Monday, 27 February 2012

You know you have a family of steam enthusiasts when...

your two-year old daughter walks into the Great Hall of the National Railway Museum and declares confidently,
"Look! Mallard!"

She was right, of course. This probably had something to do with her early indoctrination.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Family News

I realise that some of you may already know this family news, but others of you won't.

I hereby announce the marriage of Brown Dog to Sheila (nee Spare Brown Dog). They were actually married last year - I know, I should have told you before, but getting them both together to pose for a photo has been tricky, and a blog without a photo can be rather dull. What surprised many of us, though, was that days after being married, Sheila made a nest, laid four eggs and had puppies! The puppies are all doing well and, naturally, causing havoc.

The Happy Couple and Puppies. They are there, if you look carefully - honest.
I thought you would also like to hear that on her birthday Isla was blessed with twins called Annabel and Baby Jesus Robert. He was previously only Robert, but when the parish church lost Baby Jesus just before the school nativity service and needed an immediate replacement (try 10 minutes' notice with a church full of expectant school children) Isla and I offered to run home and fetch Robert. He was duly rechristened by Isla and his new name can lead to some strange comments ("Look, Mummy, Baby Jesus has a ...") Fill in the blank. He is an anatomically correct male doll.

Proud Mum.

Actually the parenting offered by my offspring to theirs has been delightful; the care and initiative often surprising me and Ken. For example, Isla asked me to feed Annabel and promptly placed her in the appropriate position on my chest, later when she wanted to take her babies for a walk and insisted they were carried in a sling each. Walking through a woods with a Tiny Tears Doll strapped to your chest is somewhat surreal but made Isla very happy. She also makes sure that her babies are fed by placing one of them in a small high chair next to her before a meal and sharing some of her food. Blue is very happy when this is subsequently spilled; Isla is not. Last night at bedtime when we were reading stories she sat Annabel on her knee and "read" (recited) a favourite book called "I Love My Daddy" to her pointing to the pictures and explaining each page. 
Last week whilst I was doing the laundry, Isla announced that she was taking Annabel for a walk. I didn't think much of it until I realised that Isla had gone out the front door and was standing on the pavement! She had even put a lead on Blue and taken him too. Thank God for quiet roads. 
Angus isn't quite so paternal with his puppies but this could be because nobody else has ever seen them, so they are easy to miss. He has been known to lose a puppy but as the puppies are quite noisy when they are around, he quickly finds it again. Actually a lot of his parenting seems to involve making noise. He does ensure they have quite exciting adventures, though, and in the best traditions of his own father, Brown Dog is a very hands on Dad. Great role modelling for Angus - no chauvinistic men allowed in this house, whether adult, child or fluffy toy.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Mummy, what did you do over the weekend?

Well, I went out to play in Scotland.

This is me, attached to a stretcher and being lowered down a hill. The idea is that a person guides the stretcher, with casualty (instead of the unused kit!) safely down the slope.

The rest of the team who attended the weekend training event. I probably ought to clarify that this is not the Buxton team as they are rather a long way away to go on a callout! This is my new team, the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team.

The walk in to where we did our lower and other snow stuff. Yes, it really was this steep and snowy. The wind chill was horrendous. Ice axes and crampons the whole way.

So you need to turn this around! Despite rumours to the contrary, there is a need to learn avalanche probing as we do have avalanches in the UK and sadly people do get caught in them 

So there you are. That is what I did over the weekend. What about you?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A Life of Random Normality

I haven't blogged recently because, much to my surprise and pleasure, life has become randomly normal. I say "random" because I can't quite work out why. It just seems to have happened all by itself. I don't know if this sense of normality is because of my mindset, improved weather and sunshine (that can act as the most amazing anti-depressant), or whether life has finally settled into a pattern.

Whatever it is, I am revelling in it!

Finally we are actually living in our house and not just existing in it. Of course there are jobs to do but there is no burning pressure or stress to get them done. Yesterday I painted three windowsills that needed doing; today I plan to sand and touch up the downstairs loo. No drama; no stress: just do a job and move on. Even the faulty tap from the bathroom that has stained the kitchen ceiling hasn't got me down. Call the plumber and move on. No drama; no fuss.

We have had very welcome visitors from Macclesfield and Isla has been ill for a week with a nasty cold which this morning has developed into conjunctivitis. Still I feel at peace.

I wonder if the drama of the last three years (my pregnancy and Isla's arrival in 2009, the move or not (!) in 2010 and last year with so much energy put into sorting this house) is finally coming to an end and I am starting to find life's rhythm again. I hope so. I so need to calm down, breathe deeply, and find some time to sort out my head. In the meantime, I am baking and cooking and sometimes even scrapping again. And the children are enjoying having a more sane Mum.
Isla with the perks from helping to make apple and cinnamon muffins for Dad.
Angus loved the tactile pizza dough making. He kneeded with gusto. 
And then got to eat the results: cheese, tomato and Angus's favourite - olives!