A random list

Once again I find myself scrambling for something to write, unable to determine a coherent subject with which to bombard the world so here is some random stuff I have been doing/thinking lately:

  1. Easter holidays have been a welcome break from our recent 30 mile commute to school in the mornings.
  2. Meeting up with Elfa (Californian Mum in London) and both sets of children for a picnic in Bushy Park recently was lovely and we whiled away several hours playing, eating, scrambling up, down, in and through fallen trees, and most significantly, wielding sticks of every size and shape – lots of imaginative play with a stick standing in for everything from a gun to a wand to a conductor’s baton.
  3. Our local park does the most divine home made ice cream which is bad for both my pocket and my waistline.
  4. If you take your kids to a children’s farm (in our case we thought we’d try out Hounslow Urban Farm near Heathrow – fab if you’re either a lover of mental alpacas, demonic goats or plane-spotting) don’t bother buying the animal feed unless you have a particular urge to get your hand comprehensively licked clean by a range of farmyard animals whilst your children disappear into the distance on miniature John Deere tractors.
  5. I’m not sure whether to sob or cheer at Donald Trump’s recent statement on punishing women who choose to get an abortion – on the one hand it is incredibly scary that this man is even on the campaign trail, on the other hand it seems that he has shot himself in the foot by showing his true colours here and not being enough of a ‘politician’ to veil the truth.
  6. I have been glued to this year’s edition of The Voice UK as it seems to be the first time ever that nearly everyone who got through to live finals could actually sing. Having said that, is it just me that thinks Lydia has only got through because they waited until the semi-final to mention her tragic family loss? Hearing Boy George and his team sing the Culture Club ballad ‘Victims’ was a blast from the past – a song I loved in the 80s but probably haven’t heard since. Shame the man himself seems to have had some kind of voice transplant.
  7. I thought I’d got off pretty lightly on the threenager front with EJ until he had the mother of all tantrums because I wouldn’t let him take a small tractor into the ladies loos down at the HUF (see above).
  8. Somebody please remind me to send Lovefilm back the DVD I have had sitting unopened on a shelf for the last 9 months – if August Osage County has that little appeal to me as a way to pass my time then it’s not worth keeping! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this – Lovefilm must be kept in business through people like me!).
  9. Kingston upon Thames has really got a lot going for it these days. Recently I have sampled real Asian street food and enjoyed the buzzing vibe which comes with that kind of market – something which you just don’t get with other provincial towns further out of the capital.
  10. The two things I took away from The Ideal Home Show were a) the realisation that it is possible to buff your nails to a glassy shine and b) Vitamix blenders rule!

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Chestnut Sunday

Chestnut Sunday poster

I grew up near one of London’s big green spaces – Bushy Park, which borders Teddington and the Hamptons on the city’s southwestern corner. In this park I learned to ride a bike, built snowmen, played rounders in the summer as the deer looked on, and spent many a happy Sunday afternoon playing hide and seek amongst the bluebells and rhododendrons of the enclosed ‘Woodland Gardens’. However, it wasn’t until the last decade (now that I no longer live in the area) that I discovered the tradition of celebrating ‘Chestnut Sunday’ – the day in early/mid-May when the Horse Chestnuts (which line the main avenue) are believed to be in full blossom.

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Word of the Week: Wintry

wintry scene

Yep, here we are ‘in the bleak midwinter’. Have I mentioned before how much I hate January? Very probably! The cold days, the long dark nights, not being able to get outside with the children, endless coughs and colds… I looked up images of wintry scenes and of course they’re all of twinkly snowscapes with bright blue skies. In reality, in the south of England this week it has been occasionally icy, windy, rainy, cloudy, grey and dark with very brief low sunshine breaking through. Sorry, this is turning into a weather report. I’ve always thought that one day, in retirement, it would be nice to spend the winter months living abroad somewhere warm and sunny.

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Word of the week:

Return to normality

After the chaotic time we experienced during the building works on our bathroom last week, this week the dust has (literally) settled. The job was (more or less) completed by the end of Bank Holiday Monday and we now have a beautiful, clean, luxurious space in which to carry out all those day to day ablutions.

I was keen to carry out a full on house clean on Tuesday as everything was feeling grimy and untidy with piles of bathroom detritus lying randomly around the place. Unfortunately I had a long standing appointment to get my highlights done (time-limited half price offer!) in Guildford and this process ended up taking about 4 hours out of my 6 hours of child-free time. This resulted in a mad dash home and a frantic sweep, dust, Hoover, recycling challenge and tidy up! As a result we do actually now have a clean feeling, tidy home again at last.

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Three little duckies

WP_000632

This Sunday myself and the boys visited my Mum and Dad for the day. The hubster was working and the house is still somewhat chaotic with the ongoing work on the bathroom so it was nice to escape for a few hours. We decided that, due to the beautiful sunny weather we would take the boys over to the Woodland Gardens in Bushy Park – a place I have adored since I was a little child – essentially a magical woodland filled with (at this time of year) wall to wall purple rhododendron and many coloured azaleas, with the paths and walkways taking you this way and that, never sure whether you will end up in a woodland glade, adorned with bluebells, or at a lakeside vista, complete with totem pole! Pooh sticks and hide and seek behind the giant oak trees and in and out of the strange lands that exist underneath rhododendron bushes were the order of the day for me as a child.

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There’s no place like home…

There's no place like home

This week’s Theme Game theme is ‘home’. It’s funny how, no matter where I go, or where I live, or where I choose to settle, there is still a little corner of South West London which will always be my true home. My parents still live there, perhaps without them there it wouldn’t be the same. I know that when they sold my childhood home, 11 years ago now, I didn’t mourn for that particular house the way I thought I would.

But now, when I visit Teddington, Hampton Wick, Kingston, Richmond and Twickenham it does feel like going home. Places like Bushy Park (where I learned to ride my bike), The Teddington Cheese (which used to sell coal!), the Anglers pub down at Teddington Lock, the Broom Road ‘Wreck’ (as I always used to think it was spelled) where I swang almost high enough for my feet to touch the branches, before running down to the riverside to feed the ducks and make swings in the fronds of the many willow trees lining the banks, or climb into their gnarled branches for an impromptu picnic – all these places are a part of who I am.

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