Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The more you watch, the more you learn?

When I was a child, there was no such thing as TV in the morning. I still remember the test card. I have vague memories of BBC2 not even broadcasting until the afternoon.

By the time I was teenager, Channel 4 (4, I tell you - how many channels does a person need, I thought) had been invented and breakfast TV had arrived. Not that I ever watched it. My parents didn't believe that anything could be better than the Today programme on Radio 4 (Radio Bore according to Recaro).

Times. How they change.

Now I let Peaches watch Cbeebies and I've even been converted to Channel 5's Milkshake.

I wouldn't have done this except that I read a Zoe William's article in The Guardian where she declared it the market leader in toddler telly. I'm easily led.

So this morning, Peaches was watching the Little Princess. I'm fond of this programme. We read the Little Princess book about potty training to Peaches for a month before getting the potty out. And what do you know, she grasped the basics of potty training by the age of 2. Give or take a few accidents.

This morning's episode didn't seem to have much in it that was educational, except for a plot element where it was explained to Little Princess that it was okay for her to 'change her mind'. 'Everybody does it' apparently.

As I tried to dress Peaches for the day ahead, she objected to her black leggings. Or liquorice legs as I like to call them. Peaches said 'No, I want the pink flower leggings'.

Since such leggings DO NOT EXIST it was easy to no. I put everything else on her and said that's okay she could go to the childminder's in her knickers. I thought I'd at least postpone the battle till I was a little more awake.

By the time I'd finished tidying up the kitchen I returned to the living room (or LOUNGE as Peaches likes to call it - oooooooh posh - the things she learns at the minder's...), Peaches was wearing her liquorice legs.

She smiled up at me. 'I changed my mind.'

The telly is staying.
****************************
In other news, here's some pics of our weekend in Norfolk with Grandad and GrannyD, plus a couple of their mates. We stayed at the Victoria in Holkham.

Holkham beach has mahoosive sand dunes just made for hide and seek.


There was the strangest sense of being on a set, but honestly we were on a real beach.

Of course, despite the sunshine and laughter, things did end in tears. Peaches was far too tired to walk back across this huge beach and I wouldn't carry her. But while she lay on the ground, rolling about in the world of cross, I saw an opportunity to show you how big the sky is.

And then I put her on my shoulders and carried her back to the hotel for tea.

After all, everyone changes their mind sometimes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gunpowder, treason and plot

'Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot'

For the uninitiated, non-British readers among you, 5 November is the day when the British light bonfires, burn Guy Fawkes effigies and set off fireworks.

This is all to celebrate the 17th Century capture and burning of a man called Guy Fawkes who was found in the cellars of the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) with barrels of gunpowder. He was scapegoated as the ringleader of a Catholic plot, which is why some towns go a step further and burn effigies of the Pope. I think that's gruesome and nasty and it's a relief not to live among people who feel happy doing that.

Some people take the opportunity to burn political effigies. I believe more than a few Margaret Thatchers and President Bushs have gone up in flames over the years.

But here in Whitstable? We just love a party on the beach.

Friends of the Fountain (not a secret society) get together under the direction of Tony H to light a bonfire and enjoy a huge firework display.

That's me sitting behind Peaches. I had just made it home from London which is why I'm wearing such a fab coat and a pair of boots instead of my usual scruffy stuff.

By the way, I had hoped for a winsome picture of Peaches looking up at the sky, but I couldn't wrestle the camera off of Recaro.

At least I can show you one of his rather strange photos of the fireworks though.

And a couple of lusher ones.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The hardest button to button

Can you help me?

I've knitted a scarflette (a neck warmer) as a present for a very chic friend. She's a tidy sort of woman - small and neat - and I think she'll like the idea of a neck warmer instead of a long scarf.

Plus it's quick to knit so it's a winning present idea.

I've raided the button box and found some options, but I can't decide which buttons to give up. I don't want to make a mistake in giving away our lushest buttons (the button box actually belongs to Recaro - but what's his is mine, right?).

First up - flat, slightly pearlised dark buttons with two holes.

Pale tortoiseshell four hole buttons.

Or leathery-looking rounded buttons with a cross.
Leave a comment to help me decide. Thanks for the help.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Get up, get out, oh what a beautiful day


This was the view from my bathroom window this morning.

What a great start to the day.

I'm taking Peaches to a Halloween crafts party at Wildwood - a forest park with adventure playground, badgers, wild boar and wolves (relax - they are in enclosures).

So clearly the day might end in tears for someone, but a great start nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Write a blog and be respected


Ever felt that shiver of shame at being regarded as a 'mommy blogger'? Well have no fear. There's just one or two rules to follow and you too can be taken seriously as a writer or social commentator.



First up, don't post photos of your children just because they are finally wearing that cute pink hat. Or spotty boots. Using your child as a fashion plate demeans you and the child. Get serious, think of an erudite subject and research it. Form your own opinions.



Hey you! Yes, you there at the back. Stop gazing at the baby photos already.




Create time for yourself to write and be creative. Don't let your child(ren) stay up too late or get up too early. Teach them to tell the time and stop bothering you. When they do finally crash out, do not, repeat do not, whip the camera out to record their dreamy features for posterity.



Go and use that time to do something useful.



I'm looking at you, when I say this. Step away from camera.

Look on your time with children as a learning experience. Don't chuckle at their poor pronunciation, but enunciate clearly so they learn to communicate effectively.



Don't perpetuate their amusing little ways that will end up seeing them being ridiculed in a school yard.



Even if that is how she keeps her fingers crossed for good luck (and chocolate raisins).

Finally, don't use a phoney theme of 'how to be a serious writer' just to show off your child's first written word. Even if it is 'mummy'.



Noone's going to fall for that.






Monday, October 19, 2009

Rule No 2: Stay open to new ideas

On Sunday morning, we took Sue and Mr Scrappy for a walk along The Street. The Street is a shingle spit going out from Whitstable in to the Thames Estuary/North Sea.

It's also where Recaro proposed to me. I remember being very nervous. Well, you would be too if you were handed a diamond ring on a shingle beach with the tide coming in. I didn't want to lose that bad boy. (I mean the ring. Not the man - though I didn't want to lose him either. Enough! You know what I mean.)

It's a great spot for Sue to remind me how much fun you can have when you try something new.
THIS much fun.

Gah - it looks cold, doesn't it?

In fact, Sue taught Recaro a thing or two during her visit. I can almost hear her now helping Recaro navigate the blogosphere. Sue and Mr Scrappy's train was about to leave Whitstable in 15 minutes time, not that you can tell from how chilled Sue is. Maybe she wanted to stay?

Need I tell you that he doesn't concentrate that hard when I'm talking.

(By the way, I'm sitting on that very stool right now as I type this post. I've just finished a cottage cheese sandwich from Tea & Times.)

Sue also mentioned to Recaro that she has an Easy Yo yoghurt maker. She even went so far as to recommend buying an Easy Yo yoghurt maker.

Did he listen?

What do you think?

You mean you want evidence?

Okidokee.



He would NOT accept any alternative yoghurt maker. Only Easy Yo would do.

(Believe it or not, this is not a sponsored post. Dammit.)

We've since made the raspberry yoghurt and found it very tasty. Peaches wanted more, which I regard as a huge success since she's previously always turned her (pretty, little) nose up at anything that isn't fromage frais.

So. We are now an Easy Yo family. If that's not strangely lush, I don't know what is.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rule No 1: Keep it real


Let's cut to the chase, here's Sue and me on the beach near the lifeguard station at Whitstable.

I don't think I've ever been so excited to meet someone at the train station. When Scrappy herself appeared on the platform it was like meeting an old pal. She even brought Mr Scrappy too.

Sue has met a number of bloggers already - but I was a newbie to meeting real lifers. It's a lovely thing to get to know someone through their writing and to discover that she lives as she blogs. She's a straight up and down, funny woman.

After a welcome cup of tea, Peaches found Sue's glittery shiny purse (it was out already - I'm not training up an Artful Dodger, K?).

Ah we thought. Let's go shopping.


We walked up the beach first so that we could got to the harbour market. Of course we had to stop for photos at the diving helmet bench.

Are you wondering where Mr Scrappy is yet?
TA DA! There he is.

Sue did much shopping. Other lesser shopkeepers in London apparently didn't approve of her credit card. In Whitstable they had no trouble taking money off her. Isn't that nice?

Having spied just some of her stash, she's done very well. I'm looking forward to the fashion shoot post that must be coming up sometime soon on this blog.

By now, Sue and Mr Scrappy had been in town a whole two hours. So with a stash of cheeses from the Cheese Box we went off for a drink at our local. For some reason (beer in one hand, cheese and biscuits in the other) I haven't got any photos of this.

Our local - The Fountain - is a back street boozer, but not without it's own graffiti art/hospitable charms. When the landlord realised Sue and Clive were only in town for 24 hours, he went and bought his preferred cheese from the Cheese Box so that they could try that one too.

After a short while, Peaches declared herself tired and went for a nap in her buggy. She slept all the way home, because clearly there was someone in the gang who knew exactly what to do with small girls.



Check out the shopping bags on that buggy. There not mine, that's all I'm saying.

Friday, October 9, 2009

26 and half hours

... before Sue and Mr Scrappy step off the train at Whitstable station.

Have I cleaned the house? (No - but the cleaning lady has been).

Is the restaurant booked? (You betcha)

Is the babysitter booked? (Yay!)

Are we excited? D'yuh think?

I am one strangely lush mother.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Too quiet for school



Yesterday Peaches got sick. She had one of those deep, nasty, croupy coughs. She also lost her voice. Fortunately with some day time cough medicine and a bed time dose of baby paracetamol we all had a good night's sleep.

Today, she's staying home with me while I attempt to meet a number of work deadlines. It's all working pretty nicely, because although she's not well enough for nursery school, she can't speak loud enough to interrupt my work calls.

The worst she can do is rock up to me while I'm on the phone to whisper, 'Is that the doctor?'

I've even let her do some handpainting. It didn't start off as handpainting of course. I supplied brushes. Things just didn't work out that way.
Fortunately, we've done enough painting for her to know the rules.

'HANDS ON THE PAPER. DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING ELSE.'

I got away with it. All is calm and I'm going to take a lunch break now.

On Saturday, Recaro wasn't so lucky. Peaches 'helped' him clean the car. Need I even type the words... he got soaked.


Finally, here's a warning for Sue and Mr Scrappy who will be HERE, this Saturday. When travelling through rail stations, watch out for the tickly barriers. We think she means ticket barriers, but maybe she knows something we don't.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Strong words


I'm coming to terms with the fact that Peaches is not a baby any more. Of course, she'll always be 'my baby'. And there are days when she's cuddlier and more demanding.

But right now, each day features another way that she'll test the boundaries and it's my challenge to stay one step ahead.

  • Shaddup, mummy. Well excuuuuse me, but we don't say shut up in this house. The trick is to never find it amusing, to always remind her we don't say it and to ask for an apology. So far so good.

  • Poo, poo. Mmm. I don't know anyone else who sings the 'poo poo' song. However, by not freaking out and saying that it's not a nice song, her interest in it is waning. Slowly. Perhaps it hasn't helped that we have applauded the occasional potty experience, culminating in her leading us to the potty and with a flourish of hands, announcing, 'Ta daaaaa'.

  • She won't eat vegetables. Well until today. When I didn't give her lunch, didn't let her drink too much juice and didn't give any snacks. And said we'd only do painting if she ate all her veg. That seemed to work. So now I know she can...

Maybe I'm a freak, but I am completely loving these challenges. I don't use the 'counting to three' technique very often, but - gah, I LOVE how that works.

You do realise, I'm living in the moment, don't you? I know she'll get ahead of me one day. Just not today, okay?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Local heroes

I'm getting excited. Sue is coming to visit. She's even bringing her husband. It's going to be great - please excuse the product placement, but Recaro and Mr Scrappy both have iPhones. I have a feeling they will both get along fine.

I gave Sue a call this morning and even spoke to Miss 13 who apparently groaned and thought I was a double glazing saleswoman.

It was a wonderfully exciting thing to speak to a friendly blogger after so much interweb chat. In fact, when I was considering where to go for coffee in the Bay, I nearly called this woman. But I chickened out. More fool me - next time I won't be so shy.

We'll be going out to dinner at The Sportsman. Last week Steve Harris was named 'best chef' by the Good Food Guide. Nothing but the best for Sue, that's what I say.


While we are on the subject of neighbourhood celebrities, I'm also hoping that Sue will catch sight of my window cleaner. This year, he won the title of UK's strongest man. Though she's more likely to see Suggs - he always seems to be out in the same restaurant as us.

On the other hand, maybe that's not quite her thing.
I also had my photo taken last week with Paul Young at the Moare Music Festival. Tell me if you care to see the pic - be warned though, it's cheesy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Project X

Not only have I learnt the importance of not missing a Spiderman photo opportunity, but now I realise the power of monkeys (and the responsibilities borne by casting directors everywhere).
Our Saturday night out was briefly placed in jeopardy when Peaches became distraught in front of the babysitter. Despite being in a thoroughly good mood for the whole day, things fell apart when I checked the TV schedules to see what films would be on to keep the babysitter amused until our return.
Since Orlando Bloom is almost a local around these parts, Elizabethtown seemed a good choice. The film would start in ten minutes and I switched channels so that all the sitter would have to do is turn the telly on.
Big mistake.
Peaches caught sight of the final minutes of Project X. In a breathtaking piece of miscasting, Matthew Broderick is a genius scientist who has to deal with a rogue chimpanzee which is flying a plane.
'It's a monkey, it's a monkey!' shrieked Peaches as she danced around the room. With the TV on mute, she was desperate for the volume to be turned up.
I told her we were talking and that she could watch the pictures instead. She shouted again, 'I can't hear it. It's a monkey, it's a monkey.'
By now the monkey had not only landed the plane, but had taken off again. It was kind of compelling and while I had some sympathy with Peaches - I turned it off so that everyone could think.
I know, I know. You are thinking let her watch the final ten minutes and don't be so stuffy. And don't even start on the fact that I missed that teaching opportunity to explain that a chimpanzee is not a monkey.
Needless to say, we couldn't really continue talking and thinking because Peaches shouted even louder, 'I WANT MONKEY FILM'. Tears ran down her face.
After tears, cuddles, milk and a couple of books she calmed down enough for us to leave her with the sitter.
In itself, this wasn't the worst of meltdowns. We got our night out and Peaches did got to sleep (eventually...) But I thought the very least that I could do is warn you that there is a film out there with Matthew Broderick and a plane-flying chimp and if that's not a disaster, then I don't know what is.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Speed blogging: Circus

These last weekends of summer are so much fun. I'm behind on blogging, but in the spirit of better late than never, here's my memories of last weekend.

Here's Peaches after breaking eggs for omlette. I think some slid down her arm - very funny. Recaro was teaching her to crack eggs while I sat opposite taking photos.

Later that afternoon, we ran away to the circus. It was Santus Circus' last day in Whitstable so a number of the wagons had already moved on to the next site.

It was a first time at the circus for both of us. I don't know who was more excited.

We especially liked the clowns, hula hoop girl and Spiderman. Peaches can now sing the Spiderman theme tune. She loves him.

Not that I realised this during the interval when children were having their photos taken with Spiderman. She was very upset when he left and she hadn't had her photo taken.

I felt like a very stinky piece of cheese after that. Fortunately, I have great powers of distraction and she's not mentioned it since...


Monday, August 24, 2009

All the pretty horses

Hot on the heels of the Oyster Festival is the Whitstable Regatta. The Regatta mainly involves a funfair on the green slopes behind the promenade in Tankerton.

That's right, the event is called after Whitstable but takes place in Tankerton. I don't get it either.

However - the funfair does include a fabulous carousel. Peaches and I had a go. You can just about see us riding a chicken at the back of this photo. For some reason, even though we went round and round and round and round, Recaro did NOT manage to take a photo with us in the middle of the shot.
That didn't spoil my fun though. I loved it. And Peaches insisted I hold her tight. That was kind of cool, too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Whatever happened to the Lego?

You might remember that I recently attempted a Lego giveaway. Well I lost track of time and then tried to get back in touch with the Lego PR man.

Ho hum. Basically he didn't return my emails and I had no Lego to giveaway.

As with all disappointing experiences, I've thought about what I might have done differently. I could have had him deliver all the Lego direct to me so that I could post it out in my own good time. Bearing in mind that I would have liked this to be an international giveaway it could have turned costly...

Then I read this post, which is helping me to crystallise my views on the giveaway/PR debate.

I think I'll be keeping this blog clear of sponsored reviews. Any future giveaways will be of my own devising.

I'm sorry to disappoint any hopeful Lego owners - but look on the bright side, this will be a blog with integrity.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ultimate London celebrity spot?

Recaro returned home from work yesterday with tales of who he saw in London yesterday. As he walked through St James on his way to a meeting he saw a bunch of guys running across the road wearing morning suits.
Just as he realised it was a prince, it occurred to him to think 'William or Harry?', he saw Harry too.
A double prince spot. Sorry no pictures. Apparently they looked like they were having a good ol' establishment time of it which is nice. According to this morning's Torygraph, it would seem they were on their way to the wedding of Nicholas van Cutsem and Alice Hadden Paton.
I like to imagine that Nick and Ali will go for a full blown double-double-barrelled name: Mr and Mrs Hadden Paton van Cutsem. Which makes them sound like characters out of a Tom Sharpe novel - terribly posh and psychotic all at the same time.
*******************
In other news, Peaches woke up several times last night with sickness and unhappiness. We moved her into our room (but on her own mattress) so that we could give her reassurance. There wasn't much else we could do.
She cheered up after sharing a bath with me at 5.30am - and now she's having a midday sleep to catch up on her kip.
As did we. A broken night's sleep is a very bad thing. I had forgotten how rubbish it makes me feel. It's enough to make me rethink my broody considerations of a second child...

Friday, August 14, 2009

I still love you, you know that don't you?

I didn't write. I didn't phone. However, I have been fulfilling my promise to Peaches of playdates and partying.

The gang of potential playdates is growing - she went on three last weekend alone, including a birthday party. One of these was with the child of an old friend of mine. She was coming out of hibernation after throwing herself into family life.

I don't know what your experience is, but I find it's hard to keep every aspect of life moving forward. Recently it's been important for me to show a more committed effort at work and with my family. That meant blogging had to take a back seat. I like to imagine that my endeavours have been noted and that I can put some time back into blogging. Which is a relief, because where else am I going to vent that:
  • it's ridiculous that sharia law should attempt to prevent women from wearing trousers
  • the NHS is a lifesaver and gives a free healthcare at the point of delivery to everyone
  • Amy Winehouse still needs to sort her hair (and head) out
  • women's sport is still underreported in the news and I'm disappointed that boxing is still an Olympic sport even if it now includes women (didn't see that one coming)
We've also been on holiday to Greece for two weeks. What bliss. Sunshine, windsurfing, excellent childcare arrangements and lots of laughter. Fancy seeing some pictures?

We invested in a Trunki - this ride along suitcase kept Peaches entertained all the way to the gate.
Here's the hotel - d'ya think Recaro will thank me for this photo? Don't be fooled by the cocktail umbrella in that drink. Peaches was on apple juice.

Peaches really took to swimming. She had a couple of five year old boyfriends who encouraged her to jump in and swim (with arm bands). On our return home, her favourite bedtime book is a text book about teaching children to swim - she loves it for the photos of course. I don't imagine she's too interested in technique.

There were a couple of fancy dress parties at the hotel. First up: Upsy Daisy.

Who soon reappeared as a mini-Princess Leia. I knitted that wig. Cool, huh?


We also took Peaches to a rocking party at the hotel next door. She grooved and headbanged for an hour even though we thought she was good and ready for sleeping.

In the evenings, we ate in the town. With restaurants around a square with a fountain in the middle, it was just about possible to eat and keep an eye on her while she ran around making friends.
In short, it's the sort of holiday that floats my boat.

Monday, June 15, 2009

She's a little dear

Puns. Dontchya luv 'em.

Even though I'm blogging during a thunderstorm and some crazy hail, I have been enjoying some fabulous summer days. Each day I have to weigh up the relative merits of cycle rides, parks, swings, painting, beach and paddling pool.

Painting is very low on my list of desirable activities but extremely high on Peaches'. Despite that sunny expression of innocence on her face, her favourite colour is black with lots of water. Then she pushes and splodges grimy water across the paper until the point when she decides to paint her hand, her feet, her arm... you get the idea.

I'm not a major neat freak, but it's the surest way to finish off my patience. Perhaps I'd be able to deal with it if she used red or green. I try and join in and paint astronauts, princesses, fruit, shapes. But once she's on to the third sheet of grey misery I can't take it any more.

Before you know it, I'll have whipped out a roll of kitchen paper and will be cleaning up and singing in a cheery voice, 'it's time to ride your bike, let's go the beach way and will get to the swings'.

*****************
one morning...
Peaches: Where's my sister?
Recaro: She's not invented yet.

walking with fabulous childminder, when out of the blue...
Peaches: My sister's not invented yet.

chatting on her toy mobile phone...
Peaches: I haven't seen you in ages. [Phoney laugh]. Yes. Yes. Bye.
Sass: Who were you talking to?
Peaches: My sister.
Sass: What's her name?
Peaches: Laura.

drinking milk before bed at the end of a very long, nap-free day...
Peaches: (looking very sad) Mummy, where's my sister?

Is she trying to tell me something? Don't answer that.

************************

I'm not a big believer in insisting Peaches says a bright hello to every person she meets. I think children go through shy phases and I don't see that ridicule or forcing them to say hello helps. My preferred tactic, right or wrong, is to declare that she's having a shy moment and that's she'll be fine in a moment.

And usually she is.

There are other times, when Peaches just wants to make friends. Sometimes that works really well, other times... even at the age of three there are little girls who know how to snub a friendly overture. Other times, it's just that the other child is having their own shy moment.

So now I am on a mission of seeing that Peaches gets a playdate with one of her buddies at least once every weekend. My theory (from the try-it-and-see school of parenting) is to give her plenty of chances to build good friendships from a young age based on frequency and fun.

That way, when someone is rude, thoughtless or shy, she knows they are just, well, rude, thoughtless or shy. She's also going to know that she's got a number of friends who are good fun, lively and sociable and that she's going to see them all again some time soon.

The next challenge might be to listen to her preference about who to play with... but I'll face that battle when I have to.

For SAHM this might seem like a no-brainer. As a working mum, it's been tempting to leave all that socialising, play group activity to the childminder. But I'm stepping up to the plate now. I'm taking telephone numbers off of people in the supermarket so that we can arrange playdates. This is a whole new way of living. It seems that I'm having to put my shy moment behind me too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another milestone

Fhionnport, Isle of Mull

My adventurous little girl spent her first day in pre-school nursery on Monday.

Arguably it's a little early for 'school', but there were a number of reasons for our decision:

1. She's confident and sociable. She can handle the challenge.
2. She's so happy and secure at the childminder's that it would be good to put her through the challenge of pre-school while she still has three fabulous days a week with the heavenly childminder.
3. It's easier to get a child into pre-school of choice over the summer months rather than wait till September.

She'd been sick on Sunday and was still a little bit under the weather on Monday but she went anyway. And she was fine. She made friends, played well, had a big afternoon nap and painted a picture of a gorilla (that's an orange splodge to you and me).

Because I'm a responsible, loving mother I phoned to check she was settling in okay. Everything was good. As I put the phone back on the hook, I start sobbing.

It's the overwhelming feeling of love and loss that does for me. As I prepare Peaches to face new situations, I realise I'm preparing her to go her own way. It's all as it should be. I just have to cry about it now and then.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recaro: holiday super hero

We recently took a week off work to go to the Isle of Mull. Recaro did a great job of pre planning what we would eat, preparing a cool box of treats (from steak to cherry chocolates) and finding the last superstore before the ferry.

All this foodie preparation meant that once we arrived at our remote farmyard cottage, we wouldn't have to trek out to any of the island's understocked corner shops. They are good for tins and frozen stuff, but for some reason despite the wealth of sheep and cows on the hillsides, there's precious little local produce in the shops.

Recaro also made sure Peaches had a bag of beach toys (we did get some sunshine) and a Shrek DVD for rainy weather.

My contribution? While - I packed clothes for me and Peaches and made sure I got home from work in time to jump in the car for our overnight drive from Kent to Lancaster and on to the Scottish highlands and islands the next morning.

And I made this splendid robot outfit out of a wine box and an egg carton. Over the course of the week, we added switches, dials and antennae.

Who says I'm not crafty?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wedding belles

My experience of Yorkshire has previously been limited to a couple of business trips to Leeds, a school visit to a transport museum in York and being given a speeding ticket on the M1 by Wakefield.

That's not to say I hadn't heard about what a fine county it's supposed to be. Every typically bluff Yorkshire man I've ever met is only too willing to share their views on how it's God's own county. Yorkshire women don't seem to be under the same compulsion (if anyone knows why that is, please tell).

Recently, I had the opportunity to see for myself how lovely Yorkshire is. The patchwork of fields and dry stone walls are chocolate-box cute. Just as I got used to this pretty scenery, we found ourselves driving across broad, windswept moors before plunging down into a leafy green valley into the town of Hebden Bridge. Where I'm sad to say there was no time to shop, but if I'd had the time I suspect I could have spent a small fortune.

Yorkshire hadn't been on our list of places to visit, but we were there for a wedding. Call us Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson - but we are a couple that love a good wedding. We'll travel anywhere for a three course dinner, champagne and a cheesy disco.

Plus it would give us a chance to dress Peaches up and pressurise complete strangers into admiring our supa-cute daughter. Yes, we are THAT couple.

Ce, a colleague of Recaro's was getting married in her home town of Hebden Bridge and after a long campaign by Recaro to make sure she knew just how easy it would be for us to break our journey home from a week in Scotland... she invited us. It had been a tense few weeks in the strangely lush household, but at last we could relax and pack our wedding outfits.


If she found Peaches' unwavering attention bewildering, Ce didn't let it show...

There were a few problems - our bed and breakfast was depressing and we arrived in church several minutes after the bride - but Peaches was good in church, made friends with the other children, spent most of her time at dinner sitting at another table (does this mean she's already embarrassed to be seen with us), didn't fall in the nearby river and did take some good (in focus) candid photos.In case you wonder, the church had a spare, derelict church in the grounds. I wouldn't want anyone to go away with the impression that people in Yorkshire don't believe in roofs.


I was pleased Peaches took a photo of the cake. The flowers on our wedding cake were RUBBISH. So much so that we skipped the cake cutting photos at our wedding. I always feel an incredible feeling of relief when I see other people get it right.

Another surprise for me, was seeing that this wasn't just a three course dinner. Between the starter and main course we had Yorkshire pudding and red onion gravy. I am a naive southerner. I had no idea that's what they do up north. It makes so much sense - I've always thought a roast beef dinner looks ridiculous with a Yorkshire pudding sat on top. This could be a tradition we'll be introducing to Whitstable.