Friday, 31 December 2010

A Dead Duck and a New Year

Feeling a little tense, as it was deadline day for Charlie and his novel, went to SW9 for brunch with Ruth, Wela and Andrew. Then to Borough Market to pick up the duck for the evening's festivities. Wandered over to Southwark to see Charlie's workplace, then a quick cuppa at the Old Vic before heading home to buy food and start cooking.

Sainsbury's very busy, but managed to find everything I needed. Prepped the duck, and set everything up nicely for the evening ... Stilton mushrooms for starter, roast duck with crispy roasties (and stuffing, sausages, broccoli, orange sauce ...) for main, and Alex kindly brought profiteroles for pud ... yum!!

Pleased to have an Alex quiz on 2010 to see it off for good, though I think I might have been the only one really trying (I do love a good quiz), and then we played on Rayman's Raving Rabbids until we felt compelled to see the New Year in by switching on BBC 1 and seeing a very earnest young man talk to us in between some fireworks that looked as if London has been exploded.

I (predictably) fell asleep on the sofa chair at about 1ish and pretty soon went to bed, leaving Andrew, Alex and Fishy addressing the Ravings Rabbids well into 2011.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Jabs and Jobs and Japes

Caught up with some online chores before finally braving the doctors for the flu jab. I had been feeling a bit wary, having heard some less favourable comments from other people about how safe it would be for the baby, but it all went well. After an hour and a half waiting, it took 1 minute to actually get the jab.

Then, instead of seeing Megamind (our original plan, scuppered by getting the time of the film wrong), had a wander round Borough Market and met with Charlie for dinner at the Charles Dickens pub on Union Street ... very warm, not too busy, nice food.

Then back to Borough to meet with Andrew, Tony, Ruth, Wela, Erika, Dan and Alex for Karaoke at The Old School Yard. A funny place, where they had converted a small room into a lazy Karaoke facility with dodgy Chinese karaoke system to match, we had some fun with some rock classics, but song selection was a bit limited.

Ruth and Wela came back to stay at ours, first watching the 'Brixton Christmas Carol' video ...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Linear Freeway or Bugaboo?

Met Charlie and Erika for lunch at Wagamama on the South Bank, then walked with E to Regent's Street Mamas & Papas store to look at pushchairs. Had a lazy look around there, in John Lewis and a few other busy Oxford Street haunts before heading home.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Home is where the post is ...

Back in London. Was such a lovely Christmas, and now equally lovely to be home and enjoying a hot bath while Charlie makes a push towards finishing his words in the 3 days he has left. Washing is on, and have had a smashing smoothie from a mango, 2 kiwis and a half melon that were on the turn ... yum!

Mum and Dad hosted the annual Spalding Xmas bash last night, with various Drews and the extended Petchell family. Was great that Laura also joined us, and we had a huge amount of fun playing the hat game.

Out with Erika tomorrow, joining Charlie for lunch and then wrestling the January sales ... what do I need? Maybe nothing ...

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing Clever

Having battled the craziness and queues at Kings Cross on Friday, we got to Spalding in one piece after a kind lift from Peterborough by my Dad, after our train was delayed just enough to ruin our connection.

Great to see the whole family, and we had a relaxing Christmas Day with an ENORMOUS turkey with all the extra bits (stuffing, sausages, bread sauce ... yum!) and a magnificent pavlova. A walk, the Queen, some lovely and thoughtful presents and a little sleep later, we indulged in a family game of Monopoly in which Andrew snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

And today? Baked potatoes await, and I think another relaxing afternoon, possibly including some writing. And the baby is now showing a liking for Paolo Conte ... good taste! Just keep kicking ...

Thursday, 23 December 2010

A Brixton Christmas Carol!

Our project from the weekend, acted by myself, Charlie Andrew and starring Alex, performed for our lovely friends Norris and Liam who are currently travelling in South America ... to remind them that Brixton is lovely. Enjoy!

A Brixton Christmas Carol from Charlie Fish on Vimeo.

Woke up this morning listening to the Chris Evans Breakfast Show (a particfular favourite of mine, having been very keen on his Drive Time show from my P&G days). Really enjoyed today's show as he was broadcasting from York, with Archbishop John Sentamu ... not only the coolest clergyman in the world and all round good guy, but also one of my travelling companions during my visit to Cote D'Ivoire last year.

Another chilled out day at work, getting some long overdue jobs done as well as having a fun team lunch. Then Pizza at Erika's with her and Theresa, and a lovely cosy evening spent chatting before returning home to lovely Fish, who had not only done a great interview but also had written 1400 words today ... I am very proud of him!

All packed and ready for Christmas and going up to Lincolnshire tomorrow ... let's just hope the overhead lines on the East Coast train route stay up!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Getting festive

A really lovely carb packed evening with Fish, Alex, Laura and Gary to celebrate Christmas before L&G head off to see family. A fabulous lasagne (if I do say so myself) and a yummy luxury rice pudding with double cream and real vanilla ... no wonder I couldn't move from the sofa afterwards!

Helped Charlie a bit with his interview prep before bed.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Met up with Andrew after work, after wrestling with phone shop automatons at the Orange Shop. Popped into Foyles before joining Matthew G, Kirsten, Natalie, Charlie and many other for Christmas drinkies at the Duke of Sussex near Waterloo.

Then to Alex's briefly to preview the project from the weekend ... looks spectacular, watch this space!

Jon was due to be back from Madrid and staying with Nat, but after his flight was delayed and she was feeling pretty under the weather, seemed most sensible to give him an airbed at ours. Had to meekly and apologetically sneak into the spare room where Laura and Gary are staying to get the sleeping bag for him, felt bad but necessary!

And the overhead cables are down on the London Kings Cross to Peterborough train route, so although they will hopefully be fixed in plenty of time for our journey on Friday, there is really no knowing in 'Frozen Britain'!

All feeling like the hecticness that only Christmas can bring! Fah-la-la-la-laaaah!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time!

Such festive joy after a super-festive weekend.

Made it round to Erika and Dan's yesterday for a lovely Christmas feast, beef stew and chocolate orange fondant (along with the glorious cheesecake I made, which was also excellent). Also took round Robin & Marion's Christmas hamper, shown below!

Was pleased that quite a few of us made it, given that Dicky, Judy and Jane were all kept away by the weather and illness respectively. Was much lazy chatting and wii playing.

And today met Alex for a swim, before meeting at Andrew's with Charlie for a small film project ... results of which will be revealed in good time.

And then off to Guildford for dinner at Cafe Rouge with Charlie's old school friends. Lovely to see them all, all were on good form as always.
And, as always, we didn't want to leave, but sensibly headed back at a reasonable time so we didn't get stuck by snow, or feel too tired before work tomorrow.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow, snow, snow!

Woke up to find Brixton covered in the white stuff. Looks wonderful, though a bit of a shame as it seems to have scuppered the big family day and dinner Erika and Dan have been working so hard on. Oh well, we will probably go around anyway and just have to eat double!

Laura has gone out to meet Gary, who has apparently managed to get the train from Manchester, despite the snow.

As always, loving the view from our back kitchen window ...

Friday, 17 December 2010

Most Magnificent Cheesecake!

Created a baked White Chocolate Cheesecake this evening. It is indeed a thing of beauty, all ready for dinner tomorrow at Dan & Erika's ... can't wait to try it!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Season's Greetings

Met up with Amy, Julia and Lucy along with Amy's friend Suzi to have dinner and see at play at the National called Season's Greetings. It was entertaining and a bit random, starring Catherine Tate and other people I recognised from TV, but not as much 'laugh out loud' comedy as I would have hoped. Will definitely go back to the National though, a great venue.

Has gone very cold again ... big black coat at the ready!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Old Friends

Have been very much enjoying my day off, and have been reasonably productive with it (though still not making much progress in finishing of the Christmas Cards and clearing the study). Picked up some parcels, tidied the lounge and kitchen and did some good spag bol cooking.

But most importantly today, Laura arrived. So good to see your best friend after they have been away so long. After a year and a half in Sri Lanka and a term in China, she will apparently be heading off to Malaysian Borneo in Feb which sounds so exciting!

But for now she is very sleepy, so after a lovely afternoon of chatting and eating, she has gone to bed and I need to make more progress with my jobs ...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Community minded and musically stimulated

Went to Neighbourhood Watch with Patrick this evening. They are a lovely bunch, and had laid on wine and nibbles. Good to see them again, and discuss matters of importance such as buildings being built without planning permission and the ongoing drama of how to stop people weeing in the alleyway that goes onto Brixton Road.

Was just lying in bed and, due to a string recommendation from my colleague Cat, decided to play the baby the Glee version of 'Don't Stop Believing'. And lo and behind, lots and lots of kicking ... or maybe dancing. Was great, you could even see it really clearly.

Am now watching the BBC's Decade of Discovery , the subject of yesterday's blog, knowing I can have a lie in as I have the day off. Hooray! And Laura is coming to stay, even better!!

Only one small fly in the ointment, have lost (and now cancelled) one of my debit cards. Pretty sure I left in teh self-check out in Sainsbury's, but they claimed not to have it, so had no choice but to cancel it. Sigh but I suppose every rose has its thorn!

Monday, 13 December 2010

More Amazing Animals

Very snuggly Pygmy 3-toed sloth and baby sloth


More great animal pics from the Guardian, this time for a BBC programme looking into new discoveries over the last 10 years, hosted by Chris Packham.

A Barreleye Fish, the green spheres are its eyes!


Pictures like this fascinate me, and are the reason I can watch the 'The Deep' episode of 'The Blue Planet' again and again and again. As you seen from my blog, I tend to veer towards cuddly primates (see my love for pottos) and weird and wonderful sea creatures (like the above, and my husband, who is a Fish).

Maybe one day I will do a degree in Zoology after all ...

Sunday, 12 December 2010

'Making Things' - Sorted and Depleted

A lie in, bizarrely interrupted by a call from Orange, trying to test my patience with making even a simple request difficult.

Met with Alex and Andrew to swim, with my costume still fitting (just!), then to 'The Rest is Noise' for brunch with Charlie and also a round of 'Blockbuster'. Had a little wander around Brixton, including finding a bargain 'Fat Face' top in a lovely shade of coral red in Barnardos.

Spent the day starting to tackle transforming the study into the nursery, starting off (and getting no further than) sorting out all my crafty 'making things' bits and pieces. The main objective was to get rid of anything I no longer would use or need, assign any useful items I don't need to the charity shop bag, and to make everything fit neatly in the smaller shelves in our bedroom.

Was somewhat long and arduous, though did occasionally get distracted by beautiful things and fabulous ideas. An almost full bin bag, a semi-full recycling bag and a full charity shop bag full later, progress has been made. And now there is somewhere to start putting all the baby books and bits and pieces I have started to accumulate.

Charlie has been exceptionally good at following through with his words over the last few days, and even went straight on to sort out some painful house company duties (filing our tax return) before bed ... he has an incredible capacity to get through these kind of tasks!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Festive Fun

Spent Friday night printing off bits and pieces for the first swathe of Christmas cards. As always, being sorted and sent way after I intended, but in general in time for people to get them before Christmas.

Up relatively early for me on a Saturday at 9 to battle with the Post Office, which gloriously did not have a queue, and then met up with Matthew (who was in town for a conference and a James concert) for a cup of tea, before going to Balham to get my hair cut by the lovely Rachel. She was very pleasant, and easy to talk to, and of course I enjoyed being pampered. Thinking now that I should have asked her to take a bit more of the length off, but no worry. She has made my hair look neater, more interesting and slightly shorter. Almost bought a moses basket at the Farah shop, but as it wasn't quite the bargain I was seeking (it didn't include the stand) decided to pass.

Back to Brixton to go to Kirsten's for her Danish Christmas-fest. Charlie was a little hungover after a night out with Keith and Andrew and others, but by this point in the day was coping better (hangovers are nice not to worry about at the moment for me).

There were lovely candles, traditional Danish decorations, traditional Danish paper-crafts, and various different cooking triumphs (including about a million biscuits). Had a lovely fun chilled out afternoon, and then Kirsten, Zoe, Charlie and I stayed up very late to play Lord of the Rings Risk. A strategically great game, but I was a bit too tired to appreciate it when it passed Midnight. A thankfully short 2 minute walk to get to bed.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Pink can be beautiful ...

Just had to capture the spectacular view from our kitchen this evening ... or should I say afternoon. Just stunning, nothing like a crisp winter sky, with the bare silhouettes of trees contrasting boldly, andthe endless chimneypots spreading off into the distance.

Had a constructive day working from home, and looking forward to my massage this evening, though not particularly looking forward to going out into the cold to get there.

**** UPDATED AT 11pm

The massage was WONDERFUL and totally worth the trek out in the cold. Baby was kicking strongly in the middle, which actually helped me to relax. My back has been getting a bit sore, so it was a complete relief.

Bit disappointed re the news on tuition fees ... can't bode well for access to education, social order or other future legislation.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Just couldn't bring myself to report my latest cold. The worst has now passed, but still snotty, sore throat, coughing etc. Hopefully creating lots of good antibodies for the baby, who has been kicking lots.

A very festive quiz yesterday, probably my last attendence as substitute, where I helped with knowing the 3 headed dog in Harry Potter is called Fluffy, that the Darling children in Peter Pan had a dog called Nana (though I may have said Nanny, oops) and that Doc Brown in Back to the Future had a dog called Einstein. Yes indeed, my specialist subject is pointless ephemera.

Working from home tomorrow, then looking forward to my preggie massage at Independent Mind, Body & Soul in Balham in the evening. Joy! Especially with a fun but not too busy weekend ahead.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Baby Moves ...

Woke up this morning with a throat like a gravel dirt-track. Lovely Fish got me a Lemsip and some chocolate brioche to help fix it before heading out to play on Boris Bikes with Jon and Miri.

Before he went, we both stared at my tummy for a few minutes, as I had seen for the first time a little bulge become visible and then disappear. It was quick but definite, she is getting stronger by the day! But she doesn't seem to want to perform for her Daddy ... will happen soon enough :)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Thoughful Day and a Cosy Evening In

Had a well needed lie-in this morning, especially as I seem to be coming down with scratchy throat illness. Had a fun time at my work Christmas party last night, Bollywood themed with delicious curry and a dance performance/lesson. Great fun.

Spent some time with Fish, talking about his Grandmother. Her death has affected us both, especially him, quite profoundly. Not surprising, considering how close they were.

Anyway, as Jon and Miri are over from Madrid for the weekend, took them with me to see Emma H from work at her flat, where she had soup, mince pies and mulled wine. Also, the studios near her house were having an open day, so had a wander round there.

Cooked garlic mushrooms, beef stew and M&S cheesecake for a cosy dinner in for us all, including Alex and Andrew, before spelding the evening playing indulgently on the Wii together.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

A wonderful woman and the circle of life

A sad day. We found out this morning that Charlie's grandmother, his beloved Yaya, has passed away. An incredibly inspiring woman and a loving and gracious individual, she taught us both many things about life.

I almost can't believe it. Having been to Greece almost every year to see them since 2001, and for Charlie for the whole of his life, she seemed so timeless. I am so pleased she made it to Erika & Dan's wedding this summer, to be a part of such a happy occassion.

And for her to know that we are having a baby, apparently she had been told it was going to be a little girl before she died. So now we have to be sure we are passing all those values she taught us to the new little one, making sure she grows up with the spirit and fire of Yaya Erika in her.

A video Charlie has made, with some lovely pictures of her.

Being interviewed in French, one of her many languages, on the veranda of their beautiful house.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Our Little Girl ...

... is very well, growing nicely. She hiccupped a little when we were looking at her, so cute!

Have been feeling quite emotional all day. For some reason, knowing the baby will be a girl means that I can see much more clearly her whole life stretching out in front of her. I think about what work she might do, who she might date and, even before I go through it myself, what children she might bear.

I feel a strong and very positive pressure to be a great role model for her, for her to grow up in a fun and free environment, and to feel an unbreakable bond with me and Charlie. He can teach her 'Go' and 'Carcasonne' and I can teach her how to bake bread and brownies.

And she can be whoever and whatever she wants to be.


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Ignorance is blistering

Was NOT helpful in tonight's pub quiz ... maybe won't get asked back again ... Nintendo are not bringing out a mobile phone, the boys stuck out at sea did not eat raw fish and Shirley Valentine is actually Shirley MacLaine, and anyway it was Susan Sarandon in Witches of Eastwick, not Shirley MacLaine. Sigh! However, another excellent fish and chips and some fun on the way.

Am nervous and excited about the next (and final?) scan tomorrow. Hope the baby is developing well and maybe we will even find out if it is a girl baby or a boy baby. Having felt at the early stages it was a boy, I am now completely on the fence. We shall see ...

... also, have added baby carrier pic :)

Monday, 29 November 2010

Grumpy and Listless

Spent the day working from home, due to the Tube strike causing crowing and general unpleasantness at Stockwell ... I am in no condition to be tolerating such challenging conditions!

Despite feeling very pleased not to be out in the freezing cold air this evening, found myself with no compulsion to do any of my ever-accumulating tasks. Have uploaded some more photos though, of Thanksgiving, meeting Richard & Christine, and Nathan & Caroline's wedding. Enjoy!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Giving Thanks

Spent the day celebrating Thanksgiving with Theresa, Demitris, Erika, Dan, Guy, Sadie and Ruby. S&R were, as ever, just lovely ... so good to see them. Ate an enormous and delicious turkey lunch, and spent the afternoon feeling relaxed and happy and chatting.

Braved the cold to get back to London at a reasonable time, fortunately the Tube strike was not yet in full swing.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Brisk cold and a day of rest

Slept deeply, the sleep of a woman who really needs it. After a lovely chatty breakfast, spent the afternoon with Theresa visiting a beautiful festive craft fair and had a well needed hot cup of tea in another country shop where they were selling lovely furniture.

Got back to find that Fishy had written some words, quite a few, but not quite as many as he would have liked. Had a delicious supper, beef stew and a pear dessert, and then watched 'In Bruges' which was pretty violent but quite innovative.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Busy and Bountiful

Was running a bit late back from work, and arrived at home at the same time as our dinner guests ... Kiwi Laura and Lucy, old uni friends. Laura we see every now and again as she is in London, but Lucy we have not seen for a long time. Alex and Andrew (eventually) joined us for lasagne and treacle tart, before L&L went to see Skunk Anansie at the Academy and we headed off to Brighton to spend Thanksgiving weekend with Theresa, Demitris and (on Sunday) Erika, Dan, Guy, Sadie and Ruby.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thursday Leisure

Took the afternoon off, visited Pimlico and Balham to see if there were any bargains in the Fara charity shops, including the maternity/kids shops. Bought our first proper baby item, a baby carrier! So exciting ...

Spent the evening catching up with jobs, making the house presentable again.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Was texted towards the end of the working day by Alex to see if I could substitute for one of his league winning pub quiz team. Hugely flattered, especially as I don't have a PhD, and so accepted. The pub was very pleasant, the Vauxhall Griffin, and did a mean Fish & Chips.

Was slightly helpful, knowing that a female donkey is called a Jenny, that Dick Dastardly's car in Wacky Races was 00, Boris Karloff's name, and unfortunately that Peter Andre's son is called Junior (the shame). Didn't win, but not a shameful loss either.

On a very different note, below is an image of flamingos forming the shape of a flamingo. So random an occurance that it proves there is a God? Maybe, or maybe the flamingoes just like to have a laugh.

Have also discovered by happy accident that I can write Hindi क्धेबका व्ज्रेवा रुरुरु ओस्क्व्ब and Tamil எஹ்ர்க் ௪ல்ப்ந்ஹ்ஸி ந்வ்க்சே and other scripts on my blog ... how useful!

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Timid Secularist

After a long but rewarding day, met up with Andrew for a tasty and filling Chinese meal, followed by an early Christmas present of going to see Bill Bailey's show 'Dandelion Mind' at Wyndhams Theatre. A much smaller venue than seeing him at Wembley, there was lots of audience interaction and many many laugh out loud moments. Especially when Andrew cheered delicately when Bill quoted the Pope saying that Britain had become a secularist state, leading Bill to label him the Timid Secularist.

Big highlight was the instrument made entirely out of old fashioned car horns with bulb ends which he played expertly.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Running ... not far for me though

Up at 6 to join Alex, Andrew and Jason for the 10km I was supposed to be running in Brighton. They did a great job, all running better times than they expected. After a carb-heavy lunch in Pizza Express and a short wander round Brighton Lanes, we headed back to London. After a quick shufti in Traid and Morleys, Andrew came back for a cup of tea and to kindly book my Christmas present (Bill Bailey's live show, tomorrow evening!).

A lazy evening, spent catching up on e-jobs and watching 'Some like it Hot' with Fish, who had a necessarily productive day writing 3,000 words.

Baby seems to be wiggling every now and again, but still can't wait for it to be more pronounced so I can show Fish!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Windsor Wedding

Some dashing around to get everything ready before heading West to Windsor for Caroline and Nathan's wedding. Windsor is really beautiful, with the enormous castle and winding hilly roads, and they chose the most sweet, stylish hotel for the day. Was great to see all the guys from our South America trip, everybody was on good form. And Caroline looked so beautiful.

There was a military theme too, with Nath being in the RAF ... was interesting learning about the different medals and uniforms. Excellent food too, avocado and lamb and a lemon tart. And we 'accented' the speeches with a bit of buzzword bingo which was well received by the groom.
Me and Lucy

Straight to bed on getting home, ready for an early morning the next day.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Harry Potter and the Birthday Gathering

Went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after work to celebrate Kirsten's birthday, along with others including Nat and Steve. It was ok, and had times of cringeworthy schmalz, tiresome pootling, anticipation and excitement. Headed back to Kirstens for champagne (only a drop for me) and nibbles, was good to meet her housemate too.

Headed back tired, but on taking a call, decided to meet Alex, Jason and Andrew for a quick drink at the Trinity, knowing we would have a lie-in the next day.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Street View Oddness

In London, we are well used to the fact that Google Street View has photographed all of our houses, cars and various random people, e.g. our flat below. I do like Street view in some ways, it is great if you are curious at to what somewhere looks like, or if you want to see what the random bar you are heading for of an evening actually looks like, rather than seeking in vain for a name.

But Street View has now mapped the whole of the UK, including my parents little road (hence the pic below), and for some reason this feels more invasive, even though I don't live there anymore. The house I grew up in, which we used to run round and round and round ... and where my parents still live. My mind wonders to where they were when the car went round Spalding and these shots were recorded. Or even when it was taken, no leaves on the tree so winter time is a good bet. What if people don't want pictures of their house on the internet to a scale where people can zoom into their windows and see what they were watching on tv at the time? The house does look lovely though, so neat.

By the way, in case you are interested, you can even go to Antarctica and see penguins on Street View now ...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

#My bump, my lovely lady bump. Check it out!#

So, as predicted after last week's immense tiredness, the bump has grown into a round beachball on my front. Still not completely obvious if you didn't know, but as I am finding it hard to keep my hands off it, it is reasonably clear that I am preggers. 19 weeks now, in fact.

Every now and again I think I feel a wiggle, but still feel I might be imagining it. I did read somewhere that, because my placenta is on the front, it may take a bit longer for me to feel it. And it has definitely grown, so all seems well.

Any movement yet?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Social Sabbath

After a lazy brunch in Moseley, headed back to the metropolis by train. After a brief nip home to leave our bags, we headed back out again to Waterloo, to see Andrew M. Having fallen in love, he had managed to arrange a 6 month secondment in NYC, where the apple of his eye lives, and so was having drinks to say goodbyes before heading off. Life is stranger than fiction.

And then on to see Christine and Richard, distant family from Eugene, Oregon. Was great to talk family trees, babies, US politics, all in the yummy setting of Carluccios restaurant. They very kindly gave us a couple of baby related gifts, and above all it was lovely to catch up. I hope Robin will also be able to join us next year, as I know he and Richard would have so much to talk about.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

B'ham Bound

A leisurely jaunt by train from Euston to Birmingham to stay with Miranda and Nigel, and to see Jess, Ruth and Wela. Miranda goes down as one of the most incredible hosts I know, with homemade bread, a guestroom in the loft and scrabble tile cushions with an 'E' and a 'C' on our bed. Ok, that was our 30th birthday present from earlier in the year, but a wonderful touch nonetheless!

A lovely day, relaxing with a cup of tea in front of the surprisingly entertaining England vs Australia Rugby match (as opposed to the painfully one-sided Scotland vs NZ match).

An excellent curry later, we returned to watch the boxing, which was surreal. It had the build up of WWF wresting from my childhood, and was over practically before it began.

Tried sitting quietly to see if I could feel baby move. A couple of twitches, but still nothing conclusive ... a least it seems baby doesn't like rugby ... phew :)

Friday, 12 November 2010

Atheists don't have no songs

Aisha and the first multi-legged arthropods

Still tired, so having another lazy evening in. Watching David Attenborough explore the origins of life, and the first creature to walk on land, which he calls Aisha, and its modern equivalent, the velvet worm.

After digging around in the damp trunk of a fallen Australian tree in a rainforest, I expected something completely grotesque and pointy. Instead, the velvet worm turned out to be extremely cute, with bimbly legs and a soft coat, so I thought I woud share it with you. Happy weekend!

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Still slightly disorientated and tired, verdict seems to be that baby is having a growth spurt. So mummy gets sapped of all energy and ability to use reason and logic. Oh well, guess it is a good sign!

Even had a washable nappy lesson at work today from Marianne, who showed Cat and I the wonders of pocket nappies, boosters, poppers etc. Was actually quite exciting, I think I have been so weirded out by having my life ruled by dirty nappies for a few years, that I have been making it worse in my mind than it really is.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Baby Factory

I seem to have entered a new phase, which consists of being exhausted and drinking my bodyweight in milk. Seriously, I am on 2 - 3 pints a day at the moment. And, after 3 hours unconscious on the sofa, I have now dragged myself to bed for what I hope will be 8 hours more. I do feel a bit like I am under the weather, but as my dear husband reminded me this morning, it is no wonder I am tired as I am essentially a factory for making a baby at the moment. A funny thought but true, that even when I am ostensibly doing nothing, I am actually doing something pretty demanding to my body.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

South of Brixton

Round to Caroline's near Herne Hill after lunch to meet with her, Lucy and Amy (South America buddies) to help 'assemble' Caroline's wedding favours. We did a good job, along with nibbles, tea and lots of chatting.

Then to Streatham to play board games with Charlie, Alex, Kate and Greg which consisted of me watching 3 rounds of Galaxy Trucker (quite happy to0 watch rather than play), a jolly reminder of how fun Run for President is, then (after Alex had left) a couple of play-testing games of Greg's game 'Fern's Kitchen'. When we first met him, he showed us his 'Who Stole my Chicken' game which looked pretty fun, so v fun to be part of the actual game testing and tweaking.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

A Night In

Invited the neighbours round for an evening of drinks. Patrick from upstairs popped in briefly before heading out for the night, and we were then joined by Lucas and Camille from downstairs, who also had their friend Mattias with them. Andrew was round too, so we all sat around and talked about Britain, and Chile (where they are from), politics, how expensive train travel is in the UK ... so very pleasant and relaxing.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Walking, Technology and Quickening

My third day of walking 50 minutes as part of my journey to and from work, with a bit of Northern Line fun thrown into the mix. It is exhilerating at this stage, showing how unfit I am, but I am convinced being fit will lead to a quicker and less painful labour, so on I go. While I was tired and sick, it was not so easy, but now I have no excuse. The Tube strike again was not too troublesome for me, as the Northern Line was going (just not stopping at a few stations, including Oval and Borough, making my journey quicker), just very crammed carriages. A fairly good and relaxed day at work doing Equality and Diversity Training ... I am now both equal and diverse all at once!

Also managed to charge up and register my new snazzy internet phone today ... it promises so many fun things, but I am a complete beginner. One step at a time, it was hard enough just to figure out that I had to put the battery in before I charged it. D'oh!

And also, I am pretty sure that I have felt the first wigglings of a little baby Fish in my tummy. Hard to describe, kind of swirly and wiggly is the best I can really do. Not fizzing, like some have said, or even like fluttering. But reassuring, all the same ... especially as I become more and more convinced that I am not imagining it. Go baby go!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The East Anglia of London

Wandered to Bermondsey to go on a guided London Walk through Rotherhithe, by the river and to the newly reopened tunnel build by Brunel and his father in the 19th Century, the first tunnel under a river.

Rotherhithe seems very much like East Anglia ... as it is a peninsula, unless it is your destination, there are never reasons for nearby folk to go through it. So we, as adopted Londoners, had never really explored the area. And it is quite beautiful, with old warm pubs and endless wharf buildings (Ware House And River Frontage ... who knew that 'wharf' was an acronym?!).

It was a chilly evening, and as we wandered round it was exciting when we reached the culmination of the walk ... the tunnel entrance itself.

The above picture depicts one of the banquets held in the tunnel for stakeholders, in an attempt to raise more money to finish the job. It is a remarkable story, but mostly without visuals ... as the tunnel these days is used by the London Overground line.

So how, you may well ask, could we go in the tunnel to look at it? Well, we did not see any of the horizontal tunnel, but as the Brunel Museum had managed to make a deal with the engineering contractors, a new concrete floor had been put in place so people could see the vertically cylindrical entrance hall, where people used to descend to see the tunnel, and walk through it if they were brave enough, in Victorian times. So, it was more old and musty than spectacular ... but it was more about what it meant and represented, than how it looked.

And the welcoming central heating of the old Mayflower pub was very well received by us, and we tucked into some fabulous winter fare before pootling home.

Not too inconvenienced by the Tube strike in getting home, the buses were kind to us.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Man, I feel like a woman ...

Had something of an enlightened day today about the role of women in the world, and how women are the key to a better, healthier planet. Triggered by a couple of things:

1 - Listened to a Guardian podcast about the Millennium Development Goals, about how so many of them revolve around women ... education of women so they can pass on that education to the families they are raising, in terms of health, good living, nutrition, making choices, childbirth ... the list is endless!

2 - Read a painfully true Guardian article about the lack of strong genuinely inspiring role models for young women today. That the media is filled with 'princess' stories about heiresses and vacuous women whose only vision of success is marrying some rotten loaded footballer with dodgy values. Feeling suddenly angry and passionate about raising my children to aspire to greater things, not just the traditional gender stereotypes that the media continues to proliferate.

Clicked through to the website and felt very drawn to the 'i'm no princess' and 'future ROLE model' themes it is trying to inspire.

I am sure I am acutely aware of all this stuff from being on the brink of parenthood, makes me pleased that I was a bit of a tomboy when I grew up, surrounded by grubby football playing boys who have never particularly treated me as a precious princess ... in a really good way. I like being a grounded, intelligent woman and I am proud of it. And, if I have a daughter, I hope I can pass that groundedness on to her.

Cheryl Cole, Kerry Katona, Katie Price and Paris Hilton can all kiss my @*&.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Spooky Wooky!

Had a cosy night in on Friday decorating the flat and carving the pumpkin, stunning results shown above (one of my best yet!). Had a lazy morning and afternoon on Sat watching films, 'You only live twice' and 'Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark' to name a couple. And people arrived steadily throughout the afternoon, a bit too steadily to play werewolf as we had planned, though a game of Carcasonne was squeezed in.

Great to see everybody, and some fab costume abounded ... devils, ghostbusters, dead people and tea party activists. Oh yes, and a zombie witch!
I felt a little underdressed in my pumpkin bump t-shirt, was was still feeling a bit under the weather from my cold, especially because I have still been coughing a lot. But still managed to stay up till 2:30 BST.

Ruth, her boyfriend Wela and Nick H all stayed over, so we had a lovely brunchy lunch at the Rest is Noise today with Kirsten, Matty, Andrew and Alex.

So, the decapitated head was in the fridge, the bloody arm in the bathtub, and all is well with the world for another year. Wa-ha-ha-haaaa!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Spooky Approach

Starting to make plans for the enormous pumpkin I bought yesterday (and the teeny tiny pumpkin I bought). Very excited about the weekend, good to hear about various people who are coming.

Cold is improving, though still coughing a bit.

Thinking pumpkin soup will go down well as we play werewolf in the afternoon on Sat.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

What type are you?

After a day of sleeping, nose blowing and drinking my bodyweight in Lemsip and squash, I now feel like I am over the worst. Yet to be proven, but feeling more like I need to get some fresh air into the house, which can only be a good sign.

On a completely different note, I just wanted to talk briefly about how beautiful letters and words are. Partly from the joyous year I spent studying Calligraphy, partly my love of the English language, and partly from my annual greetings/Christmas card outputs, I know that lettering bring such joy, and yet we all take it for granted. This can be seen at the moment by the tirade against 'Comic Sans', or as I might rename it, the 'annoying clown font'.

For those of you with a spare 2 minutes, you can do this quiz to determine what type(face) you are. To be fair, I din't quite agree with what it suggested for me, but it was such a joy to look at the other types that I am now convinced that it is just because the questions could not quite address the complexity of being me :)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Meeauugh!! (Sniffle ...)

Went into work this morning despite feeling even more snotty and achy throated than yesterday. But endless nose blowing just got worse and worse, so went home to work on a few necessary areas in the afternoon and to take it a bit easy.

Don't think it is 'flu, don't think I have ever had 'flu. No temperature, just feeling wretched, achy, hurty throat and oodles of snot. Drinking lots of fluids, I hope it passes pretty quickly.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Snot Overload!

Ok, so I knew it was coming. Having been quite snotty all week, I felt that a cold was in the post, and being pregnant does not make me immune. So, having awoken from my very strange dream of having dinner with Charlie, Matthew, David Cameron and George Osbourne where DC and GO paid with £50 notes (another bizarre manifestation of preggie vivid dream syndrome!), I found myself with a sore trachea, coughing up some interesting mucus and with even more snot than before.

Don't feel too bad in myself, but will be taking it a bit easy today. Mainly just hoping the cough doesn't get worse. Might have a lazy bath and cuddle up with a blankie in the lounge. Hopefully Natalie is coming round for lunch, and Jon is cooking an epic curry for the occassion, so shoudl also hopefully help to clear up my sinuses. Here's hoping!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Warm and Indulgent Day In

Didn't quite feel up to walking 10 miles in the rain, so left Charlie, Alex, Jon and Andrew to it for the day ... my waterproof jacket almost fit Jon ...

Have made the final adjustments to this year's Christmas card, so that is now all ready to go. Some good advance planning there! Then spent a lot of the afternoon cooking, making a Shepherds Pie for dinner, making a lasagne for the freezer, and making gooey chocolate brownies for dessert, with creme fraiche and a spiced plum compote. Was great to spend a bit of time just playing in the kitchen, with the new Star Trek and Empire Strikes Back on in the background to keep me amused.

So great to have a cosy warm house full of people (E, C, Andrew, Alex, Jon, Erika T, Kirsten) now the evenings are drawing in, and great to feed them all after a long tiring days walking ... they all looked knackered! Alex also kindly brought round a bottle of champagne to toast the foetus, was nice to have a bit of celebration. I had the teeniest sip, was totally worth it!

Erika T went home early, not feeling too good, and after Alex and Andrew left, C, K and J watched 'Falling Down'. Was a bit confused by the laughter I could hear as I fell asleep, I didn't think it was a comedy!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Cosy Winter Evening In

Made lasagne (both meaty and veggie) for Jon, Kirsten and Hannah B, lovely to see them all and have a cosy evening in. Also made the Jamie Oliver Portuguese tarts again, much better the second time round!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The London Film Festival Marries Itself

A whole throng of us, 13 I believe, gathered at the BFI on London's Southbank to watch a collection of short films which culminated in The Man Who Married Himself, the short fiolm Charlie wrote based on his short story of the same name. Some odd and some good films before it, but it definitely shone as a funny, bright and pacey piece.

Dinner afterwards at Pizza Express, lovely to see the Keats, Jacksons, Smiths, a Toth and a Jongberg!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Hail to the Chef

Lots of cooking in preparation for the weekend ... nothing better than having delicious food ready at minimal notice.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Christmas Planning

Made some good progress in planning this year's Christmas card. Pleased to realise I will soon have 10 years of handmade cards under my belt. A cosy thought.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Belated Happy Birthday ...

... to the blog, which turned 1 year old on 5th Oct without my noticing. Must have been distracted by something ;)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Caroline's Hen - Back in Time!

Met at Westminster Abbey for a 1940's themed Treasure Hunt at 10am, which had us traipsing round the Cabinet War Rooms, asking a nice young man to sing 'pack up your troubles' for us and kissing various Churchill statues. Met back at the Red Lion on Whitehall, and then to the restaurant Sarastro.A fabulous, theatrical venue, apparently they have people singing opera on some nights. Gold fabric and harlequin flashes cover the walls, and some tables are completely set away in a stage or audience box setting.

We all brought Caroline a pair of knickers for her 'bridal trousseau' (I still don't know what that is!), and one brave and brilliant soul (not me) knitted some!

Then back home to prepare for an evening out in Shoreditch, hairpins and red lipstick at the ready for full 40's glamour.
Had lovely chats with Caroline, the South America ladies, and another pregnant lady Claire, who is 7 months and was happy to chat about her NCT experiences.

Moseyed on home to meet with Fish who had been writing at the Ritzy all day, and yet again indulged a craving for a Macdonalds Cheeseburger (why that? I never usually eat Macdonalds?!?!) on the way home.

Friday, 15 October 2010

More Pottos ...

Just in case you don't know what one looks like, here is a pic from Cincinnati Zoo:
In some parts of Africa it is called a 'Softly-Softly' ... I love it!

Pottos and Meercats and Piranhas ... oh my!

Finished work at lunch and spent a lovely day with Mink at London Zoo ... so exciting! Some mild threat of disappointment in the night zone when the pottos seemed to be hiding, but they made up for it when we went back a minute later ... they are so stretchy and furry and lovable!

Highlights include the pottos (of course), meercats, penguins, the spotty stingray. Then joined a bit bundle of lovely ladies for the first meal to kick off Caroline's hen weekend ... a weekend of fun awaits!