Dot writes: I was getting quite a good blogging rhythm together, but then two-and-a-half weeks went by while I wasn’t looking. What happened? The start of the university teaching term happened, of course. Fun but busy. Anyway, here are some other things that have been squeezed in around meeting new students, sorting out the legacy of crisis from the supplemental exam session, and mugging up desperately for my brand new course on History of the English Language while also mugging up desperately for my fairly well-established course on Arthurian Literature, for which, even though I’ve taught it before, I always feel I need to do lots more work.
1. Frank’s birthday party, on Sunday 22nd. The weather suddenly became beautifully warm and sunny and a good time was (I think – I hope) had by all. I stayed up an hour past my usual bedtime on Saturday decorating the cake and it still looked a bit rubbish, but it tasted fantastic:
This is Frank on the evening after his party, dressed as Robin in a new costume we bought him.
The costume was ordered over the internet and turned out to be rather small, but Frank is very keen on it for about ten minutes at a time, after which he asks to have it taken off as it’s pinching him.
2. Tib’s little operation. I was eager to schedule this, as I was feeling somewhat harrassed, but when the time came I did feel rather bad about it. I know it means fewer fights, and fewer unwanted kittens to home, but it still involved cutting a bit of him off… He was very quiet and shy that evening. Here he is wanting to go out and not being allowed to.
Happily he has since bounced back and resumed his habits of running right up to the top of the neighbour’s tree, dashing down the garden with fluffed up tail, and hiding under the bed in order to pounce on our feet (and he even actually had a quick go at my leg again, though without the nipping. I think he just likes climbing things). I feel I don’t get to pay him as much attention as I would like, and I’ve noticed that since Ken has been at home more, having finished his summer job, Tib is beginning to sleep on his side of the bed. Some of the time, anyway. I am still the preferred human for stroking and affection at 6am.
3. The end of Ken’s time at Guinness. Good in some ways – no more dashing home at lunchtime to take Hugh, protesting all the way, from school to creche – less good in others – no more second income for a bit, and back to unemployment and concomitant despondency. However, Ken has been occupying himself with useful and creative tasks such as making tomato chutney (from his own crop, grown in the greenhouse) and elderberry syrup (elderberries from our friends Niall and Meredith). (Actually the syrup is more of a jelly.) He has also been vigorously pursuing possible leads on jobs. And getting Hugh to do his homework when he comes in from school instead of at 6pm when he’s tired and cross.
4. Frank had a little trip to A & E, because we realised we hadn’t been to the hospital for a couple of months and they might be forgetting us. He was riding on the back of Ken’s bike and got his foot caught in the wheel. I wasn’t there, but I gather it was pretty horrible. Anyway, x-rays were taken, but it seemed to be just a sprain with bruising and grazing. Frank refused to walk on it at all for about 24 hours and then went back to running around at top speed.
5. I have started taking Frank to a music class on Saturdays. It’s called Tiny Tempos and involves a lot of singing, marching, banging things, and jiggling small children rhythmically on one’s lap. Frank is very enthusiastic though not always doing what he is supposed to be doing. I love the chance to spend time with him and be allowed to give him lots of cuddles.
6. Hugh has started an afterschool class called Junior Tunes (which costs about half as much as Tiny Tempos for the same number of weeks), as we were too late, by two or three minutes and two places in the queue, to sign him up for the much-sought-after Fitkids class. I was afraid he would sulk and refuse to do it, but to my surprise he seems to be enjoying it very much. I gather it involves a lot of banging things.
So, that’s some of our news, squashed down into a list. Today Ken was out at a Whisky festival and I took the children to the park and to visit a friend. The weather was gorgeous but I managed to scrape the side of the car on the friend’s gatepost. Also the friend’s three-year-old daughter scratched Hugh on the chest and made him bleed, an event which he greeted with the utter lack of stoicism that we know and love in him. On the other hand, the friend’s son gave Frank his old Spiderman costume and Frank was extremely delighted. So we have lost a bit of skin and a bit of paint but gained a superhero.
Until the next time…