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 http://www.pinkstinks.co.uk/ 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 @*&.