Saturday, 29 August 2009

Name of the Day

Here I am, hard at work at 8am on a Saturday morning. But my day has already been brightened by this announcement from The Times of Thursday 13 August:

Inglis-Jones. On 12th August 2009, to Arabella (Madam Kincaid of Kincaid, nee Lennox) and Giles, a daughter Kalula Charis Hope, a sister for Angus, Jessie, Isabella and Dominic.'

Firstly: 'Madam Kincaid of Kincaid'? What is that? 'Madam' always brings to mind brothels.
Secondly: Kalula? Do they mean Kahlua? Is that what Madam has been drinking?

Friday, 28 August 2009

Festivalwatch III

A mix of sunshine and showers today meant that hot drinks were the order of the day from the next door neighbour's front garden.
And plastic macs were de rigeur.

Then came the early evening and all went eerily quiet.
The man selling pork pie hats had no customers (not that he seemed to have any when the street was teeming with Festival-goers.)
Clearly the big bands had started to take to the stage.

With the wind blowing in the right direction (or the wrong direction, depending on your mindset and desire to go to sleep) we could hear the music and the crowds singing along, although because we are not young enough to recognise which band was playing, I can't tell you who it was we were listening to.

International Businessman made it home safely from The Land of Toberlerones, bringing with him a handful of mini Toberlerones, a tube of Lindor chocs and a box of fancy Lindt truffles. Didn't he do well?! Did I mention that I like chocolate?!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Festivalwatch II, and a visit to the Cotswolds

Things are hotting up on the Festival front, it's getting busy, busy, busy. These were the scenes from the hide (well, bedroom window) this morning:
Free squash going down a treat

Spot the tout...

And on a completely different note, the Family W took a day trip to the Cotswolds on Sunday. First stop was Burford, a village we have driven through several times and admired from the safety of the car, but somewhere we had never yet stopped. So this time we decided to disembark and investigate whether Burford could be a future home for us.
After careful consideration involving going in to lots of the shops, buying a new cross-stitch project (me, not hubby) and eating a sandwich from Maison Blanc (clearly a monumental decision about our future can't be made on an empty stomach), we came to the conclusion that while Burford is an extremely pretty village (as can be seen from the photos above and below), it's not somewhere that we could see ourselves living due to being a bit too touristy for our liking. It's fine for a place to be 'touristy' when you are a tourist but not so good, we find, if you actually live there.
With that in mind, we then headed off for our fifth return visit to Chipping Norton, the current fave on our list of possible places to live. We made haste directly to the rather lovely bookshop/cafe/artspace that is Jaffe & Neale where we partook of some yummy cake and a hot drink. I was very excited to see that one of my favourite authors - Lindsey Davis - will be making an appearance there in October, so it looks like a return trip is not too far off.
While we were in Jaffe & Neale, the boys did a spot of reading.

DC loves a good book, but in this instance he put up with what his Daddy was reading. Didn't taste quite as good as his own books.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


It's a bit like Springwatch but with me instead of Kate Humble, Bille Oddie, Chris Packham, etc. And the creatures we are watching are slightly different.

This weekend is the Reading Festival, a three-day event featuring loud music and attended by many thousands of people (mostly of the young variety.) We (by 'we' I mean DC & I since International Businessman has very cleverly arranged to be in The Land of Toberlerones while this is happening) have the dubious pleasure of living on the main route, both pedestrian and vehicular, to the festival site. Thus, upwards of 80,000 people will walk, stagger, ride, drive or be driven past our very front door over the next few days, including the festival-goers, the bands, the press, the stallholders, the touts, and anyone else who either likes music, performs music or can make a fast buck out of music.

This is the usual scene from our bedroom window (quite a panorama, eh?!)

Usual scene, but with addition of direction sign for Festival

Although the bands don't start performing until Friday, already we have witnessed the arrival of a fair few festival-goers, and the accompanying bandwagon that goes with them. Thus, our next door neighbour has set up a stall in his front garden and, along with some young pups from his church, has been giving out free non-alcoholic drinks - tea, coffee, squash - perhaps accompanied by a sermon on the evils of drink, drugs, and rock'n'roll.

A pikey fence builder then pulled up in the parking bay outside the house and attempted to sell firewood to the masses. Unfortunately for him, the undercover Council officers were out on the prowl and he was soon moved along.

And, of course, there are the ubiquitous touts, standing out like enormous sore thumbs, casually muttering 'Tickets, buy or sell' to anyone who passes by. Didn't get a snap of them, but there's plenty of time for that.

I'm mostly enjoying todays antics as I have been watching them from the comfort of my cosy home while outside it is raining. What other kind of weather would you expect for a Festival?

Monday, 24 August 2009

Name of the Day

From The Times, 6th August:

"Zavodna-Reekie-Black. On 29th July 2009, to Magda and Matthew, a first born son, Eduard Charles, Deo Gratis"

Assume 'Deo Gratis' is not part of Eduard's nomenclature, along with his triple-barrelled-surname and vaguely mis-spelled first name.

Am sad that hubby & I didn't think of announcing the arrival of DC in The Times, something along the lines of

"Wilkinson. On 20th March 2009, to Wifey and Hubby, a first born son, 17 days late, very wrinkled in appearance, somewhat pretentiously given three first names in vain attempt at social ladder-climbing."

Saturday, 22 August 2009

What's in a Name?

Mostly (or not quite mostly) I am a grown up and I know right from wrong. I know it is wrong to laugh at other people, but sometimes I just can't help myself. There were times in the past when I watched You've Been Framed and nearly wet myself, and this was pre-childbirth so things must have been really funny. Today something tickled me almost as much as seeing an old lady/small child/cute puppy fall in to a hedge/pond/muddy puddle.

Let me give you the background. My job involves reading and indexing the Business section of The Times newspaper. Yawnsville, I know, but my knowledge of quantitative easing is second to none and I bet there's not many people can say that. At the end of the business news comes the Register where you will find the Hatch, Match & Dispatch column, more properly known as Births, Deaths & Marriages. This morning as I was indexing the August 4th edition, my eye came to rest on the Births column, and after a few small smiles at such names as:

Francesca Clementine Aurelia, a sister for Maximilian

Gracie Blue, a cousin for Coco


Jonathan Tiger

I must admit I guffawed at the following - this is the announcement in its entirety:

"Whipple On 4th July 2009, to Deborah (nee Lonsdale) and Richard, a daughter, Miranda Zara Susannah, a sister for Edward and Araminta"

Araminta Whipple.

I was so absolutely taken by this name that I decided to Google it, and it would appear that I'm not the only one. If you are of a kindly nature, you probably won't want to look at

Having noticed that this blog hasn't been updated for a year, I might take up where it left off and update you with any choice little morsels I pick up from The Times.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Kitchen Update

All the units are in, the painting is done, the tiles are up, we even have a sink! All that's left is to move the dresser in and get down to some serious titivating and tweaking. Once we've done that, I'll post even more photos. Bet you can hardly wait...

Here's what has happened in our kitchen over the last few weeks:

21st July
Orange pine-tastic!
Finding it hard to believe just how truly horrendous it looked, although admittedly since we knew it was about to be ripped out, we didn't exactly worry about the 'Life of Grime' look that we had going on.
25th July
Health and safety alert - small child in middle of demolition zone. What kind of parent would allow such a thing?
1st August
First units in

3rd August
Lots of units in, plus worktops, but no sink (for a week.) Sinks are for wimps.

18th August

The decorating begins with the most boring bit - preparation; that's why we get someone else in to do the decorating for us. Plus it means it gets done properly and with no arguments.

20th August
Second coat of paint on walls and ceiling; woodwork undercoated; some tiles affixed

21st August


Thursday, 20 August 2009


Here's a taster of some of the goodies hubby has dragged home from his allotment in the last couple of weeks.

Suggestions for courgette recipes gratefully received. We have so far enjoyed courgette cake (yum!) and courgette curry (also yum, but not as yum as the cake.)

What luck DC is (very slowly) learning to eat. Pureed courgette, little man?

Friday, 14 August 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

On Thursday, DC had his first taste of something other than milk (if you don't count all of the cuddly toys, rattles, books, muslins, etc that he has 'gummed'.) Baby rice, with the consistency and appearance of wallpaper paste. Luckily for us, he seems to rather enjoy it - not that we should be surprised when you think how much hubby & I like our food (although we don't have a penchant for wallpaper paste.) So, weaning has begun; DC is growing up so fast!
Eager anticipation

Not quite getting the point, although from the looks of it the box would probably taste just as good as the stuff inside
Baby rice, day two

DC has also learnt how to roll over. He can just about manage 175degrees or so and then a pesky arm gets in the way. Every now and then he works out how to move his arm, and can get flat on his tummy. This is all very lovely, except that he tends to like to practice this when we put him in his cot at bedtime. So, there he is lying on his back and we toddle downstairs all set for a quiet evening and then, a little while later, there's a plaintive cry from upstairs and we have to go and rescue a small child who has got himself stuck not quite on his tummy.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A Happy Washing Line

Doing the laundry isn't so bad when your washing line ends up looking this happy.

Who knew that having a baby had such advantages?!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Growing Up Fast

Today we finally got round to changing DC's pram combo so that we are no longer shoe-horning him in to the carry cot part. He's now in the pushchair part and I don't like it one little bit; feels like he's not my little baby any more. Plus there are more straps and buttons and levers and all sorts of other stuff for me to get used to, just when I thought I had it sorted. Would it be wrong to stunt his growth by forcing him in to the carry cot for a few months longer?

(not sure why it looks like DC and pram are in some sort of white-out when he was just in our hallway)

DC's first grown-up outing was to the local cafe-bar for Sunday brunch. Well, DC had a bottle of milk while hubby & I indulged in a bacon butty and lounge breakfast respectively. And then the boys read the Sports section while I enjoyed my latte.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Sink or swim

Let's see if I can't get a few of the many things I need to tell you about all fitting neatly in to one posting.

Last Saturday, the Family W attended a wedding in Henley-dahling, at the rather fancy Phyllis Court, no less. Unfortunately the weather wasn't playing ball, but that didn't dampen the spirit of the occasion and a great time was had by all. The ceremony was held in the Grandstand which overlooks the Thames, pretty much at the point where the Regatta ends - a really lovely setting. Immediately after the ceremony, we set off on a boat ride up and down the river; hubby & I really enjoyed this as we'd never been on a boat from Henley before and it was great to see the town from a different angle, not to mention all of the gorgeous houses we got to admire (enviously) and the wonderful countryside. During the ceremony and while we were on the boat, two friends very kindly looked after DC so we could relax for a few hours; when we returned from the boat ride, they brought him back and he sat very quietly during the speeches and the wedding breakfast - bless him, such a well-behaved child!

Kitchen News

When we left to go to the wedding on Saturday morning the kitchen looked like this:

Less than 36 hours later it looked like this:
Quite an improvement, I hope you'll agree. Not quite finished, and not having a sink all week has been a little awkward at times, but Tim will be back tomorrow and hopefully it will all be done by the end of the day. Except for the painting...

Then on Wednesday our new carpet will finally be fitted (not in the kitchen, I hasten to add. Carpets and kitchens don't mix, do they?), which means that apart from just a tiny little bit more decorating (paint in the kitchen, wallpaper in the bedroom replacing the current upside-down stuff, and wallpaper in the living room) we will be finished, hopefully, and it will finally feel like we can relax and actually start living here.

D.I.E.T. news
So, the plan was to lose some weight in time for the wedding last Saturday. Well, yes, that was the plan. But as Robert Burns wrote: 'The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley'. Very succintly put, Robbie. And so it happened that I managed to lose the grand total of minus 4lbs. And we all know that two negatives make a positive, so I leave you to work out what actually happened...