Allergy Awareness Week

>> Monday, 28 April 2014

It's Allergy Awareness Week in the UK at the moment, where it is estimated that up to 21 million adults and children suffer from at least one type of allergy.

Take this test and see how much you know - increasing your awareness of what allergies are and what they can do could save someone's life.  Or at the very least, it might save them a trip to hospital (as once happened to us when my son ate birthday cake we were assured had no nuts in it.  It didn't - but what the friend who had made it had forgotten was that she had put walnuts in the icing...)



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Gosh, it's grey in Moscow...

>> Saturday, 26 April 2014


























April 25th, 2014.  Anzac Day wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin, Moscow

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Bribery and Corruption, Potski Mansions-Style

>> Monday, 14 April 2014

It's Spring Break here for all of 1 glorious week.  I know - not long enough, but I try to console myself with the longer summer holidays we get in recompense.  Doesn't work, but I do try...

Unlike many of the families at the Boys' school (if I see one more fb posting showing pristine beaches or water parks I will be driven to... to... more chocolate, probably) we are staying put for this holiday, which is, I remind myself frequently - mainly when looking at fb - a Good Thing.  We've had a crazy start to the year, and the chance to stand still with no hard and fast schedule to maintain is welcome.

However, that does mean I am now dealing with my own preconceptions about what a school holiday should look like.  And I am nothing if not a product of my UK upbringing, so much to my sons' disgust that includes their not only getting out of pyjamas and into proper, you know, clothes, but also a minimal amount of study and even - gasp - practicing their musical instruments.  Every day.

Yes, m'lud.  Torture, cruel and unusual.

I know, I know.  Am I crazy?  But I have secret weapons in my arsenal and I'm not afraid to use them.  Namely, the promise of movie nights, the use of my laptop to access Netflix, and the indiscriminate application of popcorn during said movie.  And crucially, they don't get to choose what to watch until their tasks are done...

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Please hold, caller...

>> Thursday, 10 April 2014

... the person you are calling knows you are waiting.

I'm fed up with the Blogger inhouse spam captcha*, so am currently trying to import a widget that will do the same job but without forcing commenters to read and retype incomprehensible strings of numbers and letters.

In the long term this should make life easier for people wanting to comment.

In the short term, it seems to mean that nobody can...

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Who says we have to act our age?

>> Wednesday, 9 April 2014

I have just been indulging myself - to the delighted embarrassment of my older son - in a spot of chair dancing to this...



One of the things about getting older is that people stop thinking you want to kick over the traces, let alone that you actually will.  Or maybe that's just one of the limitations I place upon myself, I don't know.  Certainly it's a lot harder to get up the morning after drinking too much the night before, to the extent that generally it's easier to put the brakes on and avoid the hangover in the first place.  But that doesn't mean I don't ever want to go out and get really, properly stinking drunk, sit putting the world to rights until the sun comes up, and dance until my feet hurt.  Likewise, it also doesn't mean I am only ever going to wear a one-piece on the beach, or that I won't at least try on those heels that I suspect will probably make me look like a pig on stilts.  Even if wearing them for a whole evening is an impossibility.

I know, here I am at 47.  I can't help feeling that perhaps I should be over that sort of behaviour by now.  Certainly I would have imagined, when I was 10 - as Boy #1 is - that my mum was way beyond embarrassing me like that.  But lately - perhaps it's the onset of spring? - I am becoming less and less inclined to act my passport age.  Not that I want to completely kick over the traces and behave like the irresponsible 20 something I once was, just that I'm not quite ready to pull on the twinset and pearls just yet.  I still have some confounding of expectations to do.

And if a spot of chair dancing is the only way that feeling manifests itself, well then I don't think things are completely out of control.  Not yet, anyway...

And you - how do you confound those pesky expectations?

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