A fresh start

I don’t remember what year I first went to the Lodge for Hogmanay. It might even have been 20 years ago. I went with my boyfriend of the time, and his family, and I was a little overwhelmed to be joining what was a family trip to stay with old friends.

One of the very few photos I have from that time. Of crockery and tea towels and Teachers and clementines.   

One of the very few photos I have from that time. Of crockery and tea towels and Teachers and clementines.   

Theres a quote attributed to Maya Angelou that goes along the lines of

 “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

I might not remember the precise date. But I do remember how I felt.  

Welcomed. 

Included.  

Warm. 

and very well fed. 

I remember a house filled with laughter, people and whisky. I remember wondering if the house was a TARDIS, because it seemed to expand to accommodate any and all comers. I remember singing and drinking and coal fired and the bells. And I remember the most enormous fry up the next morning. With slices of fried Christmas cake (sans icing and marzipan). I remember the steak pies. That were huge. And never ending. And there always being enough to feed everyone and more. It felt magical.

I remember those things so vividly. That sense of togetherness. Of family and friends and hospitality.  

And I remember, when that relationship ended, feeling deeply sad that New Years would no longer feel like that. 

And somewhere deep inside I decided that if and when I could, that I would try to recreate that feeling in my own life. That I would work to make my home a welcoming place to friends and family. And their partners or paramours or persons of interest. That as far as we were able, we would welcome folk with open arms, good food and drink, and a clean, comfy bed if they needed or wanted it.

And for the last few years, we’ve managed it. Through the year, but especially at the turn of the year.

We host a Hogmanay party. There is always too much food and booze. But it works out ok in the end. Fried breakfast is available in the morning for those that want or need it. The Scottish kind. With black pudding and tattie scones. And fried fruit cake if we have any. And for lunch on New Year’s Day, in honour of the Lodge, I make a gigantic steak pie, and others arrive as the day goes on, and we sit down to steak pie (and often apple crumble for dessert) and it’s brill.  

My kitchen looks like a disaster area for 48 hours and I fear the knock on the door signalling an intervention from concerned recycling collection operatives, but it is worth it.

For family, and friends who are pretty much family, and for being together.  

And also for this.

This year's steak pie

This year's steak pie

And so, for 2018, may the paths o'er which you wander be to you a joy each day…

and lang may yer lum reek! 

Using a website as a screensaver in OS X

Being a blog post mostly written as a reminder so that I can remember how I do this when I change machine the next time.

  1. Use Alastair Tse's WebViewScreensaver (new window) because Gavin Brock's WebSaver (new window) doesn't come with any installation instructions and there isn't an obvious .saver file or similar to double click (and who needs a helping of feeling stupid when trying to just have a pretty screen saver appear.
  2. Go into Security & Privacy in System Preferences to tell OS X that you really really do want to install the thing.
  3. Add What colour is it? or Design Quotes Display to the URL list. Or whatever site is currently rocking your world.
  4. Win.

 

Blogging Like It's 2000

Blogging in 2015 is a funny beast. When I began, in March 2000, there were an awful lot more personal blogs than any other kind. Nowadays, it's all about being a Lifestyle blog, or a Fashion blog or a M(o)ummy Blog or a whatever the hell blog. And I get it. Blogs are big business now, and how can you make money unless you're specific about your audience and what you offer them, but I miss the old personal blogs.

I miss writing a personal blog.

I miss writing.

I've tried so many times over the last few years to start blogging again, even creating separate blogs, but the truth is that I don't want to be limited by writing about just the one thing. I don't want a knitting blog, or a mummy blog, or a professional design blog, or a running blog, or a stationery blog, or a craft blog, or a nail blog. I just want a me blog.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to write. About whatever moves me, and not worry about audience or social media strategies or following any of what seem like the million rules that have sprung up about how to blog.

Why now? Well, I was a bit inspired by what Norm and Neil wrote this week about side projects, and accountability.

So here goes.

Things I didn't really understand before becoming a mum

Being up and awake before anyone else in the house is

I used to read these magazine or newspaper articles where some famous/successful/interesting woman would be interviewed and she'd say something along the lines of: 

"My favourite time of the day is first thing in the morning. I like to get up at [the crack of sparrowfart, or earlier] before everyone else gets up. It's so peaceful, and I can have that time to myself before the demands of the day kick in".

and I'd be thinking to myself how crazy she was, and that she could be sleeping!

Oh, how little I knew.

Since becoming a mother, I have a window of approximately 30 seconds in the morning, where, if all goes well, I can go back to sleep. Anything beyond that and it's too late. I'm up for the day. I didn't used to be like this. I sometimes really wish I wasn't like this.

But…

There is something kind of magical about the peace and quiet in those early hours. The gift they give of being able to come in to yourself slowly. With a cup of tea and a book, or some knitting, or the breakfast you want, when you want it, without a tiny human hanging off your legs. To sit on the toilet without someone actually sitting on you. The time to be you. Not mum, not wife, not host. No demands, no conversation, no noise.

Magic.

Hand cream

I knew about hand cream before I became a mum. And occasionally I bought some, thinking that I should really use it, but I never really did.

Then I became a mum and the hand-washing really started. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I was a dirty skank before. I washed my hands. I just didn't have the need to wash my hands quite so bloody much before.

Never mind washing that man right out of your hair - babies will make you wash that skin right offa your hands.

Hand cream. Bloody brilliant. Current fave: Neal's Yard Melissa Hand Cream.

Spa Days

Sure, they're nice and all, but you can get the same effect just having a bath and doing stuff at home, right?

That was before I knew that actually having the time to run a bath, get into it, have a soak, a read, a relax, uninterrupted for at least an hour, was likely to be rarer than hen's teeth.

Sometimes, I fantasise about running away to a Premier Inn for a night. Just so I can have a bloody bath and not have to sleep with one ear open, in case Junior needs me.

That you can't call in sick to being a mum

As I enter week 3 of the virus that keeps on giving, I'm reminded again that no matter what else is going on, I can't just retire to my bed with a box of Kleenex Balsam and all of netflix for days, until I feel better. That's not to say that MrP doesn't help - he does, but sometimes, only mummy will do. So unless I'm out of the house, I'm very very rarely entirely off duty.

I know this will get better as he gets older, but sometimes, when I'm feeling really really awful, I just want to hibernate and not have to deal with anyone else's needs. 

 

Not in London Anymore, Toto

After 12 years and 26 days of living the London life, I took a deep breath and moved outside the M25.

IMG_0612.jpg

The commute is longer, but though I loved living in East Dulwich for the last 5 years, this feels better. The sky is bigger, the grass is greener (and there's a lot more of it, almost everywhere I look) and we're weeks away from having a home to call our own.

We're beginning to put down roots and I can feel my wings beginning to uncurl.