Thursday, 20 March 2008

Nature Notes

It is strange how the daffodils are opening and the snowdrops still hold their dainty heads high. Normally they are all done by early February. This winter has not been particularly harsh i.e. little snow (sadly, it has diminished every year of the five that I have lived here). To date we’ve had but two dustings (despite unusually good snowfalls in Scotland) and none of those have fallen before Christmas (we have had falls in November and December every year but this one). So although not a really harsh winter, perhaps it is the fact that it has been rather a long one that makes those snowdrops linger…

The rabbits continue to suffer. While out walking the other weekend, I came across the tiniest little brown lump on the path in front of me. Huffing and puffing, barely 2 inches long. I’ve never seen such a tiny rabbit. Clearly not well, with a dead sibling beside it. I wanted to scoop it up and take it home with me, but knew it would serve no purpose. Earlier Today I passed an adult one hunched up by the side of the lane. When I came back down the lane this evening a friend’s dog had it in her mouth, clearly feeling rather chuffed with itself for having ‘caught’ it – but I knew she was cheating. Momentary confusion while E thought I’d said my friend had the rabbit in her mouth. No dear, the dog. Still, conjures up a lovely image…

Talking of dogs, I have become a sheepdog in recent days. L was reduced to asking, with suitably furrowed brow, as two sheep and five chickens ambled about the lawns: ‘why has our garden become a farmyard?’ Indeed. I found it quite amusing until I saw they’d been munching my tulips. I now find myself almost daily shooting out of the back door with much screeching and clapping of hands till the little buggers bugger off back to the field from whence they came. Who said sheep were stupid, eh? Let alone the chickens…

Saw my first blossom tree the other day. That one snuck up on me. Others will surely follow. Is it really spring? Snow was forecast for the weekend, but I will believe it when I see it. I’ve just checked the internet and it seems that it has already turned to the usual rain…

Anyway, I shall not be here. I leave on Good Friday, after the village Easter Egg Hunt, for the softer climes of Sussex. And from thence to France – where rain is also forecast. Never mind, it will be good to have another taste of a country which is my second home. Last time we were there was Christmas. It seems a lifetime ago….

Happy Easter to you all.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Off With Their Heads!

Friday 7th March

I’m ashamed to say I lost it last night. No, no, not my virginity. Long gone that. Obviously – I have three children. No, I lost my self-control. I sat on the loo (seat down) and shouted, screamed and sobbed while three girls looked on in wide-eyed bewilderment from the bath, blue bath caps askew. They thought it best to get on and wash themselves, like Mummy had asked a hundred times, and stay schtumm. Good decision on their part.

I was a little tired, this is true. Exhausted, in fact. My youngest had just had an equal over-tired tantrum and now it was my turn. All I wanted was my children to have a bath and go to bed. I would have given my right arm to do the same. N was away for the night. It should have been so simple. But no, I had a list as long as my (right) arm to get through before I could even THINK about resting my weary head. Let’s have a quick look:-

1. Tidy up supper

2. Get costumes together and bagged up for E and G’s Book Week finale – E to be an old-fashioned Alice in Wonderland (not the Disney one), G to be Wendy from Peter Pan

3. Decide whether or not to volunteer to drive half an hour over to big girls’ school tomorrow to read to class for 10 minutes for final day of Book Week (nice idea, but my God, the effort, the inefficient use of time, petrol etc etc; but my God, the guilt if I don’t and G really wants me to read Alice…)

4. Decide whether or not to volunteer to man one of the blessed Book Week book stands for an hour at lunchtime (pleading letter received for this to)

5. Dig out old duvet cover from rag cupboard and examine for potential as toga for E’s imminent Roman Banquet day at school (more alarming guilt – were given elaborate and detailed notes some weeks ago as to the creation of togas/pallas/stollas; what shoes the Romans wore; make-up and jewellery; together with a notice that we also have to provide suitably Roman food, for God’s sake!!)(this follows hot on the heels of the recent Hindu feast where poppadums were duly donated)(do they ever do any good old-fashioned WORK at this school??)

6. Finish sewing on Brownie ‘Home Skills’ badge (left half-finished and abandoned on kitchen window-sill last night) for E (come to think of it, shouldn’t SHE have been doing that? Surely sewing is part of ‘Home Skills’?)

7. Sew on A.N Other Brownie badge for G

8. Find Brownie Easter Sale mini-poster for car buried in some pile somewhere and stick in car window (huge guilt factor on this one as see Tawny Owl every day at bus stop with my blank-windowed vehicle)

9. Weekend Birthday Parties – make list of presents still need to buy for children not even met; logistics and phone-calls around drop-off and collection of G to riding party on Saturday so that the lunch we’ve been invited to is not completely ruined by playing taxis to the godforsaken nether regions of deepest Staffordshire

10. Logistics and phone-calls around drop off and collection for birthday lunch all 3 girls been invited to on Sunday so that I can cook lunch and enjoy company of my own brother instead of playing taxis again

11. Text brother re arrangements for his visit (complicated by lunch on Saturday)

12. Pack bag for L who’s invited to a birthday sleepover on Friday

13. Wrap presents for sleepover birthday child and get girls to write card

14. Make up spare room bed for brother

15. Decide what to cook for Sunday lunch and make shopping list for tomorrow

16. Unpack shopping from today

17. Finish letter to friends who’ve recently lost their 9 year old son to a brain tumour

18. Email friend in France with dates for potential visit (been trying to organise this since last October)

19. Email friend in London with dates for potential visit up here (dependent on previous item)

20. Phone/email L’s godmother in London re potential (and first ever) visit up here (been trying to organise for 5 years now)

21. Respond to Dad’s email re arrangements for 80th birthday / 50th wedding anniversary (theirs, not mine – tho feels like mine sometimes)

22. Check all other emails

23. Phone friend re a rearranged lunch date which has gone wrong again (been trying to organise this for two weeks)

24. Phone friend to confirm she can pick L up from school next week while I attend E and G’s parents consultation

25. Text babysitter for tomorrow to confirm time

26. Write blog (would be nice if I could find the time)

27. Empty dishwasher

28. Iron shirt for N

29. Fill in the girls homework diaries and reading records

30. Read other people’s blogs (would be nice if I could find the time)

31. Watch Ashes to Ashes (need a laugh)

32. Put another wash in (run out of school shirts/tights/knickers)

33. Wait for wash to finish so can put in dryer ready for tomorrow (so kids don’t go knicker-less to school and without a shirt on their back)

34. Get girls to bed cos they’re all knackered and big weekend ahead (cue images of nightmare 2 days with testy, scratchy, tearful, argumentative, pasty-faced children – let alone me)

35. Get to bed in good time cos N away and good, rare, chance to bank early Zzzz’s

Some hope! I was still up at 1 o’clock in the morning gibbering around the place, dragging my weary corpse from laundry room to kitchen and back again while reciting passages from Lewis Carroll’s mad world of bewildered small girls and bonkers bellowing Queens where the battle between nonsense and logic rages on every page. Really, now, how very appropriate! I think I shall go and read to the class after all…

‘ “Now I give you fair warning,” shouted the Queen, stamping on the ground as she spoke, “either you or your head must be off, and that in about half not time! Take your choice!” ’
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Chpt 8
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