The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Monday, July 31, 2006

Absolutely Knackered

We got home from Scotland at 1.30am this morning, completely exhausted. Of course the kids are wide awake, as they slept there & back in the car, but I'm too tired to think straight, so as I got tagged by Vancouver Voyeur for this meme a few days ago, and in leiu of having the energy to write anything else, here it is:-)

5 things meme

5 Things always in my handbag: (very boring I'm afraid)

  1. Purse
  2. Mobile phone
  3. Keys
  4. pen
  5. tissues

5 Things always in my wallet:

  1. One or two coins - usually not enough to actually buy anything:-(
  2. Debit card
  3. Credit card - maxed out, but it looks like I have the ability to pay for things;-)
  4. Coupons, which I invariably forget to use
  5. Store cards

5 Things always in my closet:

  1. Suits, cos i don't get to wear them any more
  2. A couple of dresses that I am going to fit into again one day, honest
  3. Aggies tool box - mostly empty of tools!
  4. A door frame - not attached to the door/wall. It's been in there for nearly 4 years now though;-)
  5. My rucksack
5 Things always in my car:

  1. Rubbish - even immediately after I clear it out, how does that happen!
  2. Maps of places I'm not going to, but not of the place I am going too. grrrr
  3. A book or three;-)
  4. spare nappies & kids clothes.
  5. Wipes
5 Things always in my fridge
  1. Milk - full fat for the kids, and sometimes semi skimmed for aggie and/or skimmed for me, but not always.
  2. Cheese - life without cheese is just too sad to imagine. We cut it down years ago, but cut it out? never!
  3. Red peppers (capsicum) - the most versitile of veg, I throw it in to almost everything i make.
  4. Fruit juice
  5. Olive oil spread

5 Things always on my desk:

  1. Computer
  2. piles of paperwork
  3. bits of computer that may or may not be absolutely vital and I am scared to move out of my way - even when they've been there for months
  4. Stuff that we are supposed to be selling on ebay, but haven't gotten round to doing yet.
  5. empty pen boxes - I buy pens all the time & put them on the desk, but as soon as i turn my back, all the pens run away, leaving empty boxes behind to annoy me.
5 People to tag
If you want to do it, let me know & I'll link to you here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday 13 - 1370

We're off to Caerlaverock castle later today for another weekend in 1370, so here's a historical TT for your education;-)

Thirteen Things about 1370
  1. King Edward III was king of England in 1370. He was monarch for 50 years, from 1327-1377. His rule was dominated by war, mostly with France (the 100 years war) although Scotland, Wales and Ireland were all invaded and (partially) annexed too. Although history credits him with being a great military tactician, his early reign was dominated by defeats, and the decisive victories were mostly won by his son, Edward the black Prince. He had 12 children, 9 of whom lived to adulthood, which was pretty amazing for the time. His heir, Edward died of syphillis a few years before his father. In 1370, both father and son were becomming erratic.

  2. English was the official language of England in 1370, replacing French in 1363 (French had replaced English in 1066, when the Norman William (the Conquerer) became King.

  3. The country had survuved three major outbreaks of plague, and the population was approximately 50% of what it had been 100 years previously

  4. This caused a radical upheaval of the feudal system as serfs and peasants became a rare commodity able to command high wages and favourable working conditions. By 1370 laws had been passed regarding maximum wages, and enforcing work. This ultimately would lead to the peasants revolt in 1381.

  5. The basic principles of much of our legal and social systems were put in place during this time, as the middle classes became more prosperous. By 1370 there were two houses of parliament, formal courts and judges.

  6. John of Gaunt was probably the most powerful man in the nation, having managed the country while Edward was off warring, and having both the power and money to influence policy. The company we portray are retained by John of Gaunt.

  7. Chaucer was just starting his career. He was also retained by John of Gaunt, and one of his earliest poems was written on the death of John's wife.

  8. Pope Urban III died. England was still a fully catholic country in 1370, although there were some movements away from the formalised church & papacy starting.

  9. Chivalry was the order of the day in 1370, as Edward III encouraged the chivalric code, patronised jousts and tournaments, and started the Order of the Garter.

  10. Knights stillcrode to war on their horses (although they rarely fought on them) and wore plate armour, but were rapidly being replaced as the best fighters by pike or billmen. the bill is a long pole with a blade on the end (often adapted from farm implements) weilded by a trained block of soldiers.

  11. Although cannon and muskets were in use in 1370, they were unreliable, dangerous, slow and inaccurate. the Longbow was still the most effective weapon in most situations, and the crossbow was considered to be the immoral weapon of the time.

  12. The Stewart line was just starting to take control of Scotland in 1370, seizing the throne in 1371, and keeping it for the next 400 years or so (eventually James Stuart of Scotland inherited the English throne in 1603 and united the two nations in 1707).

  13. Caerlaverock castle was an important stronghold during the early 14th centurary wars against Edward I. The unusual triangular shape of this small castle made it particularly difficult to assault. The castle is mostly still standing, and should be a good place for a re-enactment - even if we do have to lose;-)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Health of the Nation

Tony Blair thinks we all have to take more responsibility for our own health to relieve pressure on the NHS. As the article says, the NHS is under increasing financial pressure, despite the fact that the labour government has pumped money into it to bring it back up to standard after years of tory neglect. The problem is, that more money is never enough, as more people require more & more expensive treatments, for more ailments and for longer lives.

When the NHS was set up after the war, it was designed to treat inuries and curable illnesses. Nowadays, with higher life expectancies, more treatments to manage illnesses and genetic conditions, and an aging and less healthy population, it has grown into an all-encompasing service.

With a mother & sister employed by the NHS, a diabetic & psoriaritic husband & a BiL with CF, the NHS is something I regularly come into contact with. I am completely in favour of it, and of the budget it takes up. Howver, I do think that we need to re-evaluate what healthcare consists of if we are going to sustain the institution.

I was discussing this with a member of our group who is an A&E consultant. He said that part of the problem is that Dr's have convinced the world that they can cure/treat everything, so patients are always expecting their Dr's to give them something, and if that something doesn't work, to give them something else. Sometimes, there really is nothing medical science can do, but we are spending fortunes on drugs that are probably basically placebo's.

I have long thought that one of the problems with modern life is the belief that we should all feel perfect all the time. Life isn't like that. things hurt. Bits of you go wrong. Occasionally we get sick. In most cases, it's nothing other than life. I hear it all the time from friends "I just feel so tired all the time. There must be something wrong. the Dr has checked for anaemia, and thyroid, and ME, and GF, but they all came back negative, but it must be something, so I'm asking for a scan, and X drugs, and a second opinion, and..., and....." Maybe, just maybe, you are tired because you don't get enough sleep! How many £billions are wasted doing pointless tests & giving out unecessary drugs?

Of course, the vast majority of all hospital beds in the country are taken up by people who shouldn't be there. Ask any hospital manager what the problem is & they will tell you about bed-blockers. Usually old people who are unable to care for themselves. Most require some medical intervention to keep them alive, some just need to be fed, cleaned etc. I am a strong supporter of euthenasia. Many of these people are literally being kept alive just because we can, not because it is good for anyone, including them. If you can not move, can not communicate, can not eat, and can not interact with the world in any way, what is the point of staying alive? Would YOU want to be stuck behind your own eyes, staring at a ceiling for 5 or 6 years? Even if inside your brain is working (which is unlikely in many cases)? these people are not going to get any better. Even if we have some amazing medical breakthroughs, so why waste time, money & beds, as well as emotional stress? I'm all for safeguards, but it absolutely should be posible to treat our parents as well as we treat our pets, and offer them peace when/if the time comes.

Also, as those of you you have read my utopian world posts know, I do not believe the NHS should pay for medical "lifestyle choices". These include plastic surgery for non-physical reasons (however much your 14 year old's small breasts are depressing her!), tattoo removal (even if you were stupid enough to have one on your face!), gender re-assignment (we're all trapped in bodies that are not how we imagine them), or IVF (it's not your RIGHT to have biological children.). Accept your life as it is, or pay for it to be done privately. And yes, that leads to differences in lifestyle for rich and poor. I kind of think there are a few other differences already though!

Finally, stffing is a real issue. Like all big institutions, an enormous % of all funds go on salaries. Current policy for dealing with this is to sack as many as possible & not recruit for empty posts. this just leads to staff shortages, which lead to stress & low morale, which lead to resignations & more staff shortages, which lead to stress & sickness, leading to staff shortages, leading to more sickness etc etc etc. "Stress has become one of the biggest causes of staff sickness and costs the NHS (£400-£500million) every year." It is cheaper in the long term to have a fully staffed, well motivated workforce, than to pay out fortunes in sickness, early retirement & recruitment costs. Although I am sure there is scope for cutting some of the managers;-) I do believe good management is key to cost savings too.

On the plus side, for patients there is absolutely no doubt that the NHS has massively improved over the past decade or so. Both in what is available and in the attitude of the Dr's;-) I remember taking an 8 year old child to casualty with an impact to the head & complaining of neck pain, and waiting on foot (not enough chairs, no beds) for 12 hours to be seen. i remember phoning an ambulance and being put on hold (honestly). i remember phoning my GP for an emergency appointement and being told that the first one available was 3 weeks away. None of that would ever happen today! Patient satisfaction levels are rising across the country, and waiting times are falling.

We have one of the most cost effective healthcare systems in Europe (read the whole article, fascinating!) costing approx. £750 per person per year. Compare that to say, Germany at £1286, or the USA ($6280)!!! We also beat the USA on infant mortality rates, and life expectancy! so much for the costs of socialised medicine!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Just the girls

I had the car today as Aggie had meeting somewhere or other so had a hire car to get there, so we went off to visit Nanny A. We were going to play in Keynsham Park, a few miles from her house, but TBH, it was just too hot! So we played with water in her garden instead:-)

She decided to steal Mstr A for the night, so when we came home mid afternoon, it was just me & the girls. It's very quiet without Mstr A;-) I'm not quite sure what to do with myself! She'll bring him back in the morning though, so I've kept the girls up an extra half hour in the hope that I might get some sort of lie-in in the morning. Not likely I know, but one can dream.....

The house is pretty disgusting right now, so I'm going to have to spend the morning clearing up a bit, then I'm hoping to get a job application written before the little ball of energy & questions reappears. The job is probably a bit out of my league as a return-to-worker, but there are two posts going, so i can hope that there are not that many good applicants locally:-)

Pretty much a nothing happened type of day really. Life's like that sometimes.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Happy Holidays

The summer holidays are here - Mstr A now has 6 weeks at home - help!!

Actually, he was ever so well behaved today, coming along to playgroup and playing quietly & safely while there, then wandering round town with us without once getting lost, or shouting. We stopped off for lunch, and even though they didn't have a ny of the promised pasts, he ordered and ate everything properly & without annoying the other diners. In fact, one couple came over and complimented the kids on being so well behaved! He even came home when he was told to, without arguing! Here's hoping it continues:-)

We haven't got lots planned for the holidays, just whatever takes our fancy on a day by day basis. Weston town council are running play days in the parks and on the beach, so we'll go to a few of those (they're free, which is even better), and we're going up to London for a week, but mostly i'll see what we all feel like & can afford. money is particularly tight atm, so I'm going to try to keep to a budget each week. I'm also going to start looking for a decent job now the kids are getting older, as Aggie has agreed to look into working flexi-hours or even dropping a few hours to help with childcare if i get my career moving again. I'm not sure how long it will take, as I still want something local, and something that pays reasonably, but we'll see what turns up.

Sadly i failed miserably at remembering to take any photo's while we were at Berkeley - although plenty of other people did, as we got to wander around as a whole family for once (usually one or the other of us is too busy to do so). I'll keep an eye out for any that turn up online and post them. CQ, CK & RCA came visiting us while we were there, so maybe they'll post something? We all had a lovely time there anyway, although there was so much going on we hardly saw a quarter of it all, and we didn't have loads of public coming to see us, as our group was hidden away at the far end of the field, and most punters didn't make it much past the castle & eventing field. My cooking was appreciated by the members of the group who partook, which was nice, but I'm glad I don't have to do it every event:-) The new bed was FANTASTIC! A quantum leap in sleeping, as Aggie put it on Saturday morning.

It's only a couple of days until we're off to Caerlaverock in Scotland anyway, so I'll try to rememebr to take photo's then & post them. It was too hot at Berkeley to wear all our nice stuff - well that's my excuse & I'm sticking to it!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Off on a jolly

We're off to Berkeley Joust today. It's an enormous medieval festival, comprising a few dozen re-enactment groups, displays, markets, the medieval baebes in concert, educational stuff and just loads of fun things. We're there in an unofficial capacity so are not programmed in to anything in particular, so just get to have a jolly:-)

We've been before and it's a great event - both to participate in, to meet new people and as a visitor - but it costs a lot of money for a ticker, so being a participant is definately the best way to do it;-)

It's also a nice local event, just 45 mins or so up the motorway, so we always get plenty of family & friends visiting. Which is nice. Even better, as every trader who is worth his salt is there, we get to collect our medieval bed today (Yippee - no more sleeping on the floor of a single skin tent!), and Mstr A will pick up his new practise sword. Both were ordered some time ago, so it'll be good to actually get them!

Anyway, we'll be incommunicado till Monday, so photo's & update after the weekend.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday 13 - A working girl

Thirteen Things about Work!
  1. I've been working today:-)

  2. I was teaching a short first aid course to mothers on the local "dodgy" estate

  3. It was organised with less than a weeks notice by the college, despite the fact that they have apparently been working on getting a course for over two months

  4. The course was set up by sure start for mothers who have no qualifications or education - there are plenty of those around here

  5. Since before I moved here I have been warned about how terrible this estate is, how full of drug addicts & criminals (not like the East End of London where I grew up then!), how they are the worst elements of society "dumped" here years ago to get them out of Bristol

  6. They were all lovely people - intelligent, caring, hard-working, responsible mothers

  7. The most educated one of the 12 had 1 GCSE.

  8. They understood the course, asked pertinant questions, demonstrated good skills and related the practises to actual events.

  9. These are not the non-working classes that I grew up with - the ones who have no intention of ever getting a job & believe the world owes them a good life, house, holiday & childcare.

  10. all these mothers were working, or actively looking for work.

  11. For many of them, this is the first certificate they have ever recieved!

  12. The aim of Sure Start is to provide access to work & a way out of poverty for these families. This is a good aim, and appears to be working in many cases.

  13. But why is it necessary? Surely we are failing as a society by having to provide the education at that point in their lives - they should have recieved a decent education at compulsory school age.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Too hot for words

It's too hot for anything! Temperatures reached record levels (highest July since records began) yesterday, and today was hotter, with tomorrow forcast to be hotter still.

Nanny A put my hat in the laundry basket, and I haven't washed it yet, so managed to get mild heatstroke this afternoon:-(

We had to walk all the way to Mstr A's new school today, as he was having a trial day - meet his classmates this morning and his new teacher this afternoon. It went really well - when I arrived to pick him up the class was sitting outside (in the shade of a tree) having a story read to them. I watched for 15 mins, and the whole time he sat still, quiet and attentively! Normally he would just get up and wander off, so i was well impressed:-) But it was a 20-25 min walk there and back in the morning & there and back in the heat of the afternoon, pushing LMB & LMD in the pram, no shade to be found anywhere!

I'm going to spend the summer hols teaching Mstr A & LMB to ride their bikes so we can cycle each way come September - especially as I'll be doing the journey 6 times a day!

I'm working tomorrow, so trying to get all my equipment packed in the car - but it's too hot for lugging stuff around!

If this global warming lark continues, us Brits are going to have to invest in some AC & learn that 12pm-4pm should NOT be our busiest hours!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Life experiences meme

I got this one off Mary P, and thought it didn't look too difficult:-) You just bold the ones you have done:

  • 01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
  • 02. Swam with wild dolphins
  • 03. Climbed a mountain (only the easy ones in Wales though!)
  • 04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
  • 05. Been inside the Great Pyramid (no, much to my annoyance I've been there but couldn't afford to do more than look from a distance:-( )
  • 06. Held a tarantula
  • 07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
  • 08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
  • 09. Hugged a tree (only while drunk, but that counts doesn't ut?)
  • 10. Bungee jumped (way up there on my list of things to do)
  • 11. Visited Paris (it's over-rated you know - full of french people!)
  • 12. Watched a lightning storm at sea (watched from the land, but the storm was out at sea)
  • 13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
  • 14. Seen the Northern Lights
  • 15. Gone to a huge sports game
  • 16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
  • 17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables (does cress count? Oh, but i've done carrots too)
  • 18. Touched an iceberg
  • 19. Slept under the stars
  • 20. Changed a baby's diaper
  • 21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon (even higher up on my list of things to do)
  • 22. Watched a meteor shower
  • 23. Gotten drunk on champagne.
  • 24. Given more than you can afford to charity
  • 25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
  • 26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
  • 27. Had a food fight (I may have done as a child - but I can't rememebr ny incidents. Food was pretty precious during my childhood)
  • 28. Bet on a winning horse(I have never even been inside a bookies, or to a race track)
  • 29. Asked out a stranger
  • 30. Had a snowball fight
  • 31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
  • 32. Held a lamb
  • 33. Seen a total eclipse
  • 34. Ridden a roller coaster
  • 35. Hit a home run (in rounders, as a child)
  • 36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
  • 37. Adopted an accent for an entire day (I can't do accents.)
  • 38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
  • 39. Had two hard drives for your computer
  • 40. Visited all 50 states
  • 41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
  • 42. Had amazing friends
  • 43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
  • 44. Watched wild whales
  • 45. Stolen a sign
  • 46. Backpacked in Europe
  • 47. Taken a road-trip
  • 48. Gone rock climbing
  • 49. Midnight walk on the beach
  • 50. Gone sky diving (Above bungee jumping, below ballooning.)
  • 51. Visited Ireland
  • 52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love (I don't think so - I guess it depends on your definition of "heartbroken" & "in love" - I pined after lust-boy for longer than I went out with him)
  • 53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
  • 54. Visited Japan
  • 55. Milked a cow (Though like Mary, I've often expressed my own milk, and felt very much like a cow at the time...)
  • 56. Alphabetized your cds
  • 57. Pretended to be a superhero
  • 58. Sung karaoke
  • 59. Lounged around in bed all day
  • 60. Posed nude in front of strangers
  • 61. Gone scuba diving
  • 62. Kissed in the rain
  • 63. Played in the mud
  • 64. Played in the rain
  • 65. Gone to a drive-in theater
  • 66. Visited the Great Wall of China
  • 67. Started a business
  • 68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
  • 69. Toured ancient sites
  • 70. Taken a martial arts class
  • 71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight (once, and once only. God, that was boring!)
  • 72. Gotten married
  • 73. Been in a movie (unless home video counts?
  • 74. Crashed a party
  • 75. Gotten divorced
  • 76. Gone without food for 5 days (no, 3 days was my limit - I started to get all faint and had wobbly legs)
  • 77. Made cookies from scratch
  • 78. Won first prize in a costume contest (no, but I made the outfit Mstr A won with:-) )
  • 79. Ridden a gondola in Venice (been to venice, but no extortionate gondola ride)
  • 80. Gotten a tattoo
  • 81. Rafted the Snake River (where?)
  • 82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
  • 83. Got flowers for no reason
  • 84. Performed on stage (in school)
  • 85. Been to Las Vegas
  • 86. Recorded music
  • 87. Eaten shark
  • 88. Had a one-night stand
  • 89. Gone to Thailand
  • 90. Bought a house
  • 91. Been in a combat zone
  • 92. Buried one/both of your parents
  • 93. Been on a cruise ship
  • 94. Spoken more than one language fluently
  • 95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
  • 96. Raised children (well, to the grand old age of 5 so far LOL)
  • .97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
  • 98. Created and named your own constellation of stars (I have a vague memory of maybe doing this as a child? Not sure tho)
  • 99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
  • 100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
  • 101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
  • 102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking (it's the only place I'm allowed to sing!)
  • 103. Had plastic surgery (for medical reasons)
  • 104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
  • 105. Wrote articles for a large publication
  • 106. Lost over 100 pounds
  • 107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
  • 108. Piloted an airplane
  • 109. Petted a stingray
  • 110. Broken someone's heart ( don't think so, but I may have?)
  • 111. Helped an animal give birth
  • 112. Won money on a T.V. game show
  • 113. Broken a bone
  • 114. Gone on an African photo safari
  • 115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
  • 116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
  • 117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
  • 118. Ridden a horse
  • 119. Had major surgery
  • 120. Had a snake as a pet
  • 121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
  • 122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours (not that I can think of - I'll check with Aggie:-) )
  • 123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
  • 124. Visited all 7 continents
  • 125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
  • 126. Eaten kangaroo meat
  • 127. Eaten sushi
  • 128. Had your picture in the newspaper (once or twice *wink*)
  • 129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
  • 130. Gone back to school
  • 131. Parasailed
  • 132. Petted a cockroach
  • 133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
  • 134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
  • 135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
  • 136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
  • 137. Skipped all your school reunions (my school hasn't had any, but I've not been to any college ones either)
  • 138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
  • 139. Been elected to public office (does student union count?)
  • 140. Written your own computer language
  • 141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream (sad, innit?)
  • 142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
  • 143. Built your own PC from parts (that's what I have Aggie for)
  • 144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
  • 145. Had a booth at a street fair
  • 146: Dyed your hair
  • 147: Been a DJ
  • 148: Shaved your head
  • 149: Caused a car accident (not involving other cars)
  • 150: Saved someone's life (I was told the training I gave someone else saved someone later.........)

Not too bad, but still a lot of things to do:-)

As always, I won't tag anyone, but if you feel like doing it, let me know & I'll link to you here.

Other Life Experiences meme's:

Mary P Bill Nannyanya (Angela)


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sleepy Sunday

Well, we managed to get off to bed about 1am ish. LMB woke at 3am and 4.30. LMD woke at 1.30 and 5.30. So, not a lot of sleep really:-(

Aggie got up with the kids at 6am, & I had another hour in bed, but it's just no good when you can hear them all yelling downstairs!

He went back to bed for a couple of hours while I finished the gardening with the kids, then I went back to bed while he played with them, and that was the morning gone!

Then, after lunch, I put LMD down for her nap, snuggled on the sofa with LMB & we all slept while Aggie & Mstr A washed the car:-)

Oh well, sometimes it needed:-)

Actually, it's not been a particularly good few weeks for us - stress has built up about a number of things, so I ahve not been sleeping that well. Hopefully today will help.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A weekend off

I was supposed to be working in London this weekend, running a two day paeds 1st aid course, but not enough people booked in so it was cancelled:-( I'm a bit upset as a) loads of people asked me to put a course on, then no-one booked in! b) I really needed the money.

But on the plus side I've just been asked to rush through a short course next week, which will recoup approx 50% of the money I was hoping to make in London, pluc it's for the local college, so there might be more work come september.

And on the other hand, it will be nice to have a whole weekend at home.

I'm intending to:
  • tidy the house (yeah right) Done the downstairs (thanks Nanny A)
  • Hang a curtain in the spare room to make it into a room, rather than a large hallway.
  • Finish the bathroom floor (maybe even start the bathroom ceiling?)
  • Clear the garden of rubbish & take it down the tip Done
  • Clear the garden of overgrown plants Mostly done
  • Collect some outstanding parcels
  • Get Mstr A's hair cut Done
  • Buy LMB new shoes
  • Catch up on all the lundry & put it away
  • play with the kids in the garden Done
  • sew Mstr A some new hose
  • Sew myself a new dress
  • Make some roseries & jewellery ready for next weekend (I might do those in the week day evenings tho)
  • Have some friends over to play board games & get outrageously drunk Just starting:-)

As well as all my normal daily routine of looking after three kids!

No pressure then:-)

And Aggie has only just got out of bed @ 11am!

Friday, July 14, 2006

oops, mummy broke the baby:-(

It was a bad morning today. Mstr A wouldn't get up when I called him, so all our timings were a bitt off. We left for school a bit late, so I didn't bother with the pram, just hoiked LMD up on my shoulders, grabbed LMB's hand and told Mstr A to keep up.

He dawdled.

I strode off up the road, and yelled at him to keep up.

He stopped to examine a traffic cone at the side of the road.

I swung round to yell at him to keep up, he ran, LMB slipped, I reached down to grab her before she fell, LMD wriggled, Mstr A ran screaming into my legs, LMD fell off my shoulders to the pavement in front of me. I tried to grab her legs as she fell, succeeding in turning her completely upside down and watched in horror as she fell straight onto her forehead!

Everybody screamed.

I dropped LMB's hand (causing more screams) & picked up LMD. There was blood in her mouth & nose, and an enormous lump & graze on her forehead. But she was alive, awake & screaming - all good signs.

We continued to school in double quick time muttering recriminations. As Mstr A had been particularly horrible at school yesterday, I supervised him a he handed out his letters of apology, while cuddling a whiney LMD and telling LMB to stop moaning about her foot hurting! As soon as the whistle blew for school, I stomped back home as quickly as possible, while fending off many well-meaning parents checking on LMD.

By the time we got home, LMD was looking very woozy & didn't seem to be focusing properly, so I knew I was going have to take her to the hospital to be checked out. My first trip to casualty for any of my kids:-(

It took an hour for the bus to take us the 3-4 miles to the local hosptal. I could have walked it quicker!! (although LMB couldn't have). It wasn't helpedby the driver stopping at the first stop, getting out, locking the doors and walking off. No reason given, nothing said at all. There were seven of us, just trapped on the bus (the doors don't open from the inside, unless you use the emergency cord, which will get you a fine!) It was 15 mins before another driver wandered over, had a chat outside for a few minutes, then got in, and without a word, started off again! The bus was 7 mins late before we even started!

By the time we got there, LMD was looking just fine, and ran off to play with the toys! Obviously the triage nurse took one look at her & thought there was no need to rush. An hour later we see a dr, who tells me the signs & symptoms of concussion (although she did stop when I told her my job), checked LMD's eyes & ears while she screamed, and said theres nothing wrong now! Grrrrrr! Another hour's bus ride home, and that's the whole morning, and the last of my pennies for the month gone.

I could've avoided the whole thing if i'd just waited 30 mins - but because I don't have a car, i didn't want to leave it any longer than necessary. So now I no longer get to say I have never had to take my kids to A&E:-( And LMD has a doozy of a bump:-(

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday 13 - Megan's Law

Thirteen Reasons I don't want Megans' Law/Sarahs' Law in the UK

1. What’s the point? If I discover a paedophile is living down the road to me, should I say to my kids “now, that Mr Jones at number 38* is a bad man and you should never go into his house with him, but if anyone else invites you in or asks you to go for a ride in their car, that’s just hunky-dory & fine”,

2. How will it help? Knowing where they live will not change the fact that they live there, so in what way is it helpful to know?

3. Vigilantes. IMO vigilante action is always bad. IM experience vigilante action invariably happens when a sex offender is “outed”, or even suspected in a community. Teaching our kids that they can solve problems through violence will damage our society beyond imagining.

4. Loss of control. The known outcome of vigilante action (and Megan’s Law in general) is that it drives paedophiles underground. People who would have previously followed their parole orders strictly & reported to the police every day/week/whatever will disappear from the police radar. Currently the police can keep an eye on these people, and local schools/leisure centres etc are given their details if considered necessary. If they refuse to comply with the sex offenders register rules, the only way to find these people is after they re-offend.

5. Who & what will be available? Are we intending to publish the complete sex offenders register? Because it’s very long and contains people who have committed offences such as Rape (a 17 year old boy having consensual sex with his 17 year old girlfriend), Public Indecency (a married couple having sex in their local woods), Buggery (a 19 & 21 year old gay couple having sex in their own home) , Voyeurism (a 16 year old lad watching his next door neighbour get undressed) and Exposure (“mooning” out of a car window).** Or are we going to pick out particularly bad crimes? Which ones? Who decides? What if my child is attacked by someone on the register, but not listed publicly – can I sue?

6. House prices. Ok, it’s incredibly superficial, but in a country where most peoples quality of life is completely controlled by their house price, the public register is going to cause absolute havoc. 90%, 95% or even 100% mortgages are not uncommon. If your house price drops below your mortgage value the bank can foreclose & you will be homeless. If the register is published there is no doubt that nearby house prices will plummet. I remember the 80’s where 1000’s of people were made homeless each week. I know many of them who are only now just about getting their life sorted out 20 years later. And it will make the prices not only drop, but fluctuate wildly. If I decide to buy a new house next week, search the register for a good place and pay a premium to be safe, then a week after I move in, Mr Smith the nasty rapist is released from prison and moves in next door. I immediately lose £50,000 off my house value!

7. Getting it wrong. Remember when the News of The World first did their own little outing experiment? A well respected, committed & life-saving paediatrician was beaten & forced out of home because mobs are stupid. Another person was beaten & terrorised because they looked a bit like a paedophile and another because they shared a name! I don’t want my kids growing up in a society that supports such actions.

8. What the register doesn’t include. Like all these things, the register only tells you about people that have been caught, convicted & served a sentence for a crime. Not much help really for protecting yourself or your kids from the guy who scares his victims so much they never tell, or the one who has not offended before, or the one who has killed all of his previous victims and not been caught….

9. It’s pandering to a misconception. Namely, that strangers are bad & out to get you, and that the streets are not safe & violent sexual crimes are on the increase in our horrible modern world. ALL WRONG! The vast majority of sexual and violent crimes (especially against children) are committed within the family or by a family friend. The number of children snatched off the street at random by a paedophile has not changed at all since records began, remaining steady at 4 per year on average.

10. It misses too much out. Only people convicted since 1997 are on the register. Any offenders from prior to then will retain their anonymity.

11. It doesn’t solve the problem. We need to be looking at who becomes a sexual offender, and what warning signs are there BEFORE they offend, not get hung up on who has done something already. The register will create a false feeling of safety.

12. It demonizes the criminal. No, I’m not in favour of paedophilia, but nor do I feel that our current demonisation of anyone on the sex offenders register is a good thing. Many of those people live good, useful and socially responsible lives at the present. That will be denied them if the register became public – a loss for them, their family and society as a whole.

13. It makes a mockery of our justice system. Whatever happened to Justice is blind? Where will it stop? Why should it only be sex offenders that we know about? What about violent criminals? Burglars? Drug users? They are all dangers to my home & family’s safety and security. And when we have all those public registers available, who will be the first to say how complicated the whole process is, and why not do something more obvious – branding perhaps.

*This is a ficticious Mr Smith @ no.38. I have no idea who lives at no. 38 and am sure that all Mr Smith's are very nice men!

**All real cases

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happiness is....

a place called Vanuatu apparently. Well, wouldn't you be happy if you lived in a beautiful south pacific paradise island, working in a seasonal job, whiling away long summer evenings with your family by the sea?

It doesn't take a genius to work out that money doesn't buy happiness. Nor does technology, material goods, or even education. Happiness results from the the knowledge that your life and your family is safe (so no poverty, wars, major disease epidemics), the feeling that you are making a contribution to something bigger (be that children, society, science, God) and the knowledge that you have equal treatment to your peers.

It's the final one that buggers up Western societies, as we are taught that we are equal to everyone in the world, and therefore we feel that we deserve the same as everyone else we see - new cars, designer clothes, fancy holidays etc, but can not achieve the same level of cosumerism as the media is telling us we need to be happy.

the list shows that life expectancy and a feeling of belonging are the two most important factors to happiness. The western world has systematically been eradicating the second one for over half a century. The only thing they could do to make us less happy is go to war.

Oh. So they did.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Yay me! I've just finished my final essay for the law course I've been doing this year.

And the deadline isn't until Friday, so that's a first for me - usually I'd still be frantically scribbling at 3am on Friday morning for a 9am deadline!

Actually, i think the final essay is a pile of crap that will barely scrape na pass. But since I just need a pass to get a distinction overall (and therefore get out of one exam over the next two years if i continue with the course), I don't care. I'm sure that says something very profound about my personality.

Or maybe it just says that I'm lazy.

Or pragmatic - why do more than you have to?

Or perhaps just a bit pressed for time right now.

Anyway's. It's done. The course was interesting. Not too taxing, but a good re-introduction to the subject. 15 years is such a long time in law - especially considering almost every single statute commonly used has been rewritten since then, and our entry into the EU has wiped away most of our case law - and even our legal processes, not to mention the sweeping changes this government has made to the judiciary.... Still, much of it was common knowledge to me:-) I will probably go on to next years course, ahough it's a two year proper course, so I might have to actually work a bit harder:-) Although it's an exam only course, which will be better than essays and deadlines.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ancient Anglesey

We spent the weeked re-enacting at Beaumaris Castle in Anglesey. It was a good event - although a long way to go (about a 6 hour drive) so we left home on Friday morning & stayed an extra night, so we could drive home again today.

Angelsey is a fascinating place. Well, Wales as a whole is pretty good for re-enactors, or anyone interested in history. It was barely bombed during the war, so still has much of it's historical buildings standing, although mostly in ruins. Wales also has so very many castles, as it was conquered during the real castle building time, so they were slammed up all over the place as tracts of land were handed out to English (read French) nobles, who then had to subdue the local populous - usually by foce of arms.

Of course, Wales has a glorious history of it's own, long before the English turned up & annexed them. The famous English longbow was welsh (made from welsh trees, by welshmen, and used by welsh archers for most of the early medieval period). It's almost certain the welsh reached America long before Columbus, Cabot or even Erikson, but the Welsh prince Madoc several centuries earlier. It was also the home to the Druids - the religious/cultural order in Britain before the Romans came along. The druids sound like a fantastic order from the little we know (don't mistake the modern druids who caper around stonehenge once a year with the real, ancient druids who trained for 21 years before being allowed to be the lowest member of the order!). Certainly Britain was a nicer society under them than under the Romans. They were also one of the very few religious orders deliberately & sytematically wiped out by the Romans - we still don't know why. They were pushed further & further west, making their last stand on the island of anglesey, before being killed to a man.

But does anglesey capitalise on this history? Not at all. I did not see a single mention of the druids while there, and very little about their history. At least 95% of the visitors to the castle over the weekend were not welsh, and both times that we have re-enacted in Anglesey we have had the distinct impression that the locals were not very impressed with us being there!

Anyway, we had fun. The weather held out on Saturday, but then it remembered we were in Anglesey, so whipped up a howling gale & storm all night. LMD spent most of the time whinging, and every time I woke up, all I could hear was banging as other group members desperately tried to hammer their tent peg back in:-) Fortunately, Agie did a good job with ours, and we were fine, but one tent came down completely, and a few looked a lot worse for wear on sunday morning. The rain hung around most of Sunday, which put a bit of a downer on the event. Paired with the fact that the world cup final was on too, there were not many publc around:-( Still, there were enough to listen to my stories both days, and to buy a few roseries, which menat we made enough to cover our food for the weekend (not to cover the petrol costs or anything, but.....) Aggie screwed up the soap this weekend, so we don't have any more to bring home thankfully:-) add in the fact that the member of the group who didn't like children has decided to leave, we're feeling pretty happy with the way this new group is going. It's always hard when you start a new group as we try to find the right niche - especially as Aggie doesn't really fight any more, but I'm getting a good vibe about this one:-)

We've got next weekend off, so maybe I'll do some gardening or something.

or maybe I'll just sew some new re-enactment clothes for the kids:-)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happy Thursday Thirteen

Following last weeks miserable 13, I thought I'd go with a happy 13 this week........

Thirteen Things that have made me happy this week
  1. Mstr A has got a place at his new school starting in September. I'm feeling very relieved, both because I think it will be a much better environment for him, and because I am no longer battling my personal ethics every day. As LMB will be attending the adjoining pre-school every afternoon too, September is starting to look really good to me:-)

  2. Happy families - i am finally starting to see some pay-off for having three kids, as they spend more and more time playing together nicely & safely. They still need plenty of supervision, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. LMB is finally fully potty trained in the daytimes. In fact, she's toilet trained for poo's, and although she still prefers the potty for wee's, she goes there herself, empties it down the toilet herself, flushes & washes the potty herself. Lazy mummy, moi?

  4. LMD has finally discovered that speech is there as a communication aid & is using her words to make her wishes known. This makes for a happier baby and a happier mummy.
  5. Nanny A took the girls out for the day yesterday so i could get my essays written (well, I've only got one left now anyway), and they came back with a new pair of sandals each. As a school freind gave me two binbags full of clothes a couple of months ago, I should be able to make it through to autumn without buying anything other than underwear for my kids now:-)

  6. I finally made the appointment with my Dr to have my coil removed. I hate it & it has turned me into a moody, stroppy, tired, uncomfortable & depressed person.

  7. I boked my train tickets to London to stay with my mother in august (yuk). A single for me & the three kids came to just £16.50. I was pleasently shocked. (the most expensive ticket offered for the same journey was £175)

  8. Aggies boss got offered a new job. this will hopefully give Aggie a chance to "act up" for a while (with pay) and maybe even take the role on permently when they advertise it.

  9. We've been spending hours looking at holiday brochures, trying to work out where we might be able to afford to go on our tesco vouchers next year. I know most of the destinations are beyond us, but it's nice to think about what might be.

  10. Aggie has finally sealed the bathroom floor. I am going to lay the tiles now & have our bathroom back in use by next week............... just the ceiling to do now;-)

  11. Mstr A won the fancy dress competition at his school fete on saturday. he went in his re-enactmet gear as Medieval Mstr A, but still, it's the first time his ever agreed to wear fancy dress at all, and he was well impressed by winning.

  12. We had friends round for alcohol and board games on saturday. I got drunk & stayed up chatting until 2am. I almost felt like a person again:-) although when i had to get up with the kids at 6am I didn't feel tip top:-)

  13. We tidied up the (downstairs of the) house ready for our night of drunken revelry, and it's still tidy! I like having a tidy house, and we've had space to do all sorts of fun thing that I don't usually manage.
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hot damn!

It's hot. Very hot. Actually it's HO-HO-HOT.

Like typical brits, this means we are all miserable. Obviously we would be miserable it it was cold too. Or wet. Or windy. Or overcast.........

It's also been hot for three whole days now. Yep, that's right, three days of temperatures above 30*(Celsius).

Therefore, like proper brits we can not cope. Hospitals have been put on alert, expecting hoards of burned/dehydrated idiots. The news has been telling us to stay indoors, especially during the hottest part of the day (no, really!), and to use suncream (that's the type of important information I expect my licence fee to go towards). I'm sure trains are stopping, buses are cancelled & soon, school children will be sent home. Because everyone knows that 30*C is freakish weather, and nobody in the world could possibly cope with three days of it!

On another note, I got into an argument with another mother at playgroup today. I said (rather innoculously, I thought), that I was looking forward to the time when on hot days like this I could just open the front door at 8am & tell them all to go away & amuse themselves at the Lido or something, and not come back till suppertime. She said she didn't think she would ever let her girls out on their own as there are too many perverts out there. This is something that really annoys me, so I calmly pointed out that the number of children snatched off the street by a stranger hasn't changed in the more than 50 years since records began (on average 4 per year). yes she replied, but my girls might be one of those four.

"but, but, but" I stuttered, "but you being with them won't even necessarily protect them, and never letting them out on their own will seriously damage their ability to live independant lives. And never? what about when they are 14? 18? 25?"

she got well huffy, and it went on a bit. But really!

Oh well.

On the plus side, i got a phone call at 3.10 this afternoon, saying Mstr A has a place at the new school next term. Yay! The appeal hearing was set for Thursday morning, but now we don't have to worry:-)

It Worked!

And the Winner is.......


The standings for June's daily quiz are:

1. Mrs Aginoth (21 points, 5 wins)

2. Stacy (15 points, 2 wins)

3. Aginoth (11 points, 0 wins)

4. paste (11 points, 0 wins)

5. Dave (9 points, 0 wins)

6. H (8 points, 2 wins)

7. silentmum (8 points, 0 wins)

8. craziequeen (7 points, 0 wins)

9. joolz (6 points, 0 wins)

10. ivoryfrog (5 points, 0 wins)

It worked! Hosting my own game finally made me a winner, after months of playing on Stacy's & never winning:-(

Now let's see who can beat me this month:-)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

How wrong can you be?

I was reading an article in SFX magazine today. It was about how sucessful Superhero movies have been & how there seems to be an endless appetite for them atm, so what else can marvel pump out onto the big screen.

The big Marvel movie producer is Avi Arad, who made this comment about bringing Captain America back to the big screen: "I think it is always right for the times" (despite the fact that CA has not been seen in cinema's since the 1940's), "because at the end of the day all societies strive to be this country. Everybody wants freedom of speech, fredom of the press and the opportunity to grow up to be who you want to be in an open society"


Hands up who want's to be American?

Hads up who really believes Americans have all those freedoms? More than all other countries?

hands up who believes America is the best society on the planet?

uh ha. thought so!