, and this is putting it mildly).

having identified these particular problem areas for rudy, i am now going to pull back as we don't wish to medicalize and pre-judge his educational career at school (yay). i am copying this to the doctor who covers (the school), who will, i am sure, wish to discuss rudy with the special educational needs co-ordinator, with mother's permission (i should imagine that that means me). however, i am happy that the appropriate supports are in place to enable rudy to get off to a good start at school.

best wishes, etc. dr. _____ ______ ma phd mrcpch"


and in rudy's homework diary yesterday:

"rudy has settled in well- he is really enjoying the toys and outdoor area. he has come over to work with me willingly (about wall-e)- even if in a bit of a hurry to go back to play! a super start rudy! i look forward to teaching you this year."


....his uniform is already in a woeful state.


Monday, 14 September 2009

whither fierce?

my fashion life is lived vicariously now, totally disconnected from the girl i was in london... that fashion fearless freak frequently accosted by japanese tourists and style photographers, openly discussed on the tube, greeted with a nod of appraisal from soho to selfridges, snarled at by the teenage girl gangs whose trainer choices i adopted and adapted (i see your lily allen and raise you me in 1999), subject to many an eye roll, snigger and frown; noticed.

it's a certain sort of neediness, a certain sort of bravery. on the surface, i didn't care what other people thought, i was fierce. brimming with bravery, bold customisation and ill advised credit purchases; a prada punk. but of course i cared what people thought, deeply. i was interested in provoking a reaction of any sort, like a ten million and three bright young things before and after me. an art director that wanted me to work with him (in some mysterious and unspecified role) once accused me of purposefully channelling the imaginary love child of elizabeth taylor and sid vicious. i was outraged; i was secretly thrilled.

fay weldon wrote "there is nothing more glorious than to be a young girl and there is nothing worse than to have been one." of course i'll always affectionately deny that. i denied it as a young girl when i first read it. being a young girl certainly didn't often feel glorious aside from the anonymous pavement strutting. i'm happier now. but that freedom to wallow in supeficiality, the summoning of the chutzpah, the luxuriating in the reactionary whispers, sauntering past in feigned obliviousness... wasn't exactly wretched. there's been little opportunity for that recently. i still find that my seasonal wish/ must-buy list centres around the fashion forward, a former self. but my choices now, as i slide open the wardrobe door or stand in the cashier queue working out how i'm going to pay the rent after this, always lean towards the safe. i'm almost appalled at how affected i am by that.

boots by stella mccartney. i know.


Sunday, 13 September 2009


when i went to get him on friday, i saw her first. it was a warm, bright day. she was walking in a single file crocodile on the veranda back to her new classroom. i waved. she took a moment, looked around her, and waved back, tentative and somehow sombre. i could hear the singing before i got to the door, familiar from last year. they were all lined up, gazing at their teacher with rapt attention, singing a song together about body parts or automotive components or cakes in a cake shop. they were doing actions. the sun streamed into the room, spotlighting my little boy in the lineup. he was oddly formal in his uniform, arms flailing like wielded flamingoes. he occasionally pushed his fringe out of his eyes, always on the brink of a wide smile, oblivious to me. it look me a second to recognise him. i keep thinking he's in the next room, or the garden. i keep wandering into his bedroom. i keep laughing at myself.

this week's wake up call, and therefore our theme song:

Monday, 24 August 2009


going home for my birthday

so. we're going to my mum's tomorrow, and then she is very kindly having the children while i have a much needed weekend with my SO, and then we're going to stay with his family until my mum's birthday, after which school will start. yes, i've sewn on all the labels. i've also got to find time to decorate my kitchen. i don't know when. if i'm not around, this is why.

see you on the flipside, dynamite. x.


Saturday, 22 August 2009

update *strings/horns news music*

this just in- i'm going to take the pressure off and he's going to be nice to me. in other words, it's taken us three days to get back to normal.

in other news- i caved. i ate. chorizo tastes of paprika and DEATH, and apparently this combination is no longer palatable to me. this is a slight bummer as i was simply trying to wean myself off cheese. early indications suggest that i still love cheese.

and finally- i wish i was at v festival. i've just been jumping around to calvin harris having epic flashbacks involving ian brown, experimental eye makeup, semi-religious experiences in marquees, and the intense, almost unbearable happiness a big piece of knitwear can bring to the vulnerable and nippy reveller in the small hours. for various reasons i don't remember much of my early adulthood, the bit before kids, although i'm fairly sure i was both a. unaware of my relatively slinky dimensions and b. a total bitch.

actually, i just looked at the lineup and said "oh, meh." out loud. i blame the chorizo rush. i remember when all this were fields, etc.


i can't haz cheezburger, or, a uncharacteristically self indulgent, moping post, with possibly tmi. i offer a link to lolcats as recompense.

i'm not quite sure what i'm supposed to think when my SO says we are having problems in our relationship, have been for months, that i am lying to myself if i splutter with disbelief at the suggestion. like i did.

i'm not sure what to think when he says he can't afford, or rather, resents the assumption that he would, take me out for dinner. (it's my birthday in three days, a meal out was all i asked for. we haven't been out since march.) equally, he resents the assumption that he would take me and the children on holiday, to provide us with this, with that... when i never even asked him to. never even hoped he would. wondered if he would come with us one day, yes. never once assumed he'd pay to go to bloody disney, despite his mentioning it mere weeks into our relationship.

should i have thought "ouch" when he told me that he'd taken his parents out for dinner last night? like i did?

he says he's sick of pressure regarding where the relationship is going, if we're getting married. this pressure does not come directly from me. i admit i do occasionally wonder aloud where this is going, if it has a future. it's been three and a half years. we have never really discussed it.

he says he lavishes his time on me, and that, because of me, he has no time to sort his own life out. he works full time, plays basketball, lives alone. on average, he spends 2 to 3 weekends a month with friends, family, or by himself. the other weekends he spends with me. we live 2.5 hours apart. he is angry that i passed up on an offer to get me driving lessons while he had the (then very small) children on alternate saturday mornings two years ago, but now i will be learning to drive this autumn when rudy starts school.

he says that i am not supportive of his plans, and because of me, he and a friend of his will not be going travelling together for a few of weeks this year as previously planned. this is news to me. i was demonstrably upset for him when he told me that he would not be going, and had previously encouraged him to get on with the organisation. apparently i made him feel guilty.

all these ambitions and aspirations he had when he met me are going out the window. apparently this is entirely my responsibility.

there is no time to discuss any of this. it's out there now, since thursday, but there hasn't been a good time to talk about it since, despite his continuing anger.

i have a feeling this might not be the funnest birthday ever.

added to which i undertook at the beginning of the week to do the frigging master cleanse (dairy allergies) and now only my tenacity is seeing me through. if i stop, i'll get judged by a man that stopped smoking, cold turkey, three weeks ago. with help from the alan carr book i bought him last year.

burger king would help.



Friday, 14 August 2009

for those about to enter reception class, we salute you

rudy is not being diagnosed with asperger's! just dcd/adhd! for now! under ongoing observation! unmedicated! for now! for ever if i have anything to do with it!

and rudy just 'graduated' from nursery with a certificate, a fairy cake, and a medal that says "winner" on it. we've said goodbye.

it's been emotional. now to sew a million name tags into his uniform.

*throws devil hand signal.*

*goes to make pot of tea.*


Monday, 10 August 2009

other people's children

hmmm. i can't be the only person who has ever stumbled over a photograph of a child who is clearly my children's half brother on the internet (etsy, of all places) and thought, with all due respect to his mother, that my two were actually much better looking and actually in my honest, totally unbiased opinion my kids are like something out of a burberry campaign, and then felt really bad, but i'm damned if i can find an appropriate forum.

my brain thusly marinated in evil superficiality and shock, i toyed, fleetingly, with the idea of encouraging (read: masterminding) p n'r's careers as child models, with a view to raising their university tuition fees (fine art and engineering, respectively, probably, hopefully) and improving everyone's lives a hundredfold with their winsomeness. of course, i swiftly dismissed the idea. for a start, the pair of them are wont to swan about looking almost unbearably beautiful... and then a camera is produced... at which point they both adopt the squint/ expand-mouth-laterally-to-extremities-of-jawline school of smiling. but more importantly, neither of them would really stand for it. unless you happen to be the progeny of a rockstar, or a once-in-a-generation kate moss type, modelling can reduce one's sense of self to nothing but a set of scrawled features on a piece of acetate- rather specifically what i do not wish for my children. so it'll be down the mine like the rest of us, then.

later, as if to compound my instincts, i watched a documentary on bbc3 entitled baby beauty queens, or something, about the inaugural miss mini miss uk beauty pageant for the terminally over glittered tween (i might have misremembered the actual title here) and was pretty much disturbed to bits. there was a lovely, intelligent, pretty child who had had cosmetic surgery at 7, whose mother would get cross if she chose to wear her glasses rather than contact lenses. there was another lovely, intelligent, pretty child whose mother had made her a believe-board with pictures of naomi campbell, pound signs and a chihauhau called gucci on it. of course, there was an adorable, ethereal and gracious sweetheart from a council estate (cue lingering shots of smashed windows and copious litter) who genuinely didn't feel that winning was important, and had a likeable, bright mother desperate to give her preemie princess something to believe in.

a twelve year old, 5'6", natural (read: suspiciously unglittery) beauty in a £3k frock took the crown. hell's teeth. apart from our preemie princess, who quietly got on with carving out a career in modelling, and good for her, there were tears, tiaras and tantrums abound. and that was just the mums. i am ever more grateful for my daughter's ambition to open a patisserie, and my son's ambition to try "all of the jobs, except magician". ("just because.")

sometimes i think i might not actually, technically, be the worst mother in the world, and i wonder why that is not more uplifting a thought.


Saturday, 8 August 2009

home (extended edition)

hey. we're home. heartfelt apologies to anyone that thought we had fatally succumbed to swine flu- we haven't, but we have been away in order to fully recouperate, and i am that highly distractable person that forgets about the internet (if not those i encounter upon it) after a day's enforced absense. we are all well and hope that you are too.

what you can see above is not our home, but that of my father. actually that's a lie. it is the home of an iron-age person, as seen from the land my father and his wife own. if you crunch across the drive and wander down the top field at seven pm (invariably with glass of wine in hand) this is the view.

so that's where we've been. enjoying the unexpected sunshine, eating expansive meals cooked on the aga, striding about in the manure with dogs at our heels. the yearling won champion of champions at the show, rudy actually did a drawing (of the sun!), i made a lasagne that could enter an appropriate hall of fame; we had a good time.

*****terrifyingly long asd rant paragraph alert*****

my father's wife is essentially a top-tier senco. she makes decisions that impact upon every sen kid in the country (which, just to confuse you, is not the country i live in). she literally identified rudy's dyspraxia at 200 paces. but asperger's?... seeing him thrive in a different context, realising how far he has come in the last six months ,witnessing his extensive, gregarious social skills and his overall adaptability anew made me able to review the recent assessments in a different, less trusting way. he's an intelligent, flapping kid with a broad vocabulary. we live in a 'deprived' area... perhaps attempts are being made to find more serious (neurological?) explanations for an inherent geekiness than are actually appropriate. for example, it was noted by the occupational therapist recently that dyspraxia was not evident during her assessment, and that his coordination difficulties are more the product of sensory processing issues. while i accept that all the recommendations she made would be helpful to rudy in terms of developing his physical and sp capabilities, i am more wary, than i was, of her suggestion of an asd label. the label could get in the way more than what i perceive as the real issues. i don't know if rudy will end up in the nba, say, but to summarily dismiss it does him a disservice (rudy is tall, so i'm not being entirely delusional.) as the statementing and support funding process in england changes, rudy will receive whatever support he needs without that definitive label. other friends and family who happen to be teaching and support assistants are beyond alarmed by the suggestion that rudy could be autistic. the preliminary speech and language report references an inability to correctly describe what is going on in an illustration of a girl drying her hair with a towel. rudy laughs and says she has a rug on her head, which in our house is about as likely. an inabillity to identify that an elephant is talking on the telephone and has the cord wound around his trunk ("he has a spring on his nose") is fair enough, as far as i'm concerned... rudy was born in 2004 and as such has never met a corded 'phone. is this not, again, cultural/environmental... and actually okay? we recently encountered a bizarre munchhausen-ish/ competitive statementing situation very close to home, which, while i won't go into the details, delivered a timely dose of further objectivity.

the paediatrician might tell me otherwise on wednesday but as far as i am concerned, there is no issue that isn't covered by the dyspraxia dx. and that's that. i'm home.


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

oh. right.

so yes, it is swine flu after all. poppy was couriered out tamiflu this evening, and now we're supposed to be quarantined, with all the calpol and soup that we thoughtfully stockpiled a month ago. or, as the case may be, we did not. rudy has an educational psychology assessment tomorrow and no swine flu diagnosis (yet). there's only one of me.

hm. what would elizabeth taylor do?


Tuesday, 14 July 2009


yet more illness has struck our household. this time it involves copious vomit.

r. had his speech and language assessment today, at nursery, but i don't know how it went as i was unable to attend and rudy has absolutely no recollection of such a meeting (which isn't to say it didn't happen); his keyworker had already left when i went to pick him up.

in other news, i have just acquired a new copy of 'say anything'.... *yay*.


Thursday, 9 July 2009


right. i'll tell you a secret.

i have this tattoo on my inner wrist. it's a small black and grey tonal masterpiece... exquisite, even, and was done by someone celebrated in the field some time ago, when i emerged, blinking, after the whole kidsdadleavinginablazeofgloryand (deep breath) resultingyearlongnervousbreakdown fandango. someone needed to draw a literal line under things for me. i needed to claim myself back in a fairly brutal way. if stigma is on me, it needn't be in me.

it's a xiii. i know, what a badass.

not being part of a mexican gang, or much of a rockabilly, it's symbolism to me can be quickly explained as "change is good; what may look like bad luck is the necessary order of life; challenge is blessing and opportunity- BRING IT." i won't go deep into my reasons why i went and got it, or start lecturing you on prime numbers, tarot and the mayan calendar or indeed my extensive personal connection to the number for fear of inspiring a multiple eyeroll pileup, but it was a valuable process, and even my mother, who is a harbinger of good taste and was understandably opposed to the venture, thinks it beautiful. i'm not one of those mayan calender folks anyways.

in a nutshell, it's purpose is, and always has been, to serve as a personal attitude crib note whenever the whole single mother thing- or indeed the whole grown up life thing- challenges my patience/ will to live. obviously since i got it the children grew and changed, the challenges were different; the whole rudy/ASD rollercoaster started.

it helps.

speech and language therapy and educational psychology assessments next week.


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

ma-ma-se, etc.

Add Image

this is fantastic up close. i'd forgotten we saw this koons piece at versailles. i was reminded of it just now, whilst finding myself gazing, slack-jawed, upon the man's gold plated coffin, via bbc2.

we went to see the banksy show today, and surrounded by commandeered ice cream vans and terrorist rats, look what else we saw:-

it's not good. it was surrounded by those nasty electronic candles and some silk flowers, for god's sake. i'm not sure which image is more distasteful- this, in all its' terrible execution, hastily wheeled out in some confused attempt at 'faux' timely reverence; or that coffin being wheeled out just now to jive with the all-too-fresh bad taste in the mouth left by joe jackson hawking his blu-rays out front- but this one was certainly hardest to explain to my son, for more reasons than immediately apparent. so yeah, thanks for that, banksy.

although rudy did enjoy the animatronic chicken mcnuggets. yes, i did just type that.

ooh, blanket is there. yay blanket.


p.s. edited to add that paris ripped my heart right out, and i'm not judging prince for chewing gum throughout either.

Monday, 6 July 2009


hey, ladies- long unedited rant alert. apologies for the extended absence- hopefully what lies beneath will go some way to explaining. i hope everyone is well and had a good weekend.

rudy probably doesn't have DCD, he is just too distracted to perform manual tasks above the first (yup, 1st) percentile. rudy is now three fidgets away from a formal ASD diagnosis. he is developing OCD. he will not EAT. he is sandwiched between glass slides under a MICROSCOPE and i just want it to STOP. i am SICK TO MY BACK TEETH OF THIS PROCESS.

for maybe the first time last week i really understood why it is generally perceived as preferable that two parents raise a child. no, that's not right at all. i will rephrase. i felt it might be preferable if i was one of two parents raising my children. i felt a palpable absence -someone else as wholly responsible for this scrap of a lad as i. i felt there should be someone else with whom i could share almost unbearable pressure, this guilt and this responsibility. i was even tempted to contact his father. thankfully it occurred to me after about half a nanosecond that i was missing a phantom. his actual father is the kind of self righteous clown that would immediately hold me actively responsible for "causing the poor kid's autism", and then latch on some sort of claim that he suspected that this would happen and that's why he had to walk out on us when r. was only weeks old. this is someone who once stated, before rudy was even born, that i would probably "make him gay on purpose". my speculation that this man would utilise rudy's diagnosis in order to spite me is founded on extensive experience- he's such a delightful character. and please understand that the fact that my children's father is a colossal scumbag weighs heavily on my shoulders- it's all guilt, all the time. expressing these feelings of isolation, unsupportedness and the weight of sole responsibility did not go down well with my long term long distance boyfriend. communication broke down.

we have flu, suspected swine. poppy has been found to be asthmatic.

i lost it big time with the neighbouring kids' dad. his eldest (7) had been playing with my daughter and apropos of nothing, had screamed in her face that she was a "fucking loser". her tears were met with taunts that she was a big fat cry baby. i was right there. my attempts to comfort my understandably shaken daughter were overheard by the child's father, and he felt it was important that he let me know how abnormal my children are that they get upset in such a situation. only they weren't the words he used. it was a hot day, and i've been putting up with this crap for too long. let's just say i went postal. no, not cool, but it's done now. the discussion was concluded with him realising that he was out of his depth, and resorting to laughing at me, and he got called an asshole. by me. and has he mended the fence? nope. did he immediately approach a group of our other neighbours and launch an extended character assassination on me? yep. but more powerful is the sense of shock i feel at having stooped to his level.

about two hours later, montana turned up. he'd pulled some strings and taken the rest of the week off at short notice to attempt some damage control upon my rapidly unravelling psyche. walking back from the shop later that evening, he could hear the father next door screaming at his five crying children from the end of the street. and yet i'm the one receiving neighbourhood wide shunning.

montana lay in every morning. we went to the seaside one day. i was a brittle anxious mess until about lunchtime yesterday. he left mid afternoon.


Friday, 19 June 2009

indigo dog

my son is not a "funny looking kid", he was working those babygros from about 3 months old, he was the baby everyone greeted with a "duuuuude". he's seriously popular, and kids can be shallow people.

my son is not "slow". i'm sick of people- of friends-telling me, apropos of nothing, that "it's not important if he doesn't ever go to university", based on their feeble grasp of his diagnosis. wtf? first of all, he's four (4). secondly, he's scary bright and a great communicator with adults. third, he's obsessed with robots and comes from a long line of celebrated engineers on all sides. i had to seriously hold my tongue this morning as someone laid the "so what if he's not academically clever" crap on me whilst her own child had just picked his nose and riffed on bums and willies for a good five minutes.

my son shouldn't be persecuted on his own turf in the interest of "toughening him up". we are currently under siege by neighbouring kids every day after school and on weekends as some fences are down and those responsible can't be bothered to replace them. these kids will stroll into my house and use the play equipment even if my kids aren't around. i'm laid back, but these kids are really really not very nice, and their parents assume the issue is that my kids are "too sensitive". i am turning into an alsation; montana is likely to throw down some cgi werewolf madness this weekend should this continue.

my son is awesome, eerily placid, with a delightful take on the world. ignorant pigeon-holing haters are beginning to rile me. it's bringing out the indigo in me. it's not good.


Thursday, 18 June 2009


every time we meet with a new professional, the outlook looks bleaker. this week it was a very long occupational therapy assessment; educational psychology and speech and language coming soon. as i've said before, i don't quite understand why this is happening when previously we were all satisfied moving forward i.e.p.-wise with a list of "differences" rather than a solid diagnosis. actually i do, but it seems a little inconsistent. the thing i am attempting to focus upon is how "charming" and "delightful" all these new people profess to find my little boy.

so i've retreated somewhat, as i am apt to do. it can be quite tiring being how i normally am socially, and at the moment i don't really have it in me. i can't really string a sentence together. the phone rings and i can't always pick it up. i'd rather not speak at all than have people be all nice and understanding because that's when i can't keep it together anymore. it's just how i am. i can pull off my usual cheerfulness with the kids (to a point), the school run, and the required amount of interaction involved in day to day living, but no more. the closer someone is to me the more less i have to say to them at times like this. i feel like i'm letting people down and am not very good at articulating what's going on with me.

anyway, being all kinds of done with the "characterful throw", i am cheering myself up looking at ryan reynolds, and suggest that anyone else with a severe predilection for snidely funny bearded beefcake follows suit. here's ryan with multiple ow-ies having suffered some sort of run in with a marvel character. that might be code for something; i'm beyond caring.


Sunday, 14 June 2009

it's not right, and it's not okay.

i used to be so obsessed with this film; travolta's performance remains my number one go-to dinner party oscars injustice. (you know. these things come up.)


this doesn't feel right but, two days after the rest of the internet, here it is.

this is what has been on my mind most of the weekend. it's been very quiet.

this, and the fact that a million gossip sites are now full of comments informing their readership that autism is a mental illness.

(i just had to go back and edit because i'd capitalised correctly, this always happens when i'm distracted- when i concentrate it is a humungous fail, hence the usual modus operandi.)


Wednesday, 10 June 2009


incredibly, when we got to the doctor's surgery this morning (not paediatrician), my daughter did have an appointment and it was today and it was at the time we turned up!

i am not a completely unorganised delusional sham of a mother!

*raises glass of wine. well it is wednesday!*

the assessment went okay!

no referrals, no interventions, no diagnosis!


my daughter just experiences life with a literally painful intensity.



Monday, 8 June 2009

head/ hands

1. on the phone just a minute ago, i told montana that he has a new name on this blog. that he has a name at all. and he is bitterly disappointed that it is not 'futurecybertron'. honestly.

2. because it is now attempting to be summer, one felt one had to step up the grooming a notch or twelve. i went into lush looking for something that would render me slightly less reptilian and waltzed out with a 'business time' massage bar, which, as you will know because you are so utterly and irrevocably hip, is some sort of 'flight of the conchords' tribute. watching that, i realise that it's supposed to be an aphrodisiac. oh. whatever- i am totally distracted by the smell of my arms. it's so very great that i am going to have to give it up... at least on weekdays, or days in which i have to pull focus of any kind, or not get chased down the road by dogs. honestly, it's like baby powder, or burlap, or freshly printed wedding invitations. ridiculously good.

3. little boy is now on his third (3rd) copy of wall-e. he is literally wearing them out.

4. i'm turning the kitchen into a gigantic chalkboard. right now. don't say anything. just pass me that brush. what do you mean, "regrettably compulsive"?

5. it's my daughter's first assessment tomorrow.

6. there is no espresso in the fridge. there is no espresso in the fridge. there is no espresso in the fridge.

7. everyone, and by everyone i mean everyone in the world that isn't me or you or perhaps some other people you know, is going on holiday this weekend. away. everyone. look at them, with their patrick gale novels and their passports and their sun tan lotion and their hopes of relaxation and/or a good time. quitters.

8. at the end of the month, i get to go clothes shopping. glee. this doesn't happen very often anymore, as i need to keep my children in socks and evacuee-style frocks. i am attempting to resist the urge to spend all my hard saved wedge on one beautiful (ridiculous) item that lives year round in my wardrobe with all of it's glamourous (ridiculous) chums, while i lurch out of the house each morning in tracksuit bottoms with ground in play-doh and some delapidated t-shirt commemorating my wonderful time at the sorbonne (i never went to the sorbonne). exchanging the money into topshop vouchers might be the solution, but then knowing me i'll end up with four identical kate moss maxi dresses and some delusional notion that i have been practical. again. i hate what the fashion industry has done to me.

9. we have five impending blooms on our new papaver orientale, which, as my five year old daughter poppy points out, is fairly 'iconic'.

10. after a weekend of alternating threats and bribes, being screamed at, empty promises, pleading, insults, whining and foot stamping, i have been broken. i am now going to go and clean aforementioned daughter's bedroom, with any luck before environmental health show up.

i don't know where she gets it from.


nature/ nature

yesterday, r. took the opportunity to avail himself of several episodes of the clone wars. it being quite a cosy sort of day, he fell asleep. because i knew that if i attempted to rouse him i would have to spend the rest of the afternoon with him on my hip, engaging him brightly in my every passing thought just to ensure that he remained conscious, i let him sleep. until 5.30pm. oops.

so by last night, the boy child was in a chatty sort of mood. i put him to bed, and he kept wondering back down again, to talk. i'd take him straight back up again, and then be plead with to stay.

"let's talk about... pistons?" he might say.

"oh, okay," i might respond. what can i say, he sells it well.

so, off he went about pistons, and because i am not particularly technically minded, my contribution to the conversation might have been disappointing but for the fact that rudy sometimes needs his own questions repeated to him before he can be quite sure about things.

i threw him one such question. i can't remember what it was. but in response i got a

"yyyyeargh. and then..."

but he'd lost me. because by that point i was sitting with my mouth hanging open. rudy had just, for a split second, for the duration of that 'yyyyeargh', and for some waving arm movements that followed it, turned into his father.

seeing as the last time rudy saw his father he was only weeks old, it is highly unlikely that he learned those mannerisms from him. and, naturally, his father does not have the monopoly on a protracted 'yeah' and gesticulative communication. but it was more than that. it was, for want of a better word, weird.

and it occurs to me that i, and everyone else in our lives, tend, quite naturally and without affectation, to think of my children as just mine- the product of my family's collective gene pool and no one else's. our faces are fairgrounds of recessive genetic traits. despite the fact that he is incredible with them, it's fairly obvious they are not montana's. they are my kids.

i eventually managed to wrap up the machinery chat and went downstairs. i had company, and soon forgot about it.

but later, on my own, an unspoken "he did that thing that you do" hung in the air, competing with my relief at not being in a situation to say it to him.


Saturday, 6 June 2009


see that pigeon above us, there?

well, if you tried to tempt that pigeon with hovis sliced or a nice scone, he'd probably turn his beak up. he'd want ciabatta, dipped in the finest ligurian oil, probably, as that pigeon up there is italian. that picture was actually taken a stone's throw away from the roman forum on new year's eve, 2007. i know- take me to some beautiful historical ruins, and i'm photographing flying vermin and using the zoom to check out people's terraces. ciao!

anyway, so, because it's like june and stuff, we're discussing at present where to spend new year 2009/10. by we, i mean myself and my man, who might be feeling guilty about setting out from california in a muscle car without me this summer. perhaps. a terrible formative experience in a suburban nightclub has left him with seasonal compulsive wanderlust; new year must be spent in a different place (and for place read country) each and every year. i'm spoiled. the first year that we were together, we spent it on a remote and misty swedish island- we got in about 3 hours of daylight over a 4 day break. the second year, i clambered over roman ruins in 6" heels. we saw in 2009 watching rubber clad gendarms make examples of argentinians with fireworks on the chanse elise, while people inexplicably shouted "tony montana!" at my man (hmm. if tony montana had a beard. and was 6'4". and wasn't a drug lord.) this year, however, i would be quite happy to stay at my house. or his house. or, for that matter, babington house. sigh.

but the problem with this is that once england is done, it's done. i don't know when the current nye mandate is going to come to term, and i'm not really inclined to ask as mr. montana says vague things about the future enough as it is. i am just realising that i am becoming the kind of person that packs earl grey tea bags, is usually bitterly disappointed with the food and misses the pound sterling more than is reasonable. we resent other tourists and get sniffy about their eurotrash accessories. montana and i get stressed out speaking foreign languages in front of eachother. in paris, we spent one whole evening in our 8' wide bed- eating cheese and watching an old episode of jonathon creek, wistfully tearing up at the bbc idents.

obviously, the ideal is to build ourselves a mobile treehouse. montana stipulates hot tub, wi-fi access, a 40" (minimum) screen of some sort, decent pillows and a barbecue. i require hot water and good light. i might suggest we pimp a shed, or buy a winnebago and montana learns to solder, but before you know it, we'll be planning a "waterworld" themed new year, and hopefully my future doesn't have much kevin costner in it.

and so, concluded by a series of kneejerk reactions and 4 minutes of flight research, i'm willing to bet that montana settles for st. petersburg, which is dandy because it gives me the opportunity to shop for mukluks in the off season- which will obviously come in handy, later, for the treehouse.

i love it when a plan comes together.


Thursday, 4 June 2009

the sartorialist 2

so, today there was another straight faced meeting about r.'s asperger's diagnosis. he is shortly to meet with an educational psychologist (not my stress, but i like it, so it stays) and a speech and language therapist. it seems what i was happy to think of as an asperger's 'haze'- like donald trump's hair- is to be made something more tangible. more of a hat, perhaps- an asperger's fedora seems appropriate. we, the adults present, talked earnestly and at length about the validity and ultimate goals of this process. we weighed up the pros and cons of what i am choosing to think of as 'preemptive labelling' (better 'aspergic' than 'lazy', or 'stupid'...*narrows eyes*). we reviewed what specifically in the reception year rudy might need support with. we got to the point where we were repeating ourselves and eachother, justifying the process and each of our roles within it. as per.

"i know, roight, guys, but check out my new chucks?" said the little boy in question, in his startlingly sweet bristol burr, suddenly toes-a-posing in the physical epicentre of our concentration.

ah, levity.



"it seems that for success in science and art," hans asperger wrote, "a dash of autism is essential."

i recently witnessed someone very dear to me boiling and ironing 20 of her son's handkerchiefs. it was a beautiful day outside. she was being exorted to come outside, put her feet up, and enjoy her beautiful garden and a glass of wine. no, she said, i have to finish these, clean out a cupboard and properly store these cashmere pieces i have just laundered. then i have to polish the bannisters. no, don't worry, i want to do it. i know what i'm doing, so i'll have it done in a couple of hours. no, go you and sit down.

it was her birthday. swear to god.

seems to me, for perfect housekeeping, a dash of ocd is essential.

i don't have ocd.


Monday, 1 June 2009


...yes i realise that i am tragic, tragic individual. and yes, i did stay up last night until 2am (on a school night) to watch the new moon trailer and, yes, i do feel that jake shapeshifting has redeemed the few hours of my life spent gazing at the mediocre smell-the-fart fest that was 'twilight', and, alright, i might have made an actual "squee!" noise when he did it and there might previously have been a bit of a "hubba" too, and, yes, i wrestle with this ethically, yes, but at least i accept that the t-shirts can't be realistically worked into my summer wardrobe of ancient fred perry and kate moss's frocks for topshop which, incidentally, i seem to have solidly budgeted around from may to september for the last three years. it's the weather. honest.

in other news, we are back! we went away for a few days to my boyfriend's 'hood. i have been mostly been drinking wine and have satisfactorily depleted, clearly, many, many brain cells. this is in no way related to the fact that the next few weeks hold both an occupational therapy and mental health assesment for my various children, so... yeah. i might go and watch that boy become a wolf again. don't judge me.


Monday, 18 May 2009

cl-awesome; an i.d. crafting update. woo.

yes, i have been doing crochet. i'm so unbelievably rock n' roll.

but please noone think for a minute that a) i am fashioning cozies for yorkshire terriers, or b) that i am any good at it whatsoever. no.

when out shopping with my sister, we fawned over a pale blue crochet thing (i am hesitant to say "throw"- this kind of etimological travesty only makes me want to suffix with an "up") which was both exorbitantly expensive and mass produced. and, while we're on the subject, dry clean only. we checked the price. we hastily put it back.

so then, after frowning over youtube for several hours, i started making my own. i've torn 3 days worth of work on it down. twice. see, i am bringing both ineptitude and perfectionism to this one.

and i can't get the hold right, so i am also developing "the claw". epic.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

going dental

my daughter is losing teeth at a rate of knots- in a good, colgate approved way of course. tonight she lost her fourth in as many months; thankfully she didn't swallow this one, so the tooth fairy won't have be putting on her size 0.3 sparkly hunters any time soon.

p.'s one of the first in her class to be losing teeth, by virtue of the facts that she is the oldest by a good few weeks and has a mother who lost her teeth early. and, whom, incidentally, kept the new ones in immaculate condition until the advent of her twenties, what with all the diet coke and intensive gestational periods that they hosted. not at the same time, of course. much.

so p. wants to take her tooth in to show to her classmates, but is concerned about any peceived lapse in protocol.

"mummy, we'll have to hide it from the tooth fairy, or she'll take it."

"no problem, honey pie, i'll text her. like that time we had to text her because you were at granny's house when you lost your last tooth. i'll just ask if she can come tomorrow night instead."

"did you have to text her then to tell her where it was? that we were at granny's?"

"yes. i sent directions. it wasn't a problem. so this time she'll just come to get it tomorrow."

"will she know where it is tomorrow?"

"yes. i'll put at the end of the text that we are at our usual address this time. just put it on the mantelpiece, baby girl."

i noticed that when she did, she tucked it carefully out of sight, behind a postcard of john simmons' titania, who could presumably see off the tooth fairy if it came to it. nice touch. she turned around again, on her tiptoes, thoughtfully.

"mummy, don't you meet the tooth fairy in starbucks like you do father christmas? i thought that was how she knew when to come?"

i couldn't remember what i'd said. i had to hide behind my wineglass while her scepticism bored into my temple.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

blessed three (3); stability

right. haven't posted in a while.

couple of reasons:

1) crochet

or, manic stitches as coping mechanism.

2) realisation

for a while now, i've been so busy getting used to the neuro-smorgasboard my family bring to the table, i had quite forgotten to consider the other half of my children's genetical input- or should i say their biological father.

it may come as something of a surprise to some of you that my children were not, as a matter of fact, immaculately conceived. and if it doesn't, believe me, remembering that fact is bit of a shock to me. i don't remember much of it at all.

a few years ago i found myself in a bad situation. unknown place. job and home fell through; nowhere to go. friend of mine wanted to make it better. he didn't- he made it different. we entered into something that i am reluctant to describe as a relationship, it was more a hostage situation. violence. drugs. every job, every career opportunity, i had was sabotaged. the police were involved. i got used to being terrified. despite every precautionary measure available to me, my daughter was conceived, and despite ending up in hospital a couple of times during her gestation, she was born. shortly after i got pregnant again with my son and he, again, somehow, made it to term. his father went to work in another city a short time after, and we never saw him again.

bewilderingly as it seems now, it took a while to realise the relief. i needed answers. i attempted to maintain contact between him and the children, and got in response death threats, trumped up delusional accusations regarding the children's provenance and bizarre pleas that i take him back and we run away together. he had no bank account of his own, and before i could realise what was happening, he ran up huge debts in my name. my credit is wrecked. he has since had at least one other child. it turns out that there is at least one other, older, child too. so that's going to be one of many interesting conversations for the future.

this man had a terrible childhood. no, that doesn't make everything he has done since alright, but it remains. he had a severely disabled older brother that i some ways his parents found much easier to deal with. things at home were bad. he went into care and was moved from foster home to foster home until leaving entirely at the age of 15. he had bad problems at school despite his intelligence, is barely literate, can't countenence authority of any kind, still has problems maintaining friendships and relationships, is manipulative and controlling, is hugely insecure and gullible; vulnerable and easily led despite the scary tough guy image he attempts to maintain. i think you know what i am saying. i am not going to list the myriad other quirks. incredibly, he found training and got very good at a trade that allows him to change jobs every two weeks whenever he falls out with his boss and/ or goes on a two week jack daniels and gaming jag. we have zero contact- he has completely reinvented me in order to justify his actions.

i know it would impossible to have attained this level of forgiveness were he still in my life, but all of a sudden, i'm there. i don't often think about him. no, this maybe isn't what i had hoped my life would look like, but i have to be grateful for my two brilliant children, and that their differences have been identified early, before they can fester and turn on us all.

our understanding and stability are worth more to our children than any of us can really imagine.

and now, for balance, some more spongebob. not normal.


Sunday, 10 May 2009


right so anyway i've had a wholly crappy few days but today fate, the stars and (trying to think of some appropriate deity here; all i can come up with is elmo...) whomever colluded to bring me out of this godforsaken funk.

it was a sunny day today. we got up early and did that nice sunday morning pottering thing where it feels like you are in an ongoing conversation even though noone says anything, necessarily, and you may all be in different rooms.

p. went to a birthday party this afternoon, so my son and i went to the park. nothing can coax r. out from behind his cuddle blanket like an opportunity to get dizzy, so we hared about the playground in a manner reminiscent of those pharmaceutical trials on spiders, from swings to slide, to smaller slide, to swing, to wierd rocking cockerel thing, to slide, to metal toadstool, to swing, to slide, to slide. but something caught my eye. i came over all private benjamin.

"rudy, " i said, "how would you like to try the super grown up balancing journey."

together, we looked across at the small course. stepping stones. logs on springs. small rope bridges. a low-wire of chain. we squinted into the dappled light that fell on the course, surrounded as it is by trees and low seasonal flora. we checked the windspeed and direction. we prepared ourselves mentally. we camouflaged our faces with boot polish.

"yeah," said rudy. and we went for it.

i was surprised and encouraged by r's enthusiasm and confidence, and his insistence that he would do this thing at his own pace. older boys came up behind us. rudy explained very reasonably that they would have to wait. they did. it didn't take long to do, this course, but it was quite meaningful for me; something i will remember.

as we reached the end, in a particular hairy part, r., slightly in front of me said,

"mummy, look! there are crocodiles all below us!"

"gosh, well, we need to be careful then."

"noooo, mummy. they won't eat us- they're cheering for us! yay!"

and with that, he jumped off the end of the course- something i would never have thought i'd see him do even two months ago.

i have a lot to learn from this boy.


Friday, 8 May 2009


being on my own is fine until i have a glimpse of an alternative.

being alone is one thing; loneliness is quite another.


Thursday, 7 May 2009

where's rudy?

rudy's keyworker has the week off, ("she is at holiday, in the north pole." states rudy, definitively; she is in poland) and the room at nursery is full of agency staff. he keeps coming home with food all over his face, his trousers unbuttoned and his shoes on the wrong feet. he is really quiet, whiney and withdrawn when i go to get him and twice so far has actually fallen asleep after getting home at around 2pm. i notice when the temporary staff attempted to engage him- for example, rudy went to get his thomas from his drawer to take home with him and on the way back tripped up over a book. he just picked himself up and carried on. as per normal. maybe because i was there, one of the temps asked him, in baby talk, if he was okay... you know, the way that you or i might talk to a pink cgi chihauhau with a broken arm out of politeness- he completely ignored her.

this has happened before. last time she had a week off, he refused to go in at all. i wouldn't say that they are especially bonded, but they get eachother. they're fond. she has in the past, even in a diagnosis environment, played down rudy's differences. that is cool, because to her that's just how rudy is. she understands that differences exist nontheless, and knows that there are some things he won't think to do or needs support doing. she understands and respects that he often plays by himself, will only really engage on his own terms, and stims out from time to time. they have a laid-back-buddy kind of rapport. this might not be the case if he was disruptive, but he's not. so it works.

seeing how much he has regressed this week makes me slightly concerned about the impending big change in environment and person-scenery, when he goes to school. he is floppier this week, taking his thomas everywhere (rather than wall-e or some other robotic conversational prop), has to be reminded to take his thumb out of his mouth to talk, after which he decides he can't be bothered. i couldn't engage him, there was nothing he wanted to do. i picked him up and took him out into the garden to watch the guy next door's pigeons, but he whined until he was lying back down on the sofa, preferably curled up on my lap, being rocked. he didn't even want to read the book about cogs and levers. he's staring into space a lot. won't play. coping.

i'm missing him.


let's be co-people

or, part 5(?) of the occasional series in which all the best things in life are claimed by indigo doll on behalf of the neuro-atypical.

i'll be quick because i'm supposed to be cleaning my house, but i just had a flashback of an interview i saw with will ferrell. and then i thought i'd dreamt it, so i turned to google (obv) and found this:

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

my bathroom mirror

for anyone reading who may not be familiar with the comments section of this blog (think of it as a sunny backstage area at glastonbury where a previously undiscovered, and only slightly warm, crate of becks has just been found behind a hay bale. on day 3. oh alright then, don't.) the lovely LPC of privilege recently furnished me with this award (see above), and i've been a little at a loss what to say actually, apart from thank you, whilst brushing tears away from a huge pink ralph lauren frock . oh no, that wasn't me. anyhoo.

LPC started blogging in february, like me. her first post concerned weddings, like me. but she wrote from a very different perspective, and whereas i droned on about some grey dress and awkwardness with my boyfriend in the transparently bitter code of [/spinst], LPC finished her first post like this-

"A key to dealing with the problem of eventual death is to find an ironic stance towards one’s identity, while still embracing all the acts and experiences that create that identity. Embracing them over and over and over again. While irony gives distance, embrace brings immediacy. In an immediate moment, who can worry so much about eventual death? "

LPC writes with honesty, humility and insight, and a stark, evocative elegance; she can be deep about the superficial, and after lurking for a while this prompted me to comment. she recently posted on taste and had me thinking analytically about my bathroom mirror for two days. it's all really very good.

so yeah. chuffed.


any given wednesday

ohmygodiamjustsoridiculouslytired. how is it just a wednesday at the beginning of may rather than a friday at THE END OF ALL TIME. i ask you.

several people asked me this afternoon in the playground- as i attempted to herd my silverfish-ish children in the general direction of home- if i was okay. this is unusual, (but i suspect that by this point i had actual steam actually coming out of my actual ears) and i responded, "i will be by the time i have a glass of wine". and this was heartily endorsed. at 3pm. by a largely middle class, and by that i mean guardian reading, and by that i mean child-led child-rearing of the home-knitted-hummous sort, test audience.

just like occasional fried egg sandwich dinners and having a world view shaped entirely by vogue and charlie brooker columns, the occasional glass of wine at hometime is something that i make absolutely no apology for. yeah- i said it. in fact, i'll go so far as to say a glass of wine, on occasion, makes me into a better parent (see also- girlfriend, friend, daughter, cook, psychic, international ambassador, and ninja assassin. oh. i've said too much.) in this afternoon's case, it allowed me to sit and do my daughter's spellings with her, rather than taking off down the street babbling snippets of dialogue from footloose to myself before assuming the foetal position in a lift in the house of fraser, rocking. i just have to watch that it doesn't become the occasional therapeutic can of special brew. at the school gates. seriously.

in other news, i had an incisor crown fitted today at the end of a fairly epic post childbearing course of dental treatment which is just frigging amazing. i can't stop looking at it. somebody there wasn't drinking on the job.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

just a canada dry, thankyou, dear

my grandmother is a legend.

born in colonial south africa as one of the very few english children in a largely afrikaaner community, she met my grandfather during the war when he was stationed out there with the RAF. after the war, she relocated to england with the rest of her family, mainly so that her sister, my great aunt, could pursue her ballet career.

my grandmother became the family's sole breadwinner for a while, and reestablished contact with my grampa. they were married soon after. from a farming background, he said he chose her for her incredible genetic stock and finely turned ankles. he sent her some money for her engagement ring, which she bought in south africa (of course) and sent him the exact change. she looked for all the world like jane russell... and actually she still does, but still with naturally dark hair and no scary face lift.

a champion of the pussy bow and never known to leave the house without lipstick or chanel no. 19, my grandmother exemplifies that adage "strong words, softly spoken"- her approval is everything to all seven of her grandchildren. all of us lived under her and grampa's roof at various times, and she has never been anything less than lovingly consistent and outrageously generous. nana's gravy is painstakingly replicated every sunday at my house; her bread sauce perfection continues to elude me. life has thrown her some curveballs in the lifestyles and predicaments of her children and grandchildren, but she has always graciously rolled with the punches, bolted to the ground with that incredible smile. when my grandfather sadly passed away on the side of a mountain in 2002, she put him into the recovery position and calmly called the air ambulance from the mobile phone i had taught her to use not a month previously. it was like he knew, but that is another story. i wrote to her, thanking her, and him, for showing me an example that made marriage look like a viable life option. my daughter was born the following year. my children adore her, and i love her very much.

it his her birthday today. may there be many happy returns, nana.


Monday, 4 May 2009

the windmills of my mind

1. triskaidekaphilia (as always.)

2. redecorating (as always.)

3. is it really acceptable to wear a navy v-neck cashmere blend jumper/ t-rex t-shirt with navy skinny jeans and ballet flats practically every time you leave the house now? because that is what is happening, madam.

4. swine flu has made it to gloucestershire. if it comes to it, i am *totally* drawing handlebar moustaches on the children's surgical masks.

5. i need to get better at working alcohol into my food budget. how many calories are in tequila?

6. i'm growing my hair back. it turns out i am not, actually, amelie.

7. has rudy got socks for tomorrow? where are all rudy's socks? (as always.)

8. tomorrow, my love, we sow a meadow.

9. a waitress asked me if i was, "like, actually dairy intolerant" the other day after i ordered my soy latte, and i almost felt justified in answering "yes- if i have it now i get really disgusting spots and this rash all over my chest and OMG the MUCUS," but that sounded a little diva-ish so i just said "nah. just faddy."

10. i recently pruned my satellite tv subscription right back and this weekend it has been nigh-on impossible to find a film to watch that didn't have jim carey in it. jenny mccarthy has ruined eternal sunshine of the spotless mind for me, and she's not even in it.


Sunday, 3 May 2009

may day/ pink boots

yesterday, i went boots shopping with my little girl.

we went to the uk's most prolific purveyor of sensible shoes, which, as usual for a saturday, resembled the dunkirk landings. my sister came along for moral support and to periodically say to me, in a low voice, "we are going to starbucks after this kafka-esque nightmare, aren't we. tell me we are, or i might have to run screaming from the mall right now, possibly kicking that woman in the temple on my way. who wears capri length khakis, really. jesus."

once we were eventually served, the boot choosing process was a cinch (which colour do you like? pink. sold.) we three trudged back to the car bearing our frappucinos and something of a thousand yard stare and arrived home to some great news. two of our cousins have managed to knock up their respective wifes/ girlfriends at the same time and so we have two new babies arriving in the autumn. yay.

sitting in silence digesting this news, it occurred to me that two years ago one of these pairings were involved in the hunt for madelaine mccann when she first went missing; they were living in that particular portugese resort at the time. when i saw them some months later, my cousin spoke to me with something approaching bitterness of the hoo-ha surrounding her tragic disappearance, obviously coloured by the complex and yet by that time prevalent anti kate and gerry mccann feeling in praia da luz.

i hope that the happy news my cousin has shared this weekend helps him to develop something of an understanding as to why the mccanns acted the way that they did, and why they continue to hope that their little girl is still out there somewhere.

watching my poppy play football at his wedding in her flower girl dress certainly did it for me. she can have all the pink boots and mango frappucinos in the world. (caveats apply.)

huge congratulations and lashings of preparation h to both couples.


Monday, 27 April 2009


i've lost funny.

i just don't feel like talking to anyone. i seem to have turned into ally sheedy circa the breakfast club era, minus the dandruff and emilio estevez. about a nano second after this occurred to me, a further astonishing revellation dawned- i never really stopped being ally sheedy circa the breakfast club era. i just developed a fear of the silence. gasp. quick- everybody draw a jesus and mary chain logo on their army surplus bag and suppress that buzz of self knowledge.

you see, lest anyone be thoroughly mislead by my earlier posts on shoes and jackets and bewildering working knowledge of the turn-up, i would like to point out that i have never, ever been cool. if i have had momentary flirtations with popularity, they have been sparse and strictly contextual. some people are good at making people want to be around them. i, she said, poking her head out of a georgian handkerchief archive, don't seem to be that bothered.

but this weekend my jock boyfriend built me an actual path, so i suppose every dog gets its day.


Friday, 24 April 2009


i've been walking around with my head in fog for the last couple of days, stuttering, stumbling, and generally avoiding contact. i spent a good two hours in hobbycraft deciding between 4 shades of red DMC embroidery floss. i went with 666 in the end. distracted and foetal whenever possible generally means that i'm processing something.

on tuesday it was formally recognised, if not diagnosised, that my son displays many of the behaviours associated with asperger's syndrome. i came to terms with this quite a few months ago, shortly after his dx of dyspraxia, so that isn't really what's been eating me. what is, is the fact that the doctor mentioned that he felt that my son's symptoms could be exaccerbated by his home environment. i don't think rudy behaves differently than he does at nursery, and, if i may quote myself from the comments section *points down* in response to laura..,

"what i inferred from what the doctor said was that my background and our inherant family culture... may be informing rudy's habits. he has... license to "geek out" (not my phrase) and his myriad quirks are quite normal to [me]."

articulating that has been cathartic. i suppose in some way i have been concerned that i am in some way "enabling" him; but that's ridiculous, and presupposes that something is "wrong" in the first place. i am concerned, as with my daughter, that any future unhappiness my son may encounter will be in some way my responsibility. but maybe that shows a naive approach to parenting. in tuesday's post i reproduced a quote concerning 'asperger's as lifestyle' in which a 'real napoleon dynamite' reacts angrily to the labelling of his way of life as an illness. i don't really do outrage, but i can relate.