Tuesday, 31 January 2012

If you go down to the woods today ...

After a morning of admin, washing and jobs, we rewarded ourselves by going on our first road excursion over the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods.

Though we did get a bit lost on the way and took a happy detour to Stinston Beach and had a little Route 1 coastline drive ... just beautiful to see the Pacific.

One of few Redwood forests remaining, it was a place of great tranquility.  Incredible to see the height and width that some of these trees grow to, and I found the smell of pine and bark wonderful.  We tried to get lots of lungfuls of clean air before making our way back to the city.

We had started watching Gone with the Wind last night, so after Skyping David this evening, we watched the second half.  It is a proper epic, a magnificent film.

Plus I used the opportunity to play with my new craft toy ... yay!  An early birthday present from Mr Fish :)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Thrift Store Paradise

After a day of admin yesterday, and looking after Penny was Charlie went to play board games with the locals, I felt I deserved some fun today.  So after a leisurely morning (given P kept us both up in the night), I jumped on the L train to 'Church', and visited some of the vintage, thrift and general tchotchke shops on and around Valencia Street.

Oh my word ... was a plethora of wonder was there!  Given that we are a good way around the world, it truly is the case that one man's trash is another man's treasure.  I got a few great bits and pieces for me, including some new work trousers, and also a pile of lovely stuff for Penny, who will need 12-18 month sizes when we get back.  And all cheap as chips!  Blissful ... and I even spotted another massive thrift store on the bus ride home.  That will be the next excursion then, and I will definitely take Charlie next time.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

San Franciscans

Another relaxed morning, along with a little jaunt down the hill to the Safeway on Taraval Street to pick up groceries.  Then we navigated the public transport system (no. 48 bus doesn't go on weekends, so resorted to L train and BART) to get to 24th St Mission to see Keller and Joe.  Was good to see them both, and nice to revel in a chilled out sunny Saturday with them.

Also met with Kristiana and her friend Stef in Dolores Park, where we sat on Keller's rug and played with Penny, who was by now in a jolly mood, after being a little grumpy while we grabbed tacos for lunch.

Then off home to settle down for dinner and bed.

Oh, and I have put up a couple of Tumblr posts showing some of the pretty and fun things in Pam's apartment.

Friday, 27 January 2012


Just a quick note to say that I have added a pic or two to the previous post.

We woke today, after an interrupted night though both of us slept plenty, to beaming sunshine again.  Our presumption is that the SF weather will be consistently changeable.  So we took the opportunity to be tourists and nipped on a couple of busses to get us to Pier 33 and the boat to ALCATRAZ!

I spent a lot of the day saying 'ALCATRAZ!' in an Eddie Izzard type way, and we had a brilliant day out.  We just caught a boat going out, and both the walking tour and the audio guide were compelling.

The city looked beautiful from the island, with sunshine glittering off the water in the bay.  Such a contrast with the confinement of the prison, where some of the most notorious criminals in the country were removed of their liberty and their humanity.  Charlie said that it was very reminiscent of Brixton prison, though at least with Brixton there had been some attempt at modernisation (whereas Alcatraz was closed in 1963).  But as they had been built at a similar time, this was no surprise.

Penny was exceptionally well behaved, and seemed to enjoy the walk and the exploring round the cells and the grounds.

Then we managed to jump on a boat going back to the shore (no queuing for us, yay!) before having a well-deserved lunch/dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.  We also popped in to Boudin's Bakery, one of my favourite places, as it sells so many lovely kitchen bits and pieces, and always has bread baked in fabulous shapes ... we saw a bread crocodile, and a bread dragon with a bread tortoise in its mouth.  Maybe a nod to Chinese new year?

Then home for a relaxing evening before bed ... another full day of touristy stuff, though I think the weekend will be a bit more admin based.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A Walk in the Park

Up at 4am (midday GMT) when P was up, though C kindly offered to look after her, so I grabbed a further couple of hours of sleep.

We rested in the house for the morning, with me making a batch of steamed apple for P, plus a big batch of spag bol for us.

Then our first excursion out into the big city.  We walked all the way from Quintara to the Golden Gate Park.  Lots of fog meant that we could barely see past our own noses (pretty standard in SF, apparently), but we enjoyed stretching our legs after the confinement of the previous day.

We wandered through, past the lake with the far too forward pigeons, and past the Japanese Tea Garden.  Then we went on to Haight Ashbury area, with all its Camden-esque hippy shops and little cafe bars.  We stopped for a bit, and then navigated the bus system home.  Which was pretty easy, but would be hard if you had to manage it by yourself (the buses have lots of steps and are v high, so big issues with pushchair access).

Then home for spag bol dinner.  Currently trying very hard to stay awake for as long as possible (currently at 8pm, 4am GMT) to get us back to normal as soon as possible.  P went to bed at 7, so she is almost back to normal.  It has been a hard shift for her, but we have let her nap whenever she wants, and the daylight is an excellent help for keeping her awake.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Very Long Day

Up at 6 to get to Heathrow.  All went very smoothly, included all our extra baby stuff.  hey made me sip P's water and eat one of her jars of food, though I was sure to eat the apple crumble ... yum!

P only slept a little in her 'car seat' style seat on the bulkhead wall.  She has a few grumpy points and a few very happy points, both of which made her a little hard to manage in such a small space.  I got a little sleep and Charlie watched a few films.

We were greeted at SFO by beaming sunshine, and we jumped in a taxi to get to Pam's place.  We managed to get in easily enough, and noticed her bags were still there.  So we did end up meeting her after all.  She was very pleasant, and clearly had a great deal of travelling under her belt, so we were sure Brixton would not phase her too much.

The apartment is beautiful, uniquely decorated with lots of art, with a strong retro feel (especially for the 70's and art deco 20's).  Just what we needed.

We took and excursion to the supermarket to get provisions, and started to feel painfully tired on the way back, despite being thrilled by all the goodies on offer (string cheese, cinnamon toast crunch, cookies etc.).  So at 6pm (2am GMT) P went to bed, followed by us at 7pm (3am GMT). P was up at midnight, but kindly went back to sleep for 4 hours lying on me in bed.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Whistle while you Work

After C and I went to my last Wriggle and Rhyme session at the library for a LONG time, Erika kindly came round to look after Penny today, while C and I dashed round cleaning, tidying and packing.

And so, as we were free to leave E with the baby, the house was ENTIRELY ready and we were ENTIRELY packed by around 9pm ... wow!

Really pleased with and proud of how good to the place looks for our flat-swapping partner, and very much looking forward to our trip now!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Charlie's Last Day

Charlie finished off late from his last day before Paternity Leave, but seemed very chilled out as Jason's for our NCT meet up.  As C put it, it hadn't quite sunk in yet.

I had started the cleaning yesterday (ensuite, spare room, bathroom), so he finished off the bathroom and ran around doing various other bits and pieces.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Brighton, Singing, Mattie and Matty

Gathered in Brighton with Theresa, Demetris, Keith, Danni, Matilda and Bettie for a day of good food, and playing with the kids.  Was lovely to see them all together, and Mattie seemed particularly pleased to see Penny.  Very interesting (and a little scary) to see how two children changes the dynamic of a family, and adds so much complexity.

Back home in time for me to dash to karaoke with Andrew and co, while Charlie took Penny home.  Highlights included the group version of 'Don't you want me, Baby' (or, 'Don't you want us, Babies'), Chloe and Tony performing 'Higher & Higher' (their wedding song) and the various rude words in 'Poker Face' and 'Forget You'.

Got back to prepare for Matthew's arrival with Anna, but A was not feeling well, so turned out he enjoyed Cirque de Soleil by himself.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Delicious Dinner

After visiting Sonia's new house with all the other mums and babies, had a lovely evening at ours catching up with Erika and Dan, who are now back from Argentina.  Norris also joined us, and we had Mozzerella Tomato Avocado salad, followed by Beef Casserole (veggies for Norris) and Lemon Mousse (which I was very pleased with, I highly recommend you click through to the recipe).

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Sick Sick Sick

Had a relaxed day, made camembert and courgette soup for me, Norris, Amy and Caroline, who were popping round before going to see The Iron Lady, then had a pleasant evening chatting with Noz.

BUT THEN ... after her milk, and just before I put her down, P was spectacularly sick.  Exorcist sick.  All her lunch and dinner came up, and went all down my cleavage and over the nursery carpet.  Norris very kindly came out to help, and after I tidied up, P and I cuddled up as she wasn't keen on settling.

Charlie came back late, as he had been out at 'You Me Bum Bum Train' having lots of fun.  I said the immortal words 'don't worry, she can't be sick any more', and promptly he found himself holding a projectile vomiting baby, with all her evening milk pumping out over our duvet and over his shirt.

Poor Penny!

But she dealt with it very well, and was very smiley after both incidents.

P was still not settling, so we cuddled up in the lounge, hopefully allowing the working souls in the house to get some shut-eye.  At about 2am, she gave up and dropped off, and amazingly did not wake in the night!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Busy Day

Had a useful catch up with my manager at 9, interesting to here where my organisation is, and where it is going ... am excited to be going back, if a little apprehensive about how it will feel to be away from P.

Then it occurred to me that Tuesday is Wriggle and Rhyme day, so rushed through porridge with P ... had a nice cuppa with Jo in the Ritzy afterwards.

Dashed around getting a set of keys cut for Andrew, and getting them recut when they didn't work.

Then, as Mum and Dad looked after P, went to the dentist.  Nothing major, but decided finally to invest in an electric toothbruth to improve my brushing technique.

Then out to the Vauxhall Griffin pub quiz in the evening for Alex's inaugural session as quizmaster ... we did not do very well, except we did win hats in a spot prize!

Monday, 16 January 2012

A New Week

Good to see Mum and Dad, had a quick cuppa and Penny cuddle before popping round to Sophie's.  Then made dinner for us all, a pretty good Shepherd's Pie, if I do say so myself!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bike Trip Video Hooray!

Bike Trip 2011 from Charlie Fish on Vimeo.

After I went for a run, Charlie premiered his bike trip video, so we were joined by Andrew, Alex, Greg, Kate and Matthew G for the grand event.  Obviously went down very well, and so we celebrated in the Trinity with a late lunch and a drink.

Greg and Matthew G popped back for a cuppa, and Greg stayed to help Charlie play-test his traffic flow game.

We also spent a bit of time playing our new compelling, timewasting obsession - Kingdom Rush!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Best of Days!

Norris very sweetly asked me if I would like to be one of her bridesmaids before Christmas, yay!  So, along with her old friend Heather who is also a bridesmaid, we spent the day casually shopping for wedding and bridesmaids dresses along the Kings Road.

Don't think I have had such a pleasant, efficient and fun day in a long time!  Not only did we find some stunning bridesmaids dresses, we also had a relaxing lunch, and we even found Norris' wedding dress.

It was only afterwards that we realised it was a good thing that we had been so efficient, as it would be quite a rare occasion for us to all meet up in future, as Heather lives up north.

They came back home for a cup of tea, and for Heather to see Penny and Fish.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Tropical Waterbeach

P and I jumped on a train to the exotic paradise location of Waterbeach, just north of Cambridge.  Actually, it was more of an English rural idyll, by the River Cam and with quiet open fields.

Was met by my colleague Rachel, who was carrying Freddie (same age as P) and Isla (3?) was in her pushchair.  We walked for about an hour back to her house, where our other colleague Marianne had arrived with Emily (same age as P) and Jonathan (4?).

We had a lovely day, relaxing together with delicious homemade butternut squash soup, and popping out to the park. They are good friends, as well as colleagues, and I hope we stay in touch, whatever the work situation.

Spent a relaxing evening with Fish watching 'American Splendour', his film from our 12 Days of Xmas.  It was good, quirky and totally disrespectful of the 4th wall.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Still Grumpy ...

... but had a lovely afternoon at the V&A and NHM.

More photos at my new Tumblr page here.


It is horrible that, after 18 months of happy chemicals swarming through my bloodstream, eventually all the horrid ones have to come back.  I guess I should be grateful that I had such a lovely pregnancy, and was protected from the evil hormone beasties in the early days of having a baby, but they are hitting hard now.

I just feel grumpy and cross ... and I am not used to it.

Thinking of going to the V&A and the NHM to try and get myself out of this sulk.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Visit from Yaya

Spent a lovely evening with Theresa, who was popping in during a visit to London.  She brought a bright and sunny babygrow for P, and had a lovely time playing with her while I got the dinner ready.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Making Things

We all had a little lie in, as we went to bed so late.  A little running around needed to sort the house out before Charlie's D&D pals came round.  Went for a run, then P, Kirsten and I went round to Norris' for a making things day.

Good to sit around, chatting to Becky and Kirsten, and gluing bits of paper when someone else was holding P.

Arrived back to find them drawing the D&D to a close to try and cram in a game of Risk Legacy, so Kate and Andrew popped round too and we all had pizza.

Another episode of Sherlock ... not as good as last week's but not bad.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Relax and Have Fun

Spent a very relaxed day with Fish and Penny.  I got up early with the little one, and then handed over at 11:30 so I could grab a couple of hours extra sleep.  In the afternoon I also had a bath, and watched a few episodes of Outnumbered, which was a v kind Xmas prezzie from Matty.  The kids are SOOO small in the first series, though it does make a little nervous for when Penny gets big.

Then we went to Noz and Liam's in the evening with Andrew and Alex for a great dinner party.  Mushroom Soup, Veggie Burgers and Ice Cream abounded, and I just can't believe how quickly the time went.  P was pretty good, though was getting grouchy and sleepy towards the end (which was late, about 1:30am!)

Lovely to just sit around in their stylish new house, drinking lots of wine and talking about all sorts ... how a proper dinner party should be :)

Friday, 6 January 2012


Believe it or not, I spent a LOT of this week writing.  I did go for a run on Thursday evening, but other than that I was in proper scribbler mode, managing to churn out 12k words in a few days.

Bodes well for writing more as I come to the end of my Mat leave ...

Met Robin and Marion at Pizza Express on Fri evening, after their visit to 'The Railway Children' at Waterloo.  Lovely to catch up with them, they seem excited about all their upcoming adventures.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Up twice in the night with Penny, so v tired in the morning and sad to see Charlie go back to work ... though I suppose he only has 13 days left before another big break.

Pottered around sorting out and tidying, and was joined by Sophie, Sonia, Jason and babies in the afternoon.  I had made a chocolate chip cake on Sun, and although it was ok, it wasn't quite as fabulous as I had hoped.

To be honest, I am amazed that anybody came along at all, as the wind and rain were terrible.

Managed to get my teeth into some writing in the evening, so much so that it was hard to get to sleep

Monday, 2 January 2012

Back to Normality

Met up with Andrew and Alex at the Trinity for a relaxing lunch and a little game of Dixit, as they are all going back to work tomorrow.

Got through various jobs, shopping, tidying etc ... but overall just enjoyed a quiet evening in with Charlie as he made even more progress on the bike trip video.

I suppose normality starts again tomorrow, after a fantastic and wonderful Christmas.

Our 12 Days of Christmas
Day 9: A Picture
I sent Charlie a sweet photo of him and Penny, and he is going to look into a friend of his drawing a pencil portrait of P, as he is apparently particularly good.  How exciting!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Years Day - Risk Legacy

Charlie had invited various people round to play Risk Legacy, an apparently more sophisticated version of Risk that changes each time you play it.

Didn't really interest me, so I spent the day trying to start the new year in a positive and focussed way by going through my various 'to do lists'.

Oh, and I also managed to sneak in a few games of Rabbids with Alex.

Very pleased with the new Sherlock on BBC, an excellent start to the 3 new episodes.  Naughty, cutting, compelling and challenging.

Our 12 Days of Christmas
Day 8: A Massage
Speaks for itself, though as we had lots of guests and sorting out to do, this one has been slightly delayed ... looking forward to it!