Friday 29 April 2011

Today, I am mostly...

...feeling a little bit sad that I'm not in London, to be honest.

I didn't expect it. I wish William and Kate all the best and everything, but really this whole Royal Wedding thing has pretty much washed over me.

Until today.

When I rolled up at the school with the kids in tow and saw the Principle dressed for a wedding whilst greeting the children at the main entrance to the school, I admit it all seemed a little over the top and I headed off to the supermarket without giving it a second thought.

But at a friend's house this afternoon, watching as William and Harry traveled to the cathedral, quite literally brothers in arms; seeing the crowds waving their Union Jacks and the London bobbies cheerfully shepherding them around; and anticipating the happy couple's first publicly married kiss, there's just one thought on my mind.

God, I would love to be Home right now.

Turns out I'm not dining on humbug today, after all.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Starting over...

Imagine this; you are asked to start a new blog. (Well, if I'm honest, you offer to start a new blog, but let's not split hairs). It seems like a great idea (it is a great idea) because it's simply an extension of what you do already, but here's the rub; essentially, you have to start from scratch.

Forget any rapport that you may have built up with your readers over the last 4 years or so, forget being able to take for granted that your audience knows roughly how old you and your kids are, what your cultural references are (British, Londoner, child of the 70's and 80's), and that when you call people 'sweetie' and 'darling' you are playing up to a stereotype and essentially taking the piss out of yourself - and that your readers know that.

Forget too the chance that the person reading posts on your new blog may have touched on any part of your journey from blogging as a stay at home mum struggling with the concept of not going back to work and having precious little control over their day to day routine with two small children in tow, through to being a relatively self-confident woman who knows that whilst her current job is part of what she is, it certainly isn't all she is.

And finally, forget any confidence in knowing who your readers actually are, since the new platform you'll be blogging on has precious little to do with that where your current blog lives.

OK, forgotten all that?

I've started writing a new - more Russia-centric - blog on The Moscow Times ('Russia's only English-language daily newspaper') website. You can see my first post there by clicking on the link above. It won't replace 'The Potty Diaries', but will live alongside it for as long as that's a mutually beneficial arrangement. If you choose to take a look you may recognise photographs, incidents and / or posts from the archives here (hey, I own the copyright, why not?), but there will also be unique content which I'll flag here when I post it there, in case anyone's interested.

And, can I just add? I am pretty damn proud of myself for making this happen.

(That's the self-confident woman who's busy extending her cv speaking, by the way...)

Springwatch; In which I resort to bribery to keep you coming back for more...

Go on; admit it. You thought I wasn't going to post today, didn't you? You thought, it's another week of bare earth and she's run out of things to do with lego figurines, so she's just going to bin the whole sorry experiment.

Well, I have to admit I thought about it.

But then... Look! LOOK!

What, you can't see it? It's there. There!

Oh, for Pete's sake. Click on the picture. Now can you see the new plants coming through? Amazing, isn't it?

OK, thanks for humouring me. Want to see some semi-clad army recruits that I photographed as I walked through a forest this morning, instead? You do?

Philistines, the lot of you...

(And I know you just clicked on that one too...)

Wednesday 27 April 2011

The Gallery: Green

The prompt for Tara's Gallery this week was 'Green'. (Click here to see all the other wonderful entries).

Now, the snow has gone - finally - in Moscow, and the grass is growing, but I have to be honest, there isn't much in the way of green and growing things to show you just yet. Ask me to show you 'Green' next week and I expect it to be a whole different story, but right now? Not so much.

Instead then, here are two photographs I took recently on a trip to a city about 200km north of Moscow called Rostov Veliky (trans; Rostov The Great, as opposed to Rostov the not-so-great which I'm assured exists a little further away). The Kremlin there (for oh yes, Red Square doesn't have the monopoly on that word; it means 'fortress') is old and beautiful, but I'm not going to show you that this time around (been there, done that, for Silent Sunday).

So here are a couple of details - green, obviously - that caught my eye elsewhere in the town...

A tile on the side of a building, just because...

And this is where the old window frames which I photographed in glorious situ last September, go to to die... (or, to be sold on to gullible Muscovites at vastly inflated prices. Whichever happens first.)

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Dear So and So - UPDATED

This post is inspired by Kat at Three Bedroom Bungalow

Dear Wills & Kate,

On behalf of all your subjects living in countries other than Great Britain, I would like to thank you for making it legal this Friday. Not because I believe the union of marriage to be any superior to any of the alternatives, (although I have to say it is, mainly because well, I'm married myself and don't want to rock the boat), but because you have given a certain expat school in far-away Moscow the opportunity to celebrate alongside you. Even if you didn't plan it that way.

Our school, which is made up of no more than 20% Brits (discounting all those Russian citizens who just happen to have British passports that is), is throwing itself into this event as if you were both honoured alumni of our establishment. Who could have foreseen that it would be a good use of the PTO's funds & organisational time to buy each and every child in the Elementary section a cookie decorated with a crown to eat precisely at the time of your wedding? Who would have known that each and every child in the entire school aged up to 18 would be given the opportunity to dress up as if they too were going to the Royal Wedding? (And bearing in mind the cultural differences in what is deemed as 'dressing up', this Friday should be an interesting day indeed, especially for the teachers in our secondary school establishment.)

What brilliance it was to create a day when wedding cake would be on sale outside the school cafeteria at break-time to raise funds for... well, actually, I have to say I had somewhat tuned out at this stage of the announcement process, so I don't actually know what for. I have to admit I'm not sure that the inclusion of a 'groom's cake' (whatever the hell that is) as an alternative to the traditional white-iced cake is something you would approve of, but I'll go with that. Despite the fact that the purist in me believes offering an alternative to the love-it or hate-it fruit cake is a bit of a cop out, but then of course other nations aren't as hardened to dried fruit as we British are...

I'm sure that the last thing you envisaged was a display outside our secondary school library in downtown Moscow featuring a somewhat dated wedding dress and morning suit, and inviting all the students to share in your nuptial celebrations, but there you go, that's just one of the wonders of our global society, I suppose. And I for one can't wait for all the students to toast you in a mixture of apple juice and sparkling water at the moment that you take your vows.

So, all the best on Friday. There's an expat population in Moscow rooting for you, that's for sure. As well as a certain blogger who is wondering if perhaps the celebrations over here might be just a little excessive...

Yours, fondly and of course reverently,

Potty Mummy

PS; Would it be too much, do you think, for me to storm the school offices after a few glasses of Pimms, dressed in full garden party attire, to commandeer the PA system to play 'God Save The Queen' whilst eating cucumber sandwiches?

Update, same evening...

Dear Wills and Kate,

OK, I admit it. I know when I'm beaten. I have just spoken to my sister and it appears that a full-scale garden-party-clad assault on the school offices just isn't up to par compared to what's going on at her elementary school. I'm sure you know all about it as no doubt similar festivities are happening at schools across the Kingdom, but just in case not here's a brief summary to warm your hearts...

Not only is there a full scale party planned (I guess on Thursday, since none of the children will be in school on Friday), but...

Names were pulled out of a hat and 1 girl and 1 boy were selected to represent you at the school. It is a complete coincidence that their names just happen to be Will and Kate in real life, apparently. Personally, if I were the mum of a disappointed Jemima and Peter, I would be asking to check the rest of the tickets to make sure no dirty tricks were being played on this one - but then perhaps I've been in Russia too long...

The lucky couple will dress up for the festivities, when (it gets better)...

...the local priest has been co-opted to 'marry' them.

One of the parents (who, arguably, might be getting a bit carried away by the whole thing) has sourced a miniature coach for the lucky pair to arrive in...(here comes the coup de grace)...

...and has also supplied 2 horse outfits for two other lucky poppets to dress up in to pull it, Wills and Kate, across the playground to their wedding destination in the school hall.

Anyone else able to top that?

Monday 25 April 2011

A little bit of light relief...

If you live in the UK I'm sure you've seen this (as have I, sometime ago, but my father just reminded me of it). If not though, enjoy...

Saturday 23 April 2011

Stream of consciousness...

This weekend I will be;

Baking cakes for our compound Easter Egg hunt; 1 nut-free, 1 not (and oh-so-delicious, but which necessitates practically steam-cleaning all the cooking utensils I've used to make it to avoid cross-contamination with anything that I might use to bake for the Boys afterwards. Worth it, though.)

Wrestling Boy #2 to his Saturday morning Dutch class which he really doesn't want to go - and which I really don't blame him for as amazingly the sun is shining and it's above 10degC - but there you go, that's just the way it is...

Taking both Boys to a Star Wars birthday party and spending the rest of the weekend fielding questions my older son sets me to trip me up on my woeful lack of knowledge of episodes 1 - 3 (who CARES what the name of the funny looking Jedi Knight with the dreadlocks was called, anyway? 7 and 5 year old boys, that's who...)

Having drinks with some girl friends (husbands and children not allowed) and wondering when the last time I did that was... And then, as the white wine continues to be poured, forgetting all about that thought and just enjoying the moment.

Putting on white jeans (WHITE JEANS!) for the first time since last summer.

Realising very shorting after putting on the white jeans that Moscow may be warm enough for that now, but it certainly isn't clean enough...

Bemoaning my lack of clothes suitable for Spring. And washing my white jeans - again.

Taking both Boys to an Easter Egg hunt and trying to restrain them from eating all their chocolate haul in one go so that I can sneak the odd one myself when their backs are turned. (OK, who am I kidding here? 'The ODD one'?)

Cooking lunch for some friends and thinking smugly about the fact that since I don't have to drive I can actually have a glass of wine with it.

Checking my blog and the twitter-sphere and panicking about the tumble-weed wasteland out there (where IS everyone?) before realising they too are having the weekend off and not doing anything as foolish as wasting their time checking their blog etc and panicking about the tumble-weed wasteland out there...

Resolving to spread the love a bit by commenting on the blogs that I do read so that if there are any tumble-weed wasteland moments for anyone else, their impact might be reduced.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Potski Spring Watch and a Nutty flight of fancy

Week 4 of Potkski Front Flower Bed Spring Watch (yawn) and I have progress to report. Hallelujah, the snow is gone! (Mostly). Look at this beautiful picture of Spring exploding into action, Moscow-styley...


I know. I promised you verdant growth and astounding astoundingness. Instead, all we've got is bare earth and a few scrubby dead plants. I admit it; this is taking way longer than I thought it would.

Which is why, when a certain blogger foolishly agreed to story-board the next Potski lego adventure, I took her at her word. Thankyou, Nutty Cow for your inspiration and perseverance with g-chat...

So, let's look at that picture again.

Why, who do we have here? It's GT and her buddies, out for a stroll in the blazing sunshine! (Cut me some slack here, please. Relatively speaking, this is blazing sunshine). I do hope she isn't going to catch cold in that skimpy bathing suit...

But look, I see someone lurking in the bushes (top right of the picture. Top right!); oh no, it's Mexican Marraca Man! He's tracked the beautiful GT all the way here, to Moscow. I wonder what dastardly plan he has up his sleeve?

Ah, the day is saved. GT's handsome local liaison officer, Vlad (no jokes about impaling here ladies, it's not tasteful) has arrived and she's gone off to chat to him. Her buddies don't look too impressed but I guess that when you hang out with the beautiful people you have to take what you can get.

Hang on - what's this? Looks like Mexican Marracca Man has brought help; it's Sergei the Inconspicuous Hit Man (inconspicuous as in; he blends in so perfectly with the flower bed you can barely see him. That's his skill, don't you know). But surely there's nothing he can do now that Vlad is around to protect GT?

Oh no! He's summoned futuristic powers to set off a tornado! Hold on, GT! Don't let go!

Phew, what a relief. GT and Vlad are safe. The same can't be said for her buddies, unfortunately; 2 of them appear to be stuck at the top of a tree, whilst the third is desperately trying to rescue them. Surely our two lovebirds are going to go back and help?

No? Oh well. I'm sure GT's unfortunate friends understand. I mean, that's what you get when you hang out with the beautiful people...

All requests & queries re: rights etc should be forwarded to Potty Mummy and Nutty Cow. No lego figurines were harmed during the making of this storyline.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

The Gallery: My Blog

This post is for week 55 of The Gallery: click here to see all the other fabulous entries...

Tara's prompt this week was - after last week's humdinger of 'Tomorrow' - billed by her as going to be easy. Tara, you fibbed; this week's prompt was 'My Blog'. How on earth to post a photograph that represents my blog? How on earth to show you in one or two pictures a representation of what my blog means to me?

Well, I couldn't do it. So I decided instead to focus on one aspect of what my blog means. Right now, the fact that I'm living in Russia experiencing things that I never thought I would, and being exposed to things that were so far from my previous central London reality, is a lot of what I write about. So I'm going to show you two things that I would not - as a matter of course - come across in South Kensington, and both of which were photographed here.

This first shot was taken last week and shows the latest in fashionable attire. Not for you and I, oh no. For dogs.

And the second is quite simply a beautiful photograph that I took on a walk through Izmailova last Autumn. I love the colours. And since this is My Blog, I feel at liberty to post whatever I want, just because...

Monday 18 April 2011

Turn and turn about; the expat dance


It turns out that one of the biggest advantages of being an expat - the opportunity to make deep and meaningful friendships in a much shorter time frame than you would ever do in your home environment - is also one of the biggest disadvantages.

It's all very well being thrown together with a group of amusing, warm, outgoing, outward-looking individuals, many of whom are similarly at sea in this world of serial expat-ness and likewise wondering if they will ever manage to make it back into the work-place of their home town when they eventually get there, but it's another thing entirely when they start to up and leave in large numbers.

It happens every year of course, in Expat-ville's the world over. Do the maths; most serial expats (of which I am not one) do postings lasting 2 or 3 years. Occasionally these postings are extended to 5 years, but more often than not, just around the time a family is getting used to their surroundings and starting to feel like locals, it's time to repack the containers and be on their way. As a result, Boy #1's grade last year lost around 30% of it's pupils, and is set to lose somewhere around that number again this June.

This is one of those hardships that are ignored by people who speak dismissively of 'expat brats'. Sure, these children are often ridiculously privileged. Some of them have never seen their own parents drive a car in their country of residence, they are overly-sophisticated in many ways, and the thought of spending a school break just kicking around in their (temporary) home country instead of jetting off to their country of origin never even occurs to them. But look back at your own childhood, and whilst you may have made one or two new friends from time to time throughout your primary school life, I suspect that the same faces appeared year after year every September, often in the same class. Here, however, and as I understand it in many expat schools, even when children stay put classes are deliberately mixed up at the beginning of every school year. As a result, this school year Boy #1 was in the same class as only 2 of his friends from the previous one, and if we stay for another year (as is increasingly likely), that pattern will probably repeat.

On the plus side (and as the school rationalises), this does mean that children become very good at making new friendships. Which is lucky, given that most of them need to do this every 3 years or so in any case. On the downside, it also means an uneasy settling in period each September and that as a mum there's no comfort to be had in knowing which are the kids to invite back for tea and which to avoid at all costs because they will wreck your home and never say please or thank you (amazingly, not a skill that is universally taught).

It also means, from a purely selfish and metaphorical point of view, that good friends are leaving and that my 'class' is being mixed up too. And that makes me a little sad.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Contain your excitement; it's Wk 3 of Potski Spring Watch...

So, here we are at Week 3 of the Potski Front Flower Bed Spring Watch (note to self; MUST do something about that title).


Here it is.

As you can see, there have been vast improvements since last week. Vast. Spectacular. Look, I'll prove it to you. This week, again:

And last week:

This week:

Last week:

Oh, who am I kidding? There's no bloody change. In fact, there may even be more snow on the ground this week than last...


Time for another Potski reconstruction to alleviate the boredom, then. This week children, we're looking at a classic morning on the highway.

Just another day. Just another day when all the traffic feeds into the left-hand lane of the schosse (get me with my local word for highway) for no other reason than that each car wants to avoid the attentions of the two gentlemen on the left (heaven only knows what uniform they're wearing) and above all, avoid eye-contact with them as they drive to work.

It's well known here that the last - the absolute LAST thing you do when behind the wheel of a car is actually look directly at any semi-official person on the side of the road.

If you do mistakenly catch their eye, you stand a much higher chance of being directed out of the traffic and then encountering the scenario I described in last week's Front Flower Bed Spring Watch... Of course, this may also result in the odd accident when you look so hard in the other direction from the person in uniform that you don't notice the driver in front of you doing the same thing and not spotting you pulling in from the right, but... at least there will be a policeman nearby to deal with the paperwork.

Glass half-full. That's me.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

The Gallery; Tomorrow

It's Week 54 of The Gallery (click here to see the other entries) and Tara's theme this time is 'Tomorrow'. Bless her - she does like to make life interesting, doesn't she? (Mutter mutter).

Initially I had a beautiful photograph of one of my sons all lined up. It was meant to represent all his tomorrows, and seemed to do the job quite well. I took it with a fancy camera and everything... Instead, though, I'm going to show you a snap I took with my mobile yesterday, when I took the Boys to the Darwin Museum here in Moscow. Unbelievably this museum was the first of it's kind - you have to love the Russians' lack of truck with creationism (the small 'c' was intentional, by the way; I'm not going to give it the compliment of using a capital letter) - and was established back in 1907.

Like most museums here each room is staffed by one or more scary-looking older ladies, who at first glance seem totally bored and not at all engaged by where they are. Often their sole role seems to be suck the fun out of the experience for small children, telling them to 'be quiet and for heaven's sake, stop showing so much damn enthusiasm!' The lady in the photograph below was, as you'll see, reading a magazine before Boy #2 and his friend rocked up. But after I took the photograph and looked at it properly, I reassessed.

Here she is, a lady probably in late 50's or early 60's (you might think she looks older but life can be hard here in Russia, especially for those who grew up during Soviet times, and it shows), still working. She's in an enriching and cultural environment. The chances are she's passionate about her subject and is a font of knowledge on all things Darwin and his Theory of Evolution related (if you ever engage these ladies in conversation they will usually astonish you with their depth of knowledge of the subject on display). She is looking warmly at two small boys in a way that makes me think she is probably a grandmother and enjoys her grandchildren's company. And - possibly quite importantly, for her anyway - her job allows her to sit down, read magazines, and perhaps even eat chocolate...

I don't necessarily imagine - or want - my Tomorrow to be like her Present. But if it includes some of the details I mentioned in the paragraph above, I don't think I'll be doing too badly.

Monday 11 April 2011

It's Spring? Pull the other one...

Glancing out of our window yesterday, I saw three waxwings sheltering crossly in a tree.

The cold wind ruffled their feathers as they glowered out at the sleet, and if I could speak Waxwing I know exactly what they would have said to me; "For this we flew 1500 miles looking for Spring?"

Today, they've gone.

And frankly? I don't blame them.

(All of which is a roundabout way of saying that if I have to read one more tweet about how warm it is back in the UK right now...)

Saturday 9 April 2011

I got my new shoes on...

The Boys have needed new shoes for some time now. I have to admit, I've been putting it off. I picked up a couple of pairs of canvas sneakers for them when I was back in London a few weeks ago, and they've been wearing those inside and their still-fine snow boots outside. However, as Husband rightly pointed out, we really needed to get them both new indoor shoes and trainers, so last Saturday that is what we set off to do.

It shouldn't be difficult really, should it? They have children in Moscow who have feet and wear shoes too, don't they?

But I knew that it would be. Which is probably why I had been putting it off until a day when Husband was foolish enough to be available to accompany me to translate as necessary.

Why? Well, the service culture in Moscow has come on in leaps and bounds in the last 16 years since I started to visit here, but some aspects of it still leave a little something to be desired...

Last Saturday then, we set off for one of our local shopping malls where we knew there were kids' shoe shops aplenty. I drove, and the Boys and Husband went by tram, and as any Moscow residents will not be surprised to learn, they got there first. Husband decided at this point to take matters into his own hands re; the shoes ('What's that stupid woman making such a fuss about? I shall buy both my sons shoes before she even gets here, and demonstrate to her how easy it is!') and he and the Boys went on up to the largest kids clothing store.

They stood around in the well-stocked shoe section being ignored for a few minutes, until Husband took matters into his own hands and asked an assistant for help. This is the conversation that ensued.

Husband: "Can you help me, please?"

Store lady (sigh): "Yes. What do you want..."

Husband: "We would like to buy some shoes."

Store lady looked blankly at my husband, and then with an all encompassing gesture swept her arms around her and said: "Shooooeees."

Husband (somewhat taken aback): "Yes, I can see they're shoes, but I'm not quite sure what size my sons take, can you help us with that please?"

Store lady (sigh): "OK." She looked at my sons' feet, and started pulling out boxes.

Husband: "Hang on. Can you measure their feet first, please?"

Boy #2 sat down and began to pull his snowboots off. Store lady picked up the first boot from the floor and checked underneath for the size.

Husband: "No, I don't want you to check these boots. I want to know what size his feet are now. Can you measure them, please?"

Store lady picked up Boy #2's foot and looked at it. "I would say..."

Husband: "No, I would like you to measure them. Can you do that please?"

Store lady sighed. "No, we don't do that. Just try a few pairs on until you get some the right size."

At this stage Husband turned and swept grandly out of the store, two Boys (asking loudly when they were going to get new trainers) in tow..

At this stage I was still stuck in traffic, so he moved next door, where they also sold children's shoes. And then, after repeating the whole sorry process, left that one too. By the time I finally got there, he was on store number 3. And this time when the assistant - on being asked to measure the Boys' feet - pulled out a dressmaker's tape measure, Husband kept quiet and counted himself lucky...

Thursday 7 April 2011

Potski Spring Watch and a little local drama..

So I promised it, and here it is; the 2nd week of the 'Potski Front Flower Bed Spring-Watch' series. Catchy title, huh?

Just to refresh your memory, this was last week's shot.

And here is this week's shot.


A bit less snow, a few more scrubby plants showing through. I know, I know, I promised you action. I promised you explosive adventure, Nature-style. Well hold your horses, it will come, I promise. Just not quite yet...

But wait! What's this? An everyday drama unfolding before our very eyes! Look, just there at the front of the flower bed. (Click on the photo and look for the only spots of colour amongst the varying shades of grey)

Mr Everyman has been stopped on the side of the road by the police. Oh foolish Mr Everyman! What were you thinking, driving such a swanky car to the office? Don't you know it makes you a target? Probably, that's just what the nice friendly police officer is about to tell him. (And note how Mr Everyman is shielding his face from the camera. He's been around the bloc before, that's for sure...)

Yes, that's right, see? The nice friendly police officer (who seems to have lost his hat, how unfortunate), is taking Mr Everyman to sit in the police jeep to continue their conversation somewhere quieter.

There you are; Mr Everyman is safely on his way back to his vehicle (and no doubt to his girlfriend GT waiting for him in the passenger seat). No drama, no problems.

His wallet might be unaccountably lighter, but he can probably afford it. Well, you have to expect that, when you make yourself a target by driving a flashy car like that...

Note: All events depicted are completely fictional and bear no relation to anyone's reality...

And if you're wondering 'why the dog?' well, this is Moscow. There's ALWAYS a dog around somewhere.

Oh, and want to join in the 'Front Flower Bed Spring-Watch' fun? (I must do something about that title). Feel free to add your post to the McLinky which I will add below just as soon as they've acknowledged receipt of my subscription (why is nothing ever easy?).

Wednesday 6 April 2011

The Gallery; Mother-love

This post is for Wk 53 of The Gallery; Mother Love. Click here to see the other fabulous entries...

Mother-love is being handed the creation above and, rather than shrieking in horror and wondering where you've gone wrong in your parenting style, listening seriously as your younger son tells you that this is in fact a model of a man with spiky hair. And then giving it house-room (at least, until he forgets about it).

Or, on a more serious note...

Mother-love is collecting someone else's children from school having left your own in the care of close relatives on the other side of the world. Mother-love is decamping to a country that is freezing cold 5 months of the year, living in cramped accommodation (often sharing a room with up to 6 others), and being at the mercy of police officers who are liable to pull you out of the bus queue, drive you to a remote spot and demand money before dumping you in the middle of nowhere. If you're lucky. Mother-love is looking after other people's children when you are desperately missing your own and know that you may not see them for up to two years. Mother-love is cleaning other people's toilets and then asking their permission to get a glass of water from the cooler. Mother-love is doing all this so that you can earn enough money for your children to complete their education and hopefully go to university so that they won't have to live the life you have. Mother-love is doing all this and believing yourself fortunate.

Monday 4 April 2011

Too good not to share..

This post is written about one of my sons. I'm not going to identify which, although long-term readers probably won't have too many problems working that out, and I'm going to write it in code so that it doesn't show up on any unpleasant searches but again, I don't think - if you have children - that you'll need an enigma machine to work this one out...

Me: "OK, time to get out of the bath now."

Unspecified son climbs gingerly out of the bath. It is immediately apparent why.

Me (choosing to ignore said reason) "Right, let's get you dry..."

Unspecified son: "Look. "

Me: "Yes, I see..."

Unspecified son (very seriously): "I think, I think, that it just wants to... take a look around..."

Me (keeping an amazingly straight face under the circumstances): "Yes, you're probably right."

Unspecified son: "It does that sometimes. And then it just goes back to sleep."

So wise, so young.

Saturday 2 April 2011

First grey hairs, then this...

How do you know when Middle Age is upon you?

There are many answers to that question (most of them - for women, anyway - related to corrective underwear and the use of moisturiser), but here's another.

You're with friends at a gig, and the lead singer kneels on stage for a moment, stands up again and notices he has chewing gum stuck to his trousers. He curses prodigiously, asking 'Who threw the fxcking gum on the stage?'

It is at this point that middle age hits. What do you shout back? Something cool, witty, or hip? Or:

"You want to put those trousers in the freezer mate - that'll get the gum out for you!"

Please note: this happened to someone else. No, really. Me? At a gig? With a haaaaandbaaag?

Friday 1 April 2011

Acorns, trees, and not falling far....

Isn't modern technology a wonderful thing? Yesterday morning, my dad and I had a text conversation via Skype and it occurred to me that anyone who's trying to 'get' the British sense of humour might find this exchange helpful:

Dad (in answer to an email I wrote telling him I was looking at the AMAZING train journey site Seat 61 whilst considering a trip on the Trans Siberian Railway this summer): Send me the link then

Me: No sooner said than done:

Dad: I'd heard about this site but never used it. Fantastic.... I've got a blue tit* hanging upside down from the gutter looking at me!

Me: Too - many - jokes - but I'll start with, is it still cold there then?

Dad: No, but it really is a great tit**.

Me: Speaking of birds, will e-mail a photo for you to identify some that were outside this morning... (note; My dad is a font of knowledge about such things...)

Dad: Go ahead. I'll just go and get the anorak on.

Me: Just sent them...

Dad (around 60 seconds later): Waxwing... Probably en route to Siberia after winter in W. Europe

Me: Thankyou. Did you have to look that up?

Dad: No. It's been a good year for them here in the UK. Probably because of severe weather in Scandinavia.

Me: And of course the beer's cheeper in the UK, too... (two jokes in one. I am on FIRE)

Dad: And more opportunities for tweeting.

Me: A truer word...

Dad: PS They enjoy the tits*** in the Sun as well!

Me: Thankyou very much, I'll be here all week.


Explains a lot about me, doesn't it...

* For those outside the UK, a 'blue tit' is a type of bird/
** As is a 'great tit'
*** Here, we're not talking about birds. Not the feathered kind, at any rate.