Monday, 29 March 2010

And it's a holiday at last (and about bleedin' time too)


We depart shortly to warmer shores for a two-week sojourn elsewhere.

Where, I hear you say? Oh, you know, somewhere exotic. Different. First time for LCM and the troops. Chance to explore a new country and culture. Enjoy a break away after the very looooooooong dreary winter that has enveloped us since - let me think - mid 2008?

"You must have money to burn", was one (slightly sarcastic) comment thrown my way (by my mother, told you we were alike).

"No," I replied, "I have been saving my pennies and feeding the children on stale bread and tap water for the last six months." It's amazing they still look so healthy.

Speaking of which, the children are very excited. And can you guess what about (aside from the plane trip of course and watching their own individual TVs undisturbed for hours without reprimand from their parents who will be grateful to get some shut-eye)?

Not the location.
Not the climate.
Not the food.
Not the friends who will be there as well.
Not even the beaches.

No. They are most excited about the animals that reside at the venue we are due to stay at during the second week. A dog, two rabbits, chickens, and no doubt a spare cat and some tweetie birds thrown in for good measure.

Could have opted for a prolonged trip to the zoo had I known in advance.

Instead we are going further afield.

To Brazil.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Gallery time again - make mine a double

Typical! Just when I finally get round to locating a suitable photo for Tara's weekly photo gallery, she launches the next one.

So bear with me as I am going to do a two-in-one (and yes I know that's not the rules, but rules are made to be bent although don't tell the children I said that).

To catch up on last week's topic: me.

You can pretty much guess what is going on here but it encapsulates my life at present: surfing the waves, keeping my head above water and somehow chasing after the kids. The arms belong to another (male) friend by the way but pretty much represent how everything goes in different directions. A bit like herding cats really, as my former rowing coach used to say (about the women's squad).

Now, for this week. Much like other mummy bloggers I am reluctant to post identifiable photos of friends and family on the blog. The exception is when I can a) disguise the participants to my satisfaction, or b) be comfortable that sufficient time has passed to ensure they are not 'current' and thus recognisable. Failing that I just tamper with them.
The same is applicable to my home and surroundings which, much as I would love to share, I am just not comfortable with.

Hence my version of 'Outside my front door':

Pretty obviously not my true front door, but hey, you can but dream. (And that's Mr Man and Blossom btw, suitably disguised just in case they have any fancy ideas about marrying into the Royal family in the distant future).

Friday, 19 March 2010

LCM goes for a pedicure... Vietnamese style

Warning: If you are in any way going to be offended by (possibly) non-PC sarcasm, then bog off.

Otherwise read out loud for best sound effects.

LCM (walking in to salon) - I'd like a pedicure please

Salon Nail Technician #1 - cundoowunerti (yells something unintelligible to another person located downstairs)

LCM - Oh. Okay I'll come back (starts walking out the door)

SNT #1 - no sukay tukasi

LCM reverses and sits down

SNT #2 - chiusakalah

LCM wanders over to vast wall of nail varnishes and selects a very bold deep red

SNT #1 - yugodunsteh

LCM obligingly descends into the basement salon area

SNT #3 (pointing) - sideh

LCM takes off shoes, sits in pedicure spa chair and puts feet in hot boiling water. Withdraws them immediately.

SNT #3 - wadatuot?

LCM (wincing) - Er, yes, a bit (a lot actually)

SNT #3 (adjusting temperature) - triageh

LCM - Thanks, that's better.

SNT #3 (inspecting LCM's feet) - yuwankuh?

LCM (slightly aghast, then comprehending) - Yes please

Brief interlude as LCM relaxes enough to read book.

SNT #3 (holding heel in hand) - yuwanbleh?

LCM - (WTF?) Sorry? Oh, yes thank you

A few minutes later...

SNT #3 - disyukalah?

LCM nods.

SNT #3 - yuafmuhnikuh?

LCM - Yes, I think I will actually

LCM proceeds to waddle upstairs with splayed toes in lurid blue separators and wearing fetching paper slippers that slide off feet at least opportune moments.  Has vision of falling and breaking other wrist due to inability to balance on own legs whilst totally sober. Unless you count the fumes from the acrylic nail counter.

SNT #3 - yuwansemkalahohan?

LCM - No, I'll go for natural thanks

Manicure duly takes place, albeit with somewhat awkward massage of right hand which will (still) not flex backwards meaning SNT #3 handles it like a marginally repulsive piece of meat.

SNT #3 (pointing, again) - stikemdeh

LCM puts nails under dryer. And waits. And waits. And waits.

Some 20 minutes later, SNT #2 returns and pulls out LCM's hands from dryer, flicks nails to check hardness of varnish.

SNT #2 - sukay yugonah

LCM (struggling to put on socks and shoes single-handed without risk of smudging) - Ok, thank you, see you again soon

SNT #1, #2 and #3 (in chorus) - sukayseeyulaydahnizewickend

Will I be going back?

Of course. I need to hone my interpretative skills.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Time to make my mark in The Gallery: Spring glory

Ok, I have capitulated and picked up the baton to join in Tara's wonderful weekly talent show of sorts.

Here's my contribution:

This was taken last year on the first May bank holiday in Kew Gardens. It was - from memory - the first decent long weekend in ages, in that it did not a) rain, b) blow a gale, or c) entail any trips in the car. 

The colours of the tulips contrasted with the pansies were just so intense. You didn't quite know whether to lie down from giddiness or comment about how clashing shades don't exactly make a bigger statement. We didn't though. Some types of ticking off you want to avoid in order to be eligible to return.

And yes, I know the top of the foreground is chopped off, but what would you expect from a (then) 4 year old photographer, my daughter? 

Pretty impressive, I think. I can also add that she has improved since.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Photo meme

Thanks to the lovely Kate who tagged me for this (and yes, you did it correctly).

I am being suitably diligent and following the instructions:

1. Open the first (oldest) photo folder in your computer library
2. Scroll to the 10th photo
3. Post the photo and the story behind it
4. Tag 5 or more people to continue the thread.

So, here goes.

May 2003, France. Rowing camp. 
Mr Man, aged 4 months, came along - as I did - almost by default as Other Half asked whether we would like to join the squad at its annual training camp (we met at a London rowing club, for those of you unfamiliar with the facts).
I thought it would be a 'nice break' from the new mum routine and that I might actually get in a paddle or two.

Oh no.

Mr Man was whisked off my hands by my coach, passed around other members of the club who took it in turns to look after him (conveniently passing the baby back to me only when he needed changing), and I ended up training in earnest once more.

Result? One very happy contented baby who gurgled and smiled at everyone and instantly became the club mascot. 
And one LCM who was fit enough to race at Women's Henley again in June.

And I now tag:


Thursday, 11 March 2010

Timely tribute to Mothers - gratitude tag

Another tag! Actually one that is most appropriate in light of Mother's Day on Sunday, and also as it originated with my lovely friend and former rowing crew partner at Bloomin Marvellous, with the initiative being picked up and passed on by Fraught Mummy.

My mother. Where to start? Basics first I guess.

She and I share the same birth date. This is probably appropriate as her youngest brother (she is the eldest of 4 children) 'failed' to arrive on her birthday all those years ago - he was a day early - and hence I was compensation for this timely error missed present.

The fact that we share a birthday means a number of things:
1. we are very alike in character (two Aries at loggerheads? If you believe in astrological characteristics you can picture the sparks), a fact not lost on my father who figures he got 'two for the price of one';
2. there is frequently a dilemma as to how/why/where we will be to celebrate important milestones (30, 40, 50, etc) and accompanying subtle recriminations if this is not achieved (I could write a book about this);
3. we think nothing of dropping everything and 'seizing the day' if the occasion merits it, and even if it doesn't.

Re the last point, let me give an example: for my mother's 60th I decided to fly out and pay her a surprise visit and join in the celebrations. I even convinced my brother to join me. The trip was for 4 days, including travel time.

To Australia.

It was what you would call a lightening visit. Fortunately my boss at the time was understanding and well versed in my impulsive ways.

When we rocked up at their house at 6am that morning, I suddenly had a thought that we should get the paramedics on standby, just in case the shock of seeing not one but both of us unannounced proved too much.
I needn't have worried. It was ear-to-ear smiles and then everything was about my mother fussing over us rather than vice-versa. The party almost faded into the background - the most important thing was for her to spend time with her children, savouring every minute of that short and very rushed break.

My mother has never said 'no'. Aside from that one time when I asked her to not tell my father that I had scraped the side off the car so I could attempt to have it fixed before they came home from holiday. She did tell him, but only after she had finished her shopping spree (priorities, see?).

My mother is full of life, a much loved and very loving individual. She gives without taking, does not bear grudges and is always there in times of need. She is always game for a laugh, is a fabulous cook, and when younger had the most beautiful auburn coloured hair I have ever known.

She dotes on her grandchildren and is generous to her friends. She drives my father up the wall but - by his own admission - his life would be exceedingly staid without her in it.

A fitting summary to this post would be the text message I got from her yesterday:
"After 26 years I am skiing again, not bad either!" (shortly backed up by one by my father who stated she had taken to it like a duck to water whilst he opted to walk to the top of the mountain and back).

To which I responded (sensibly):
"Just be careful, no jumps!"

Her reply?
"Of course. Jumps tomorrow."

Mum - I think you are one in a million and I love you.

And while I think of it - here's a piece of clip art to go with the tag.

Mother Duck.

And my nominees for posting about motherly gratitude are:
Ladybird World Mother
Gooner Jamie
and Kate

Over to you!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Wish you were here - postcards from the edge of sanity: Part Quatre

It has been a while since I wrote some of these, but inspired (again) by Fraught Mummy and taking my cue from the originator Kat, I think it is time for another round.


Dear Left Hand

Yeah, I know, you are over-worked and tired and cranky and pretty sick of that lazy good-for-nothing Right Hand taking time off.

So am I.

Get over it and think of the muscle tone you are building up.

Your Owner


Dear Ugg boot wearers,

'Boot' is a misnomer. They are indoor slippers for crying out loud. Yes, I hear you, "so comfortable, so warm, so whatever". They are revolting, regardless of who is wearing them. The clue is in the name, get it?

Please refrain from taking them outdoors, and above all, definitely definitely DO NOT wear them with your smart tailored suit. Honestly, all that hard work to climb up the corporate ladder and then you make yourselves look like a tarted up Mrs Mopp.

Thank you
Disgusted (not from) Tunbridge Wells

p.s. And if you still really insist, do us all a favour and pick your flaming feet up when you walk with the damned boots on.


Dear Mr Man

Just as well I enjoy rugby as standing in a wind chill factor of what felt like minus 10 today to watch you win your county festival shield for over three hours almost gave me serious sense of humour failure.

That and minding Blossom and Widget who were intent on getting about as muddy as you were despite not actually playing.

Love you loads. Brilliant tries.

Your very proud
Mother xx


Dear Walter Salles Jr

What can I say? I just watched 'The Motorcycle Diaries' and loved it. Why it took me so long to get round to seeing this film is another story altogether, but never mind that, I finally did.

Thank you.


Dear Fellow Tube passengers

No, I do not have a prosthetic arm. I know it looks like that when I am wearing my extremely trendy spandex glove and splint during my travels, but it is actually to protect my broken wrist from all your jostling and pushing and shoving and barging for that spare place in the carriage.

So when I wiggle my fingers and you recoil in disgust, just remember to give up your seat to those who are more deserving.

Like the three different pregnant women I stood up for again last week.

Oh, and how did I break my wrist? A severe case of punching, since you ask.
(Never mind it was the ice who was the recipient).

Bon voyage!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

My war wound: 'tis but a scratch

Heartening words from a (male) friend when he asked how I was faring with the broken wrist and I sent him this in reply:

Of course, I could have been far more dramatic about it - a colleague just asked whether I had a photo of the actual break itself pre-cast/re-set/bandage/operation, and I ticked him off for not thinking about it himself as he was with me when it happened, but typical male priorities meant he went to get a drink to fortify himself instead of manning a camera... whilst I took my skates off, put my shoes on AND tied my laces. 

So yes, 'tis but a scratch I guess. Albeit a very stiff and slightly immobile one at that. 
Am quite a dab hand at putting on makeup with my left hand now though.

Yadda yadda yadda...