WMC's diary pages, 2004.

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

October 2004

A quieter image. M is tired and sleeps amidst the debris of our living room; D and E are playing quietly. And I'm watching Fri 1st

D has been looking up the weather forecast on the web, and is sad: "why would god make it rain on my b'day?" a tricky theological poser. He is too young to introduce to the problem of evil, but I cannot resist replying "have you been naughty recently?" which (oh dear) causes him to ponder. M is not impressed.

School in a rush. I find Jenny so get a ballot paper - we searched at home but couldn't find one - to vote for Nikola. M has done a hand-written one that may or may not be valid. E to p-sch and find Brooke and dad to invite.

Work, somewhat. Home at 1 planning to read some papers but, ahem, end up not doing so. Well M is at home too. She goes off to get teh car and some presents for E from TB's shop; I pick up E from M'a and then to school. Collect young Patrick; talk to JM re piccies and help her mail me some. See D etc to m/sports.

Homewards with EP, but stop at bw to play, and they have fun, and I take some pics (though the light is poor). Home, briefly, because its nearly 4:30; happily M just gets back so I leave EP with her and get DNA and B. On the way trying and failing to help JM install her intel microscope.

And a happy afternoon we have of it, with them outside mostly, and me trying to download drivers for the qxl microscope. And possibly succeeding.

Dinner is fraught as always with so many trying to keep them all happy; A seems a bit off; not answering to command (even more than they usually don't). Hmm. And when home-time comes he is v sad - there was some problem with him getting more lolly or something. Anyway.

Peace. Quiet. M off to Ilga's concert. DE bath. E bed. Read asterix to D who is wildly excited by his b'day tomorrow (there is a present from M'a which he is sure is lego; and the bird lego he want. maybe). He wants b'fast in bed (after all he does M) and so we remember his menu. Put him to sleep on his floor in s'bag with torch.

Peace really now. Some reading and some tidying.

M back 10:30 - a good concert. Wrap D's presents (capsela from ebay; lego ditto). Also M has a lego CD. And last, print out a car (D on Zinfandel as a monkey).

Sat 2nd

D's b'day. M does indeed get up and bring him up a tray (at 7:30 - 7 was judged too early) inc M'a's present. D opens it and is delighted: a lego car. This gets fairly quickly built. I hear lots of happy cries of delight from him downstairs before I finally get up at 9. They have both opened pres from RNLT - a electric-car-to-build for D, and a little horse-showjumping-corral set for E. She is quite pleased with this although she doesn't really understand: the horses are all lying down: I pick one up: no she says, they are sleeping. Cory and Dk are round but we have to throw them out, but they will return after lunch.

Fairly soon we all have to go out: M and E to w'rose to shop; D chooses to come with me into town to buy party bags, so we cycle in. A struggle to buy anything tolerable, to me and D both. Still we find a b'day shop just outside grafton center that is OK. Just. Tried new R/S but no - still, interesting to see. Then we zoom back to...

School "show of childrens work" and coffee morning in aid of Belsan, 10-12. We get there at 11 just as Ma turns up. Nice lot of work, but not too many people: they never publicise these things very well. Anyway, we look round and D delights in writing on the intereactive whiteboard and rubbing it off. Which I admit is quite fun. But he must stop. Met N on way out: she lost 40-16.

Home. D now opens his "big present" which was the capsela and he is delighted (better than lego, he says; partly because he has used it at school). Build the RNLT car with D: it is fun: we do it together with me handling the tricky screws: a bit too much for a just-7 year old I would say. Scrabble game (from Ma) with D gets interrupted... I forget by what. Meanwhile E is playing with her new "baby Annabelle" sex doll, just like Lara had, and she loves it of course. It quickly displaces baby (though oddly baby ends up going to bed with her later). BA gurgles, "drinks" milk, responds to being rocked, etc etc and is pretty clever really. But not my thing. D is definitely interested too but when joshed by me about wanting one is aobliged to retreat :-(

Lunch: have the cake we bought at the stall (I forgot Ma was bringing one). After C+Dk turn up and D and Dk play new lego CD, E and C play sometimes, Ma chats to us.

After a while decide its time to go out! Because its a fine clear blowy day. Rip kids from pooter and off over stream around the field. Take C+Dk with us... they are fairly outdoor-y anyway, and haven't been this way before, though they know the stream. 1/2 way round D is feeling mutinous (and I think C+Dk would have been with their parents but can't be with us) but Ma and I will hear none of it (he walked round with me when he was 4 anyway) and after a bit they are running on ahead. E has to be carried mostly, carying baby Annabelle.

Home a bit before the rain sets in, though it later clears completely. But tomorrows forecast is now *heavy* rain :-((

C+Dk stay till nearly 6; D and Dk are a fair way through lego cd.

Dinner: M cooks tuna steak (eggs for me) which goes down well; we have a white wine and D too since its today; he likes it. Then D's b'day cake with candles and sing to him. Good.

Ma stays till 9; we discuss hols next year.

Soir: hack final draft of school report and learn to hate the evils of pagination, booklet printing, 2-to-a-page, and so on. But get a draft to Tricia and so settle back to contrails and listening to M's piano.

Sun 3rd

My day to rise. Sounds of infants percolate up - they are happy and being good to each other, D helping E get her b'fast. But! There are things to do. So I get up 8:30, b'fast, shave, settle D's costume (tlc's childs bee-suit as space-suit as last year; his std wellies as boots (no tinsel required)). OK. Repair his ray-gun and add a bit more silvery tape. Make E a "wand" since she is amongst the space-faeries and dress her in pink and stars to fit: she is happy. M takes her off at 10+ to help make sandwiches at N's so D and I get a game of (junior) scrabble which he wins again (damn him!) fairly by 11-10 I think. Then all-too-soon we must be off as D is keen to help set up too.

Get there a bit past 11. All is in order (N is really in charge). Chat to N'las who is in farmer mode on his newly aquired allotment, showing exemplary zeal in clearing it (the foul weather plan includes using the polytunnel...).

11:30: arrivals. My main task is video, and I do. Kids are required to stay at front then stage over to rec for the treasure hunt, which N'las has laid (and has only been slightly disturbed by two other lads). Teams are set up, orders shouted, one-2-3 and off they run. There are ?5? teams who have to run to the far corners of the field so they can't follow each other. N and N cycle around offering clues to the clueless and I vid. And so for 1/2 hour they run around and have fun and end up with some "treasure" - small sweeties; a balloon; that kind of stuff.

So... to the garden. Lunch is served and all rush up. It goes OK but the squeals of delight are distinctly muted as the sandwiches are ham or cream cheese and there are no crisps. There are bowls of carrots and grapes and apple though. Well, a brave attempt at healthy eating but perhaps a bit too far: I would have certainly included marmite and cheese & pickle sandwiches. But all settle down in various groupings an there are photo-ops for fairy wings etc. Later popcorn arrives and is pounced on. Then trampolining for almost all (not D, oddly: he won't take off his suit and doesn't want to risk it. OK).

Later the games... sack race; egg-and-spoon (with potatoes); three-legged. For most, this is fine, but for a few, its too much: an object lesson in the problem of even mildly competetive games. Adam (fairly I guess, but not really in the spirit) runs in his sack and therefore wins, whilst the bouncers don't. Sadness. Holding of the egg is always a problem. False starts are legion. And the wheelbarrow causes collapse (literal in some cases, OK, but psychic in others who don't win). And then the 3-legged race (D and Rebecca come second!). Some kids are fierce competitiors, others are less interested. So we end up with some tears that need soothing.

After this, more trampolining and its pretty well time to go: which is fortunate because the dull skies we were happy to get are beginning to show the predicted rain. But parents arrive and children are sheperded off with their party bags and all seem happy and to have had a good time. Wheeeeew. Charlie D is left: odd: never mind he gets on well with D so a small round of present-opening goes on (Candle set, mr good & pen - cath; rapid fire - reb; colour spindle - charlie) with D, N, E and Charlie, and they play a round of "rapid fire!" game. 2:30: time for us to go: we take CD 'cos N is heading off; phone his mum who is horrified at her social failure and rushes to collect him... but all OK.

Mfd/J/F arrive about then so another orgasmic round of present opening commences. Sadly the video is off at the time but D's happiness as he *does* get his robot lego kit is a wonderful sight. But he is pleased by all his presents without restraint this time. And E gets to open hers, since Mfd/J/F won't be here on tues.

Quiet pm after this. D makes first item of robot lego thenopens Billys present: which is lego rock raiders: and of course must try this out. So we do: I eventually realise its a bit like age-of-umpires: ie, quite hard to D. But he goes through the training missions. E has a road-board that folds into a sit-in car, and this is fun. Baby Annabelle has faded somewhat: contrary to my expectation she is only mildly interested in showing her off, though F is delighted.

Misc dinner; E happy but going mad; bath for her then try out new clothes inc dresses (good) then story (she wants richard scarry) then bed. D eventually has to be torn away from rock raiders and gets Asterix in Corse read by Mfd. Then he too is embedded and all is peace...

Soir: fight against the evil empire: try to persuade word to print out what it says it has, not what its tiny mind wants it to be. Argh. I hate word. I hate tables.

M pianos.

Mon 4th

M'a sick: I will do 12-3. E p'gp then do test-copy at sch: argh: it scr*ws the tables. Never use shaded tables! Rain/gust storm shakes trees.

Spent entire morn re-shuffling school rep. Word: argh! Several p'cuts don't help.

After (about 1) take E out back to p'gnd to find D, observe, & play. Weather now has shifted & is delightful: a perfect sunny blowy warm autumn day. E plays G, P & Ella (sequentially). I help solve the conker liquidity problem (D complains of sharp practice by the bankers) by encouraging D & B to mount a raid on the bank. A slide tackle solves it & results in a wild scramble & kids rushing off with bulging pockets (& no idea what to do with them).

M takes E shopping (tesco?!) & I sweep patio & sit in sunshine at front. Clear blue skies now. 5:55: rush off to get D from h/c but meet car on way: M had remembered. D rushes in crying 'rock raiders'.

E takes baby *and* b Annabelle to bed: b goes into her pram & ba sleeps with E.

Soir: M piano (I shall stop recording this: she always does) I wiki, then we tidy & she wraps E's pres.

Tues 5th

E's b'day! Morning she wakes up and gets her presents, mostly while I'm still abed. She goes to M'a as usual and I to work. I come back in time to tidy: l'room needs to be clear and swept etc etc. M comes back too and helps. Then to school to get E, D and a parcel of others: Patrick and N; A and Vivian; B and Gemma. Was that all? I think so. All walk back together (Claire and S too) and then others (Martha; Brooke). And all settle down to play while the adults talk and drink tea. The older children are "banished" - possibly self-banished - and D wants to show them rock raiders of course but really its a single-player game but they watch for a while. Nice to have Jesse and Ezra back after absence. Katie (and Sam) turn up at 4:30 after her ?ballet? But I'm busy making balloon animals and E is showing off her "car" which everyone wants to try. And Brooke is v keen on annabelle (well they all are).

After a while the elders go off outside (after it stops raining). I get called to arbitrate when Sam gets whacked (by N I think; but you know its bad if even S if having problems) and they calm down a little.

For b'day dinner bold M has fish and avacado which goes down surprisingly well (I would not have dared) and then we are getting towards the end and no-one has burst inot tears yet, success.

At the end we're a bit behind schedule so have to send Brookes parents away :-) for 15 mins. We didn't even get time to do a pass-the-parcel. But I did manage a survivors photo of the E-age-folk.

Afterwards. Debris: N's bike & a pink alice-band.

7: bath time for E & force D to join her to stop him playing RR for a moment. But he jumps out again asap, thouqh I remember his spellings.

Wed 6th

E: "lets pretend this is our house".

B comes round after school. E: "B, you can play with my presents & I'd like you to".

Soir: off to the pub! First itme in ages. Good. Me, A+S, Andrea.

Thurs 7th

Sun. D gets up early to do his robot. Good: it almost seemed he had deserted it for RR. He is proud of the extra laser he has inserted under the shoulder joint. I think.

Work but a bit disjointed. Leave 1:30 ish (vacillate to town or not? No), and happen by the school at PE/sports time. I stop to watch: ball-throwing in groups. Its a lovely sunny afternoon and I use up most of the sun watching them, but there is still a little bit left at home for me to drink my coffee in.

5: off to allot for a dig - harvest a few more potatoes from the disappointing middle section. Then get D then E. Home; M.

7: pc. Longer than I expected: N convinces me to reject 4-houses but inevitably tis lengthens the discussion. Beryl has sorted out the dog-notices with Gill K.

Soir: M puts heating on. But for some reason it doesn't come on in the morning.

Fri 8th

3:30: go get E, then back home, 'cos D is at multisports. We play a bit (E wants to play boxes, and I am given huggy to help me, and I introduce her to the 3-shell game (which is easier when the shells are boxes of different sizes and colours) and then try cheating, and I'm not sure if she didn't notice, or did and thought it was fun anyway).

4:30: to sch to see D (v v bouncy: too happy for his own good) off, and try to pass E off on Helen, which we have 1/2 arranged. H's car is full so I take E to her house but it does work. Dawns mother is distinctly unhappy when I walk across her newly cleaned floor.

So I get a quiet a'noon. I stop off at the allot and dig a bit, finally trying to remove the excess grass. Back home (M is bask) I do a little useful tidying as a gesture. M takes the chance to piano.

She gets the infants before 7 and I cook for M and I (pots, aub and curry sauce: yum).

Soir: even as I write this Xp is installing SP 2. Which is odd, because that should have happened already. I suppose I shall just let it happen because I really don't know what its up to. Deleteing all my files, probably.

OK, its finished now (exciting race-against-time toshuffle stuff off C: before it ran out of space...).

Sat 9th

Sun sun sun. Lie in it past 9.

M to w/rose with E leaving me D. Quiet: sit out with coffee & portege & paper; D rr's & robot-lego's. I help. ME back.

12: do bees: perhaps this will be last opp so take chance. Evil creatures sting me twice. This was instead of sailnig, too.

Lunch. M off to town, a bit hassled by shouty infants..

4:30 to bw to get kids out of house briefly. Windy.

M ratty when back when I complain (midly; joking) about the sphaggetti at dinner.

Need to put pre-school treasures old stuff into the loft. And we have been having a few flies downstairs. So decide the loft may need another spray. But do it badly... instead of putting files up, then spraying from far end and slamming the lid, I spray *first*, starting from the near end, and end up in a cloud of dying flies and letting loads of them downstairs. Argh. For unknown reason they like to roost in the apex of the roof where I didn't finish the panelling.

Wed 13th

Balloon off :-(. DE to BG anyway.

Thurs 14th

Forget E's lunch again.

3: argh. Give up. To town. Amnesty bookshop: dump some sci-fi. Cb1. Penguin for D's b'day waistcoat. Home: rain has cleared, lovely skies.

Whew! Tired. Fighting sigseg all day & it won :-(.

Sun 10th

Wake up with backache (base of spine). Not serious, just a bit of effort bending over. Why? Alloting on fri?

Robot. Flies.

1: having lunch and do the calcs and realise that really we ought to be leaving for Helen's party *now*. And of course that is the cue for the children to be awkward about clothes, going to the loo, in short anything to avoid leaving on time. Hey ho. We do arrive just in time shout hello to Sarah and to join the convoy to the church hall, where Phil is. D a little shy (he only knows H, and that from a while ago) but it all goes OK. Big space; bouncy astle, playmats and tricycles - quite a few youngers there, maybe 40 kids in all. Best game is: papier-mache balloons hung up, kids take turns to whack them, inside are sweets. Must try it.

Leave somewhat past 5. Talked to P (D+A not there: A near term with #4; M+J also absent) a bit during it: exchange we-must-meet-up's and hopefully we will.

Soir: first stab at looking for holidays. FF is free...

Mon 11th

Fairly useless day at work: try to get the model going on the itanium and fail again. In fact slight progress: look into the gcom tests and realise it fails there, so thats an easy first-failure.

Yoga lunchtime.

Home mildly early (and M says she got home even earlier, pissed off with work and sneaking home to piano).

M off to pre-sch meet about 8. D complains of feeling somewhat unwell, in a diffuse way, and says he has been for a day or so. Hmm. I felt rather light-headed today soir too.

Tues 12th

E to M'a. D Sch. School term times are:

9/2-12/17 (10/25-29) (73d) 1/5-3/24 (2/14-18) (52d) 4/11-7/22 (5/30-6/3) (70d)

+oct 22nd +jun 6th +apr 11th.

Must put on the web sometime.

And so to work, usefully. Angus krill talk at 1, then home. Faint rain.

Pick up DE from sch, and acquire Oliver and B too. OK. Home we go... some disagreement over what comp game to play, they start RR then try Island extreme. Then I throw them outside while I cook (pots/sos/eggs). Meantime, E has been playdo-ing and watching the comp too.

Tomorrow is balloon day, Andy will have them from 2, try to arrange M'a or Sally for earlier if needed but fail. Probably (forecast is heavy rain) flight will be cancelled.

Soir: yadia fails on ts1 with fpe8 ??? but this turns out to be in phydiag so I guess I've selected something incompatible. Oh dear.

Wed 13th

Today is to be balloon day. O'night hard rain not promising. Rain slackens but windy. M takes mobile by mistake so mail her: we need to phone after 12 to check. D to sch; back with E; smoko (E insists) then pool. Get out a bit early so can check phone and email about 12:30: yes its off (prob too windy). Ah well. At least that means E and I don't have to hurry, so we arj/cb1. Stop at rec on way back and get to sch 3:30.

DE end up at B's anyway, so M and I get a free afternoon which we use to thoroughly tidy the house (ha ha only kidding: we sit around reading of course).

Thurs 14th

Work till 3 then town. Cb1. Pick up D's waistcoat. Home.

Was that all?

Fri 15th

Work. Sch 1:30 for the owl pellet dissection fun. This is in cl 2, which is D's class, and he bounces when he sees me. And after JMs talk (kids on the steps: sometimes remembering to put up hands before talking: D right at the front; A loud) I get to sit at his table and help him, N, A, Cath and one other who is smaller. But I also wander around a bit taking a few photos. Every now and again I have to remember that I am not just here for D.

Its interesting. The pellets are about the size of my last thumb join, black, and mainly consist of mouse fur, with small bones embedded which the kids are to tease out. They have a paper with what skulls, ribs, pelvis, etc look like. D is unlucky and doesn't have a skull: about 1/2 of them have one. Billy has a bird skull. Lots of ribs. Some of the odd bits are vertebrae. Anyway, great excitment and kids getting hands dirty (the plastic tweezers are hopeless, and anyway you need 2 objects; toothpicks that come round later are better) for about 1/2 hour. More picking about for another 1/2 ish. This merges into sticking the bones onto card, sorted by type (no-one manages to assemble a full skeleton by function).

Then keen ones (Cath) keep going; others fade off into choosing time (its raining too much to go out). Fun.

Tea after in the staff room. Then off to get E (happy) and back to school. See D into multi-s (he doesn't want to go: why not?) and take EP back home, P again on my handlebars.

M back as we are. Inside (rain). Misc. M goes off 4:30 to collect DNA. E and P play together with the horse dressage/jump set from RNLT. They are very sweet. I video them. They have laid some of the horses down. "this is the mummy horse; yours is the daddy. The baby comes in and says wake up mummy..." etc. I can't recapture it. But I don't have to since I have the vid. Arrival of DNA breaks up this peaceful scene, of course.

Misc to dinner. Mostly happy - often clustered round pooter. D sad upstairs - I think they wanted the wrong game - Oz - now considered offensively boring by D. H collects at 7.

Soir: wiki: sulphur wars.

Sat 16th

DE happy noises: D, shall we get up? says E. And more cuteness.

Grey. No wind (no sail). Town, whilst M takes DE w/rose (good luck to M: E is fairly mad). We'll meet at germ for lunch. Drop more winnowed books at amn.

Arj then Germ: others there. Thence walk (E rides) to Grafton so D can spend his accumulated money - he spent the morning counting it out. To r/s and end up buying "fish lego" for about 6 - a good choice, he has wanted it for a while and its quite small.

Walk back into town, E sad, wants M to carry her but she rides on my bike. Split: I cycle off with D; M and E to go to whs for her preschool treas stationary needs. D and I have a long stop at w/s, cafe then kids books. He reads a Rupert annual.

Rec: see A; stop. Also Paul, O, V & C McR. D joins A at f'ball (good) & I knock up N & get Joel too. P later.

5: Joel (walking sadly back with me): 'I don't really feel like N's friend anymore... when she sees someone else she runs off & plays with them'. Odd words for a 6-y-old. Then they all run together & climb on the baby swings. Hmm. Then its dens and sticks and stuff.

Home a bit before 6 - I have been somewhat naughty not getting back earlier and M is allowed to feel hard done by. She sleeps for most of the rest, doing her best to ignore D and E, but they won't take the hint and she won't enforce it.

When D goes up to bed at 8;15 she goes to at his suggestion, but comes back later to piano.

Sun 17th

E in our bed wriggles & I get up a bit before 9. D is rr'ing - I'm not sure how far he has got.

Dak comes round. D rushes u'stairs to get dressed & I answer door in d'gown. Only E is respectable. Send him away for 5 mins while we dress.

11: DE go off to look for Dak, who has not ret. Now its raining: blows my plans to sit in the sun.

Dak back: he & D play. M awakes just before noon. Send Dak home at lunch.

Tricia phones re school: tribunal. Do I know owt? No. Ok.

2: DE & I off to walk leaving M asleep

on sofa.

To rec takes about 1 1/2 h with playing in stream, wiping off mud, etc. E gets some carry but not too much; whines for more.

Rec: knock up N; later P. Nick is bottling apples. Kids run around rec on motorised aquatic beds, apparently.

Billy arrives (with A, who is off to collect wood). B: i've got a skeleton mask for h'een (turns round points bottom at D & pretends to fart. D: eo what I've got more money in my piggy bank (trpbaB&ptf). N: & I'm going to Canada!

Mon 18th

Awake when M says what-is-the-time, oh dear it 8:40. So we leap out of bed and rouse the infants. D most cooperative, E less so. D and I rush breakfst and rush off leaving E to M. Arrive a it past 9:05 but just on the OK side of not-too-late.

Heavy day at work debugging/installing under g95/itanium ending at success at 11:30... argh.


Claire says: pub is shut. I cycle past: closed until further notice :-(. Oh dear.

Work... further fix to g95 (strip out unit8 stuff) (its slow though) and then play ifort/itanium without success.

Home: toast/coffee/paper.

Sch: talk M'a re pub while waiting D. She doesn't know either. C says they want to borrow a mitre saw. I think I know what they mean.

Let DE play a bit... the cl 2 courtyard gate is broken... try to remember drill tomorrow. Home: D tells people he has "something important to do" - he means RR. And he rushes onto that. E is a bit too talkative for my tastes and won't leave me in peace... poor E, she needs a G or P to play with, not me.

Feed them spag-from-tin at their req: ugh. E sent upstairs for not eating her brocolli but D does.

Andy comes round to borrow saw and we discuss pub - he is going to phone brewery tomorrow.

M back 6.

I put in more work on ifort but no luck. I *do* dicover that putting a return into um_index is not a good idea. Thats a UM joke, folks.

Soir: M does treasurers stuff and then piano. She has bought 2 CD's of the piece she is learning.

Wed 20th

Smoko/swim/arg/cb1/school: as ever, our happy little round. Amna plaits E's hair at the sides.

Powercut. Hmm. Its by Andys house & will take hours to fix. A night for us all to pub? But we can't phone. Neither can A. But N can & even has power. Re-enable mobile too, though will take hours to come onstream.

M is in hospital. She is a horse, & D decides that E is not a dr but M's owner. They have bandaged M's leg. Baby is helping as is big panda. Now she has stings on her leg & D has cut her a patch. Madam (he says to E) do you think the horse needs a s, m or l patch?

Soir: since we have a power cut, all to Castle. Arrive 7:30 ish and get dinner. Its rather noisy but we are OK: D reads A+O; M reads to E; I read "subtle is the lard" (or Laird?). A+S arrive a bit before 9 and we talk. But E is getting rather tired/naughty and M is just getting tired, so she goes back 10ish. A+S kindly give me a lift back at 11.

Thurs 21st

Not a great day. Work misc till 1:30 then town (cb1). Home (go past school 3:30 to pick up all D's stuff), home mope mostly. Andy collects D for "spooky bingo" at 6:20. I'm supposed to be going to gov meeting tonight but go to bed instead to nurse my illness (the main item was MG "sharing the school vision" and I was intending to be good and sit through it; but sleep beckoned). Hear D come back: he seems to have loved it: perhaps he can go with Betty...

Fri 22nd

School is out. We don't get up till 9. I take E to M'a and M will have a day off work with D. I get back about 1:30.

pm: various kids (inc Taylor) come round and play outside with D: mostly in the sandpit but with a venture down into the stream.

Soir: Corrina Taylor (new b/sitter) comes at 7:15 and gets to nkow E and sees D at the pooter. E shyly asks for a story and C takes her upstairs: that seems OK. Off we go to...

C folk club in Trumpington have Carthy playing, in the chruch hall next door 'cos he is popular (should have been +Waterson but she is ill, sadly). Aside: it seems odd to me that you can be as famous as C is (in the folk world, anyway) and end up playing in church halls... Well maybe he likes small venues. Anyway, he is good. Perhaps not as good as I'd hoped... not sure. "Famous flower of serving men" is excellent. And some new (to me; but its trad) stuff.

Back 11:30. M feels "gulity" so gives C 30.

Sat 23rd

We get to lie in till 10, & so do, in sun. Maybe we'll have to learn not to this. For the last few years we have relied on children/school to drag us out of bed: will we have to learn self discipline?

Anyway, at 11 I head off for town and MED head off for w/rose. Its bright and sunny still and a pleasure to be out. Drop more winnowed books to amnesty, then to Cb1 for a relax. It is (of course) a bit silly coming all this way to rest and read but I like it. And someone else washes up my coffee cups.

After: arj; then browse the 3490 in computer resale and very very nearly buy it: my 3110 is swapping so much the disk is bound to die sometime. Or should I just buy mine more memory... vacillate. Again.

By now its raining :-( and cycle back in same, arriving just as MED do. Is is bouncy and goes inside so she can come out with her umbrella. D has a stomach ache and goes in to lie down, though impishly asks if he can play RR.

I have lunch (they did at w/r) and M goes off. D does get up to play, and gradually recovers through the pm.

Bathe kids then dinner: I have cooked baked apples (Nicholas's. Stuff with currants and honey, baked for 1/2h+) and they are very good.

Soir: wiki (me) piano (M).

Sun 24th

Leave 11:30 for Ma's. Arrive a bit after 1 I think, kids rush in and greet L/T and of course RN/Ma. And so do we.

Lunch is the usual (excellent) english lunch without the meat. After out to Ashridge for a walk. Its sunny, off and on, though not warm. L (and to a lesser extent T) have compiled a list of things (there are 4 "clipboards" with the lists; D and L have the same (L copied her original) and E and T also have one the same, but theirs has pictograms: horse, tree, leaf, etc). L/D's has 34 things on it (or was it 38?) and we see most of them. After a while lists are forgotten as they play in mud, find and climb fallen trees, make "dens", etc etc. And the adults walk and realise how little has changed in us since we last met.

Home: fire: roast the chestnuts we collected: good. RNLT leave about 7 and we leave soon after, but! DE remain with Ma (to be passed on to Mfd/J tomorrow). All are happy at this.

Mon 25th

Work / Y / W. Machines are off: internet is down and this affects DNS. Or something. So I come home a bit early and read a touch at home - Trenberth.

Phone Mfd/J at 7: D delightedly tells me that G'dad has been very naughty: he said "Bloody Hell" apparently, though why we don't know. I think we can forgive him.

Tues 26th

Guardian p2 splashed wik: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1335837,00.html. Well well. Mostly complementary, mostly correct.

W, machines come back 1/2 way through morning, hurrah. Get von Storch papers from latest Science and take them to town with me: cb1. Then hattifatteners for light shades... ours are getting rather flyblown. CarPW to try to sort out old phone... needs to be unlocked, apparently. Still, get numbers xferred to the new one.

M gets back at 7ish and spends most of the rest of the evennig till past 10 playing the piano. Truely she is a woman released, unleased, inspired. Hopefully she won't burn out, though no sign of this as yet.

D's delight this evening is that he is eating CHICKEN in big letters...

Finally put up M's final words (so to speak) on the web.

Wed 27th

Another leisurely awakening. M tinkles while I laze, then goes off about 9. I sit with coffee and wiki and paper. About 10:30 I raise myself and head off to the allotment for a planned dig: a line of pots up (rather meagre - does it need fertilizer?) from the middle patch then discover some lost onions at the back and pull out a fair crop. Pub still shut :-( so off home about 1; bath.

Lunch in front of the fire... outside its getting grey and windy (as forecast).

M back 4 just as I settle down to write this and the last few days: I'm getting out of date again.

Gp, UA, 7:45.

Pub, 9. A+S, M & I.

M gives me a lift home.

Thurs 28th

Sun. M & I cycle together. To work ~10. Then town (bike light for M) then cb1.

Fri 29th

Work till 2, then home. Tidy a little but not too much, I had hoped to do more, but after lunch comes cooking for the grand rentree, which doesn't occur till 6:30 as it happens. And then our infants come running out fo the car into my arms... well pretty well. In fact I see them drive up and watch D and E holding hands walking carefully across the road and then come and kiss me. Welcome back.

Sat 30th

Children are back but as usual now don't disturb us in the morning and I finally get up 9:30. they seem to have been playing in the spare bedroom - we didn't leave it like that did we?

With D a minor sort of toys & id 4 for the j'sale. He gets 50p a toy & all gain. Drop them off on way to town. Lib: return 2 boks well late. Phone: cpw don't understand but Mr Unlocking sez the phone is blocked: oh ho, that makes sense. Cb1. Buy sweets for tomorrow.

3:30 to jumble sale. All the best stuff is gone, but the point is to get rid of stuff, not buy more... D gets water pistol, E a bag of stuff. Met J&E, & Bram & Mar & Anna.

Carve pumpkin #1 according to a plan that D has. He draws #2 - thats for tomorrow. Test it.

M plays till late and I wiki same. Hmm.

Sun 31st

10pm: newstime: there is no news - or at least nothing very new. So I'll get on with this, updating the day. The clocks changed today, and as usual neither M nor myself felt able to work out which way they were going - fortunately our bedside clock is a radio-synched one so it knew. Anyway, D and E got up very amicably in the morning and went downstairs quietly. I decided to get up at 8:30 (= 9:30 in old money) and we had brekkers, D of course needing tearing away from RR. A little later he finished "frozen frenzy" which is some kind of milestone for him. This game (unlike the racing ones) I haven't been helping him so don't really know where he is at.

Mid-morning I decide on some "gardening" which turns out to be pruning the vine and hence improving our living room light now its winter. And sweep the patio and stuff. D and E come out to play in the sandpit and E brings baby/A and "helps" me a bit, and stays as D goes in. It becomes sunny, and warm, so much so that we lunch outside - how pleasant. Move the table off the grass onto the patio. Now I can cut the grass, ha ha.

Tidy up after. To alot to cut my one pumpkin of the year, a success, and carve it - its nice and soft. Make it into a carryable lantern. Prepare D's costume - a sheet for a ghost. Hmm. Slice him eyeholes but as last year its not toally satisfactory as they keep slipping. We are going to A/C's for their party and trick-or-treating.

4:30: off DE and I go - M must stay home, of course, to give sweets to the misc t-or-t folk who are coming round - or at least that is her excuse. E has her slightly sinister butterfly mask - but she is young and cute so no problem. This is her first venture. D has his ghost sheet and spider-on-a-strong with a torch tied under it. I have a pumpkin lantern.

A/C is crowded: Kate+; Ross+; Helen+; Barbara+. Claire looks rather good in her witch-wig :-). D is instantly judged "not scary enough" by Billy and Milan, which is unfortunate: they have skeleton costumes and glow-in-the-dark cleaver and axe, respectively. D is outnumbered and outgunned. Hmm. Games: bobbing for apples; and for dount-from-a-line; treasure hunt in the garden. Quick dinner: sausage-inna-bun and cakes etc. Then its time to go off and t-or-t. Andy has pre-preapared Bennys way (as we're a large group) and has even dist sweets to some. And so we go off and scare people. E takes a while to get used to it and first house D fails to get to the door in time... I don't know. In fact D fairly soon tires of his ghost costume, and his spider, and fairly clearly angles for better next year. But is quite happy in the group anyway. We do the Boatfields and one other as a last unprepared thing, then back to A/C then home, doing G+E on the way.

Whehew. Home. Hot Choc all round, then change E for bed, or rather M does, which is fortunate because out of nowhere E looks a bit unhappy then spews. Fortunately not too much and most of it is hot choc, or just tepid now. Oh dear. M baths her then bed. I decide to bath too and retire with "Nightfall 2" which is weirdly compulsive.

D comes up to brush teeth and is not looking forward to school, he says. Why not? Doesn't like/want to do the work. Hmm.

Despite best efforts, bed after 11. Well, I wrote all this...

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