WMC's diary pages, 2003.

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See-also: http://www.wmc.care4free.net/diary/.

December 2003

Mon 1st.

Welcome to dec: we haven't done our shopping or booked hols. Naughty us. Hey ho.

W / Y / W.

Back a little early 6:15 but I'll be doing extra tues/wed. Some tidying, more needed.

Soir: M yoga, I do token browse of hols to get me started: many NT taken already. Oops. Civ.

M back 9 may be sick tomorrow.

Tues 2nd

Nico Gray. Talk over tea with ire then Talk: snow granular fl, aval to polynyas. 2-layer flow on disk.

C 5:45; Kc a bit late & fall for metrop trick but swap Euston; 7:30 for Ply; Esd 10:15, read Endymion along the way.

Booking #63161599: not needed. Hotel (express by holiday inn) dull bu functional. Quirk: must put card in holder by door or lights won't work.

Wed 3rd

Wake! Says palm at 5-to-8 & I do. Shower, b'fast. This is a minimal staff place. But that way you don't have to talk to anyone and perhaps that is good. Wait for BL till 8:52 but no-show so walk to meto glimpsed the prev night. Wander round "main entrance" aka building site then follow people off bus round corner to temp entrance. Who turns out to be Chris Little who asks to be remembered to JT (I do) and recommends Royal Clarence next time. Met by AM; BL late but jetlagged so OK. Talk NR for most of hour re seaice. Then meeting (HB, AM, AK, BL, new chap who I talked to after):

Hadgem1 nearly fixed Advection: diffusive? Test wl scheme? Param of ocean wetting of snow re albedo & melting Albedo depth-dep: to 0.3 ish at 10 cm. Hadgem2: fume/prism seaice own model. Opa ocean. Instability in evp with multi-cat str near pole. admqj hole in ross ice Sea ice snow model

After, to Silverton, in search of Lipscomb ancestors (Killerton house turns out to be on the way). Lunch at 3 tuns, good/acceptable. Old pub, pleasant, except taste failures: santa claus hanging from 4' chinese dragon by window. Exe & Dobs beer, Exe a bit thin for my tastes. After, wander churchyard and AM finds L graves: excitement! Its a gray day, the countryside is pleasant but not stunning, indeed there is little to show as better than Bracknell. But I'm not seeing much.

Train back 14:57 gives me plenty of time to read to eyestrain; catch 6:45 from KC and home 8:15 ish. Whew!

Thurs 4th

Work.

E has learnt from us: "E, come have dinner" "just minute".

The rest of the day a blank. Hmmm. I was suffereing from post-exeter I think.

Fri 6th

Marcus phones early: M'a sick. Argh. I do till 1; then occupy self with E (D to multi-sports after shool then Adams, from where M picks him up at 7). Take E for pm walk, to church (look inside at E's req) and find Beryl there so talk. Then to school for pm 2:45 break and find D inside being quiet and nominally helping tidy up; Mrs S happy with that.

Soir: win Civ emperor level.

Sat 7th

MED to w/rose early; I have coffee and am just cycling to allot (first time in ages) having beaten AMcollSmith addiction when I pass them in car. M is *not* taking them to pre-school party (I would have) for one excuse or another, but the truth turns out to be she wants to read Post Captain, having got hooked again. Allot: I hadfeared than pots would be mush but no! All is well. Harvest quite a few, and there are more, and I do have some mroe time.

M goes to town 3:30 and will meet me at PA. 4: bonfire of the door of the old shed and much accumulated junk. D and E come down and sit on the bench initially then get more adventurous.

7:30: Marcus turns up as I'm reasding to D and E is playing her game. He watches her, I finish, I put E to bed whil D gets (on my advice) to ask M if he can stay up a bit late; he turns up upstairs buzzing (literally, not as in angry) cos M has said no (poss a bit hars thinks I but D goes to bed happily anyway. And off I cycle.

To Portland Arms where we are attending a gig! us? Yes. Meet andy outside; wander off to get money and chips and am eating same outside when M arrives. Inside: pints; S is there too. Gig is in side room; Tim and Emma come out to say hello; they seem to be quite well known to A+S. We go in (3) 8:30 ish. First off is Simon Lee ?, who plays a small keyboard and sings, and has a nice manner, I *think* part of the point was to see what you could get out of a small keyboard. SNS next, who have less manner, and who essentially play the CD, though not nec in same order. My thoughts: 1) given that much is sampled, then there is a sort of arbitrary division of how much you actually play live. and as I said to M later, they don't seem to be too demanding of themselves there, to the extent that sometimes they are waiting for their entry on the tape/sample/computer. And 2) they have to play to the machine, given that its pre-rec: they can't set the tempo. Anyway, like the cd, its good, ish, and indeed I buy my own copy (5). Headlining are the Rude Mech, who I remember the very end of their set at Strawberry Fair, and the audially/visually arresting sight of Miss R in white dress and wig, ending with "pablo picasso / was never called an asshole". So I'm keen to hear more. This time she has a blue dress (S says this is a New Thing) but this doesn't work well in the red light IMHO. And her manner remains striking, especially in such an intimate venue, we in the front row (well only row, not counting people lining the back wall or between). Not sure about the magic in between songs... sort-of works, a bit, but. Anyay: songs: yes: none as striking as SF; even PP not so well done this time I thought. But enough to inspire me to see them again sometime. Good bass player, in fact good backing all round, M and I agree. M more impressed with her singing voice than me (to my surprise).

Cycle back in chill. All well at home.

Sun 8th

Naughty me. What with this and that I've far behind on my diarising. Think of all the things I've forgotten and will never get to write down! Sigh. I blame children, civ, work, and my incorrigible laziness.

Anyway: today, sunshine, a lovely winter day, so much better than the no-rain-but-cloud-and-everything-always-wet days of last week. Noises off as the children get up and eventually (8:15) force me up too. But thats OK. E wants breakfast and D wants to play on the computer and I want to lie in my dressing gown in the sun by the fire and we all get our wishes. For a while.

10:50: force (its the only word) D to sunday club. The problem is the play: he'd like to be in it, but has not been to any rehersals so far (our fault, going away weekends) and is teribly afraid of looking silly. I give him the choice of going or having me annoyed with him all day and he elects to go. Arrive: no-one. Odd. Ah, they are practicing in the church. D once again becomes totally shy: his fathers child. And perhaps his mothers too, though M was socialable before she met me. Eventually, the same threats repeated, he joins in, just. And then they go off to make crowns etc and he is happy again.

While he is there, I have 1/2 h: recce shed, back to house for quick coffee and read "morality for beautiful girls" which is addictive, so at 12 I must rush off, late. Help tidy; D happy.

Home. Lunch/misc. E tired: to bed. Aha! And I thought she'd given up lunchtime sleep.

D and I down to shed to mix and pour concrete (I having first dug/cut channel for it to go in and lined with wood, then call D as instructed for actual conc) between 2 house side flags. This works, and we have just the right amount (1 cement, 2 sand, 2 gravel (cos we're a bit short of gravel) with 1 being D's red bucket; mixed in the wheel barrow).

Try to persuade D for a walk but no. So he goes in and I rake up leaves and put apples on compost. Then in. Coffee, more read (onto MfBG now), some civ (when I can elbow D off the computer). E wakes 4-ish (or later?) and misc.

Bonfire with D of the remains of yesterday and D gets his won ittle fire. Whisper it: I put on the 2 dud rockets from bonfire night, and they sparkled nicely. We stood well back.

I peel pots and leeks (from allot!) and M makes excellent leek soup for supper (though E and D only eat a little).

E disgraces self by taking off all clothes inc nappy in bed then doing we. D calls me and is at pains to say that this time "I didn't encourage her"!

Soir: mostly web surfing for lego for D for cmas; nikon 5400/5700 for me (the 5700 nice but 730 vs 500 5400... hmm. Probably 5700); cd's (buy none yet...); put in bid on ebay but under reserve I don't understand. Also look up Lescun on gites-de-france.fr but 2004 "not available". Yet, or ever? Email them.

Mon 8th

W / Hilary Spencer / W.

Tues 9th

*must* get back into habit of winding watch!

RS

D: 4094 25 - monkey-on-wire & motor 4093 20 - mixer & wind motor 7419 70 - big or exp

L/T: 4401 6 - little creatures 4090 13 - bird-on-wire

Dolls house: 99

3440ct 500mhz 325 3months

Icelandic: matador ki 3: 81. Solar helicopter 18.

Wed 10th

D to school, in car 'cos late. Back home, get stuff & off to Ma's with E cheerfully burbling in back. Slow drive.

Coffee waiting & E plays. 1 ish we go out (cold; mist) & put up lights, each year a little lower... or is the tree growing? E watches then gets cold/sad. Ma has a new teddy & has knitted clothes: E loves (un)dressing it.

Leave 2:30, back nearly 2h. Argh. But E sleeps.

Home: D & M playing on comp. M tired: I take D to piano & study my agenda. Soir: pc at 7. Misc & uneventful apart from the-mirror-from-hell & kr's road stuff, which does her no good. Have to leave early 8:27 to get home :30 so M goes off to book club.

Late: civ to 11: destroy aztec & indian.

Thurs 11th

Work till 1, then head into town. Borders, and finish hpatootp over a coffee. Good. RS to look at dolls house for E, and discover there is a "woodland" one in store for 80 not 100 for the georgian one... arrange for them to bring it out for a look "in 15 mins" and in the interim to mill road to look at portege... looks ok. Nearly get it then, but decide to waver for a bit. cb1 for brief cafe, since I'm here. Back to RS but no dh... hmmm, well, OK, they will hold it and we can look on saturday.

Home (via church, just in time to catch v tail end of sunday club rehearsal, complete change in D, who is now happy with his part, bouncy and delighted. Take him back to home club (yes I offered to take him home but he would rather hc)). Brief civ, and rather more of arranging for tonights meeting, downloading comberton plan.

Get D at 5:45 (he has made a picture of a castle from knex); then on to E, who as ever rushes out saying "daddys here!".

7:45: to community room for the meeting I've organised (!) on the parish plan. 7, inc me: Mel, Dot, Beryl, Gordon, Elizabeth, Chris. So, more than I expected, and more than that a more involved and enthusiastic discussion than I' dared hope for. So, in a sense, bad news: we'll have to go ahead and do a full scale public meeting!

Late: civ to 1:15 (bad boy) but only because the game was near over and it was. I won. Hurrah, I think the russians were the last, or poss the chinese.

Fri 12th

D to school, and go in with him to film/photo the dress rehearsal. This proves to be fun. First off the getting dressed - D is a wise man's assistant, and looks like an egyptian - bare chested, with medallion/brooch thing on chain. Looks good. Then to main hall. CEN photographer is there to sheperd them into group for piccy, so I take some too, then on with the rehearsal, I alternate leaving the video and taking stills, to holding vid. All the rest of the school (and pre school) come in to watch and it goes well.

Work 10:15. The bio's cluster nightmare. Smoko.

Pick up E 1:30 just in time (M'a off for w'end); home; quiet.

School 3:30 (just as E is sarting to play her game; tears as I drag her away). Our turn to host D, N and A. ut B is going home with no-one but his dad looking sad and asks... so on promise of *not* winding up D, he gets to come too. And it all works OK, bar some over exuberant shouting, I barely have to intervene all afternoon, the only problems are fairly little ones where one is reduced to tears by unintentional unkindness of the others. At one point: A: 'we are all owls who can never die'. I still don't know why, but they were playing with the owl mask, which hasn't been used for ages. They were making up a story between them, all rather carefully organised and plotted out. Later: they drew pictures, on the tv, cut them out, and stuck them to the wall under the table, so they could be watching tv in their house...

M back 4:30 odd so I get to relax. Andy about 6:40 and we talk while B finishes dinner; Paul 7 for N and A. D (tucked up under the table with N) kicks me in the nose as I ask him to come out; this gets him sent up to his room.

Soir: tidying, mostly. Find D lying in his doorway upstairs finding it hard to sleep: he is there so he can get up early a.m. without having to wake E. MfdJ at 10:40.

Sat 13th

4:30: await p+r home... Ice: pyramid! 30

Mon 15th

M off sick all day.

E brings me a 'tat t' or 'cup of tea' in her tiger-who-came-to-tea cup.

I the middle of the night: a wail from E: I leap out of bed: has she hurt herself? fallen out of bed? No, its just a panic. I try to comfort her and fail, M comes and tries with more success. Not sure whats wrong, just panic? As I go back to bed her wails transmute into: *I*want*play*maisy*game* and indeed she was playing it rather a lot yesterday, or rather sitting in from of the computer since she can't really play it, and its not a good game.

Tues 16th

M still sick.

Pick up E from M'a then to school for D's (and class 2's) c'mas play/musical "stable story" (what a tale we've got for you...). I am official videographer, and do my best, though they have not squished people up enough (despite what I said after the rehearsal) so the 2 people at each end get left out in turn... should have done something about the lighting too... there is a strip of highlight a the top that should be masked out. Anyway, all very good, and the play good too & well done, and D a good assistant/egyptian. Several requests for copies of the video... now how do I download it? Perhaps at school on fri.

D very pleased after and deservedly so. All home, Ma has brought us a chocolate cake.

8: off to C+A for "mince pies and mulled wine" and as ever they do this well with far more than that to eat. M sick so I get to drive back so drink limited :-(. Andy off sick but S there, and Dinan and new wife: a doctor. Perhaps unwisely I enquire as to the etiquette of changing a dr. D and E stay up all the time which is perhaps a mistake, but...

Wed 17th

E pads into our room at 8:15 with a why-aren't-you-up face on. And rapidly I am. But D needs poking.

D to school. I've forgotten his boots and he's very annoyed: he won't be allowed out *again*.

Take E to work coffee (biscuit, says E), and leave D's boots on the way. Then to town, misc, cb1 for a while and E very happy to sit there and eat more biscuits, I even get to read my mail.

Home 2 ish. Swap time with M and get to finish bottom 1/2 of house-side wall, and put door-table into place in shed. Coming along, if slowly.

Go get D. Christmas bazaar after school - I'd forgotten that. Buy Janets cards nicely done with bits of foam for trees, presents, etc. D can send those to his friends. They have a cafe so we sit down with Oliver's grandparents and I have tea and D a squash. Also get 2 dough-painted snowmen for Ma's tree.

Soir: to H for GP party but! cancelled: no one told me :-( Not too downheartened: talk a bit then home quiet.

Thurs 18th

Nikon arrives left by back door, & D's lego bike too.

M still somewhat sick (my cough nearly gone) but may go in later. Leave E with her.

W, then town. Browse primavera. Germ cafe for a ch. Thence Mill road for Cherry tree bowls but they are out of the price range I've been given of "about 10" so to cb1 to mail/phone M but fail. So unilaterally decide no. Coffee anyway. RS: buy photo frame for F. Maplin: lexmark usb z601 30, z605 40, p706 ?. And anyway buy 100 CD's (20) and a plug for M's toothbrush.

Thence to trinity market. Buy D a circular swing seat to go under the apple tree (12.50; from the chap who made our bench I think) and nesting rabbits/hedgehogs to replace the missing bowls.

Home as darkness falls. The shape of the black tree branches across the sunset is beautiful if perhaps a bit of a cliche - I reach for my camera but it is at home. As is M. Read paper and more of "7 american nights" unexpected Gene Wolff find yesterday. Paper: lego mindstorms to solve rubiks cube! Superb. Put nikon battery on to charge so I can test it - I won't *use* it before christmas honest.

5:45: go get E from M'a, happy as ever; take her to Mrs B for D's (and others) concert. Who is there: D, Adam, N, Catherine (surprise), Joel (ditto), and Abby. I video (I hope not too intrusively) D, N, A and a small bit of J. N somewhat more intrusively flashes off stills. All goes well; D can play quite well when he puts his mind to it. We tax him with this after: he says, yes, I pretend not to play. But he may just be reacting to us. N finishes off with the minute waltz creditably.

Home. M has made pancake mixture earlier and starts to cook. D and I sit down for him to write his c'cards to his classmates, and we get 7 done. Jesse still to do.

Show D lego from paper while reading Ch 3 of hobbit; he pores over it. AS he's of to bed I offer to find it for him on the internet (not sure what he makes of where it comes from) and I succeed: http://jpbrown.i8.com/. And we watch the video courtesy of our broadband.

Soir: restore wireless to portege and restore pics left there during the insurgency; change tree in "nikon" to by-year; burn 2003 to a new CD. M to bed 9:30: she went to Dr today who gave her some drugs this time (his algorithm seems to be to force you to go twice: a waste of everyones time).

Fri 19th

M back to work. My last day this year since I have holiday to burn.

At work: smoko: show lego from paper. Show + tell from tom & mario: crystals on soap film in chest freezer. Phil tries bubbles! Splendid: they bounce on dense air then (a few, once jds manages volume) freeze. You can see crystals forming on them, then they pop as snowflakes.

School 2:30 to dump play vid to tape. Takes usual 20 mins to figure controls.

D doesn't want to go to N's. I get bored there more quickly he sez. But when quizzed by N admits that its being made to tidy up too. However he does decide he wants to go...

5. Go get D (M back; I leave here E) and take him to John+Kate+L+R c'mas party, mulled mind and wince pies, all very nice, very busy, numerous infants we don't know and some we do (Phil; Nicole; Steve L and S). D quickly leaves my shelter and plays and eats so I get a long discussion with Steve about what the bios might want with a beowulf. Leave 6:30.

Sat 20th

To F, arrive 12:30 ish.

Same cast list as before, nearly, with Si+B replaced K. Lots of food, though main table less groaning than usual, someone (Mfd+J?) having presuaded F to see sense. They have been here since yesterday, cooking. Also Si+B I think. Anyway, I'm a bit tired and at one point nearly fall asleep against M (envying Mickey, who *has* gone upstairs to sleep). Later: bell-ringing tunes (Esther has brough a set) with even me and D joining in.

Leave 7; back 9; quite tired; kids to bed, us to rest, and unpack the implausibly large array of chocs F has given us. But *why* has she given us mint tea? We have it; she never does. We'll have to give it back to her so she *does* have some.

Sun 21st

Up 9 when E comes in to ask me to. Good. D still in bed I think.

Downstairs, quietly, I mostly lie in the sun while E burbles happily. She sits on her potty while I read "on your potty" to her; this happens quite often now. D down, also quiet, while M sleeps/reads upstairs. All tired from y'day I think. When M comes down I get some coffee and read paper by fire, sun having moved round.

1: test new nikon. Seems OK. Regretfully repack till c'mas.

Shed: put in above-the-bench on the house side, nearly to top on door side and "window", ie a pane of glass I found.

Take D and E to D's sunday club play rehearsal in the church at 3. Coach D on his lines (2nd innkeeper: shakes head; 3rd sheperd: lets go to bethlehem). 2 goes: run-through with direction a bit chaotic due to naughtiness in some quarters (not D), but second full run-through fine. Its much shorter than the schools: perhaps 3 mins. Take a few photos: we aren't allowed to during the real thing.

After, N back with us at D's req. Deliver card to Jesse (under mistaken impression that he had sent us card; later discover real card which is from #39 s'dale. Oops. Well no matter). Then DN self-entertain mostly, building a house under the table (cute; except we end up with cushions and duvets under the table which they never ever replace) and making some "builders plans" which D insists must be in pencil. Adiboo. Dinner: tortillas (which D tolerates and N likes) and refried beans (which neither will touch but M and I both like). N arrives to collect, and I show her some of the piano concert.

Soir: civ, playing to see if I can get a good start at deity on a large board (not really so far...). 10: break off and test-assemble E's dolls house. Its larger than you might think. All OK bar roof bar which needs a bit chopped off so just as well I tried it. Repack. About 50 mins total. M tidies (puts away meccano!).

Mon 22nd

Sun, but bitter cold out when I take E to M'a.

11: D & I rouse ourselves to cycle to town: open air (gloves for D for now); oxfam (wrap); w/s (books l+t); lush (bath stuff); library; maplin (cheapo printer but ch mind: it (lexmark z601) has only one cartridge (fakes b with colour) & carts exp) get bird lego (D desperate & uses his money); rs (get canon i350 70).

Sew name tags on D's gloves while he plays with new lego.

ME back: E wants to play maisie: "no hello daddy" first.

D finishes building bird; I string cord; it flaps down!

M up v late wrapping & reading Des Is.

Tues 23rd

Midwinter solstice passed unnoticed 2 days ago...

E wakes me at unearthly hour of 7:45.

All day: slowly rending down some of the honey-wax mix in the oven.

M to town to finish off bits of shopping. Quiet at home. I phone up Claire to see if B would like to come over pm and discover that we had arranged this last week! So go get him at 2:30. And he and D play happily, mostly building the house under the table with blankets and drawn windows and radio etc that D has been planning and half-making with friends for weeks now. And they get to have the second course of dinner (eggs) under there. And the ice cream.

At some point M comes back and I have about 1h down the shed to: bring the shorter benchtop inside and lay it flat with M's help and hope it will uncurl (shame on me). Then add the old white trestle table top as a wall, and nearly finish off the house side wall. Good.

Soir: I fall under the spell of civ again, sadly. Its a pleasant way to lose an evening... but I do some wrapping, though M does much more. The dolls house just gets a strip along the join of its box as a symbol else it would need reels. Finish 1:30, or at least I do the last washing up then, M goes on a little longer.

Wed 24th

Christmas eve! I lie in bed till 10:15 to celebrate being able to.

Grey out. After b'fast down to shed to secure the ridgepole over the holidays... this is still a somewhat unsatisfactory component, and needs wiring down for now.

Back inside. All under control, it seems. Work through giving names to most photos from 2003/08, write to CD, for Ma/Mfd-J. Lunch, pasta, to D's undelight: indeed he refuses to eat any, on the grounds that he has tried it before. Sigh. But he is v keen to help, by packing.

And we are so under control that we have 1/2 h to sit & wonder what we've forgotten. Drive to ch at 2:40 - already many there. Ans is: D's pomander & shepherds headress (all the other S's have one), so I go back. My L shoe finally gives up & the sole falls off!

Service v fam friendly, calypso-type hymns, & Cheryl fortunately has a loud voice over infant chatter. Play goes well & D does his bits. Coffee/chat & photo-op after.

Leave 4 for Ma; painless drive. D demonstrates whirling jellyfish. Ma has 6 rules pinned up - 3 of them are smile - to which adds "sit sensibly". Does she expect trouble?

To carols-on-the-green at 7; oops we're late, sounds of flute from ahead. Its mild. I spend most of it chasing E round playground. Stop to admire illuminated house on way back.

D is on camp bed in Ma's room; E in with us in cot; LT downstairs as usual.

D asks about Ma's caricature. What would she do for daddy? Woodworking, gardening, bees summarise me, its seems... oh, "& he likes lying about".

Bed midnight as the clock strikes.

Thurs 25th

E has another panic/stupidity fit in the night & after some uncertainty as to what she is panicing about decides on *i-want-sleep-mummy-bed*. But later I put her back.

Up 8 to merry sounds of DLT & E climbing out of her crib to find them, followed by sadness as E tries to take D's choc cash. But D leads her back to get her stocking.

Hurry over b'fast as all to ch at 9 bar D & I determined atheists. I get to peel pots & brussels & wash up, then D & I lay & light fire. Then we start game of battleships. Others return; LD play her mag 0's & crosses, inexpertly.

T opens his stocking finger paints & E joins him in the kitchen.

D decides to write up his table rules. But first he has to think what they are. 1: while the dishes are being brought in, sit quietly. What was 2?

LD too bouncy & sent out to play. D draws map of house & garden. L writes some 'clues' (to what?). L: you've got to guess mine! Ma: what was the clue? L: not telling you!

Lunch. Good. Kids well behaved for 1h at table, finishing as ever in time for Mrs Queen at 3. Then, presents. No free-for-all this y. One present apiece, open & play. Works well even if not strictly done. D spends a long time on clockwork stirrer-lego. I assemble E's dolls house.

Childs tea 5. We're too stuffed to eat.

Baths, bed. DL weigh 3 1/2 st or 22 kg each. E takes some settling.

Soir: 8.30: late snack (& cake!). Then: return to the thankless task of opening presents... In fact that there isn't too much. Read new nikon manual. Show Ma her tosh 4300. Bed 11.

Fri 26th

E wakes in night again... sigh, & worse. But my lie-in today.

More child pres. D: Rainforest rescue; E: noisy puzzles (m'a). D: snowboard lego (H). D spends much time on motorbike lego.

Jen & Joseph arrive, having delivered B&D to Mike & S, on the m1 somewhere. Ann & Alex, skye & kes arrive a bit later.

Lunch: busy with 13.

Walk pm on rec: cold & windy. Don't last long.

Back, light fire. At various times I, M & Alex snoze.

Bathtime is just like last night but the water is yellow not blood red: DL squirting-water-from mouth at each other with great enthusiasm.

Then stoats video again (after first ch that L is allowed that & story) before ch 12 (first 1/2) of H. Then bed. By 7:30. First this early for ages. Peace descends. Finish R+K are dead, which is cause for thought. V clever, too.

Upstairs 9 after snack for misc; D's bed empty; find him in ours: Do you know why? Sez D; No sez I: Because its too scary in the dark. Arrange more light.

Sat 27th

E doesn't rise till past 8 & D will be ok. B'fast peacefully.

Rnlt off to Sue+S for the day (reassurance to kids that they *will* come back). Meanwhile (sun) I to walk by canal with D. It is bracing. We explore: works by railway; swing bridge; locks. We have passed iiii gates (I am to write this down & have). He goes well (unwilling to leave house but skipping when we do) but its a long walk (4 miles?) & he tires & is chill just at the end.

Back. Marion. 3:30: to j+j. D takes book. Fam tree. Proct*e*r. J no better despite injection.

Rnlt back. Kids t: sos :-(. D knex. Baths, bed, E settle, D down, argue.

We eat: quiche. I wash up, M intro Ma to tosh.

Sun 28th

Sun early, though I arise late. E stayed in cot last night, hurrah.

11: out to berkhamsted castle for sentimental visit, at least for Rob, Ma & I. D & L love it for running around - I'm mystifyed - why did I not go there? & T E happy too. But the wind is bitter. Climb the mound & DL circle it.. twice.

Then home, via hill, common, ashridge (deer in trees).

All dance to jungle boogie.

I put E to bed, which involves much screaming. Eventually she calms down enough to sob 'i want go downstairs' but when asked why just the thought brings back screams. Let her down to listen to j b again but it does no good - screams again - eventually she tires & compromises by deciding she wanted to sleep on couch.

Soir: Billy Elliott - good - intermixed with the end of Kim - better.

Mon 29th

N's b'day. Wish her happy. Up with E 9 ish, slow. We were supposed to leave 10; do so 12:20, rain. But packing is slow & there is no real hurry. Marcham: J & F in; hello. Mfd, Si & B arrive from wherever; lunch. Presents. Spend ages over D's new marble run suspension tower.

Tues 30th

10:46 to Ox. D is making meringues with B & E is playing with wooden blocks, happily until we leave.

Oxford has allowed Calder to write its guide to modern science & he has put his prejudices - birch leaves by pers comm - into it. Sigh.

Borders, cafe, starbucks, but unlike C they are competent.

St Giles cafe, a place where they dont ask white-or-brown with your egg-on-toast-&-chips.

Oxfam bookshop & find scep rep from '70s.

2:55 back: M just makes it.

Jubilee walk to Black Horse & ipa. Muddy along field edge first half of bh path to pigs o/w good. Back, take grass track on other side.

Soir: read Copenicus. M tired & to bed early.

Wed 31st

Lazy & luxuriantly not up till past 10.

12: out in garden with DE to sweep up & bag leaves, & play hide&seek.

2: leave for Marion & John to adore the infant Isobel & we do so, even to the extent of holding her, & she is good & cries not. 1 1/2 h drive.

Back 6.30. D is making a fruit salad & is charmingly pleased/enthusiastic about this. Late dinner.

While we're looking (& failing) for his blanket, D tells Mr W & comfy cat about his cooking of the day.


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