Sunday, May 28, 2006

"I'm so lucky to have three lovely boys", SuperSpouse commented as he tucked our youngest son into bed the other evening.

"You're lucky to have three such talented boys", the little monkey responded. "Mind you, I don't know what my talents are yet ..."

The three lovely, talented boys put their talents to use dusting Aged Auntie's flat yesterday afternoon. It has been placed in the hands of a letting agency, but we thought it could do with a good clean before they showed anyone round. SuperSpouse booked cleaners for Thursday, but things didn't work out. First he was phoned to ask if he could get their early, then spent the next hour kicking his heels while the cleaners didn't turn up. Finally, when he phoned to ask where they were, he was told they'd been sent to the wrong job. Great! So we spent our Saturday afternoon doing it ourselves.

"I've saved fifty quid", SuperSpouse sighed contentedly. Well, actually ... take off what it cost for McFlurries all round afterwards, and a small contribution to the boys' holiday savings ...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

SuperSpouse is roasting in Budapest. There's no justice! We are cold and wet here in Glasgow. The boys got drenched between school and the childminder's, and I have wet coats hanging up to dry, not to mention wet school uniform which has been washed and [mostly] tumbled to speed it on its way.

You shouldn't have to put heaters on at the end of May. Nor wear warm fleeces!

I've struggled nobly to get through the research reading I had planned - the end of one particular book is at least in sight now. But the gathering together of materials and the serious business of writing hasn't even begun. Still, I'm a bit further ahead than I was before, so it has been worthwhile.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Assorted thoughts of a postgraduate Pseudo-Supermum

I worked six days this week. Well, six and a half, really. Monday to Saturday at work. Thursday night choir practice and Sunday morning organ-playing.

On Tuesday afternoon, I left work early to see my supervisor at Uni. Felt dizzy and nauseous on the way there, and could barely assemble my thoughts into any intelligent kind of order, let alone clued-up postgrad kind of order. I'm not sure whether this was (a) exhaustion; (b) a panic-attack or (c) total meltdown caused by too much stress altogether.

Whatever - I took it as a sign I needed to chill a bit. Wednesday afternoon wasn't much fun - a test at hospital to see if my February day-surgery had been effective. Result? Improved, but not a total cure. I wasn't surprised - but it confirmed my disappointment. Did I do any research reading on Wednesday night, then? No. Nor on Thursday, because I had choir practice. This gets a bit ridiculous, really - when will I ever get anything meaningful done?

Friday, I worked for an hour, attended a committee meeting for half an hour, then headed to Stirling for a Hogg symposium. James Hogg was a Scottish Borders poet who was famous and influential in the early 19th century. He collected songs, so I need to know about him and his collecting activities. The symposium was excellent - just a pity I couldn't be there for the whole morning. Still, it was nice to spend a few hours just being a postgrad - and not trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot at work or multitask at home! Of course, when I did get home, it was still Friday night, which meant it was still time for the supermarket dash, and the laundry-processing, etc. Dull, but necessary.

This afternoon, we visited friends. SuperSpouse's aged aunt has advancing Alzheimer's and it's awful. This friend, on the other hand, is only a little older than SuperSpouse. Her Alzheimer's isn't yet as advanced, and if you hadn't known her a year ago, you mightn't have realised there was anything wrong. However, it was only too apparent to us adults. It's desperately sad - a positive, spirited personality becoming anxious and dependent. Her husband is marvellous - we take our hats off to him for the way he's coping. But it can't be easy for them.

I've got two days off now! SuperSpouse is going to Budapest for a few days with a tram-loving friend. To make life easier for the school run etc, I'm taking tomorrow off in lieu of Saturday, and Tuesday off to reclaim some of the extra hours I've put in recently. I can spend two whole days being a postgrad, concentrating on my research and trying to make a bit of progress.

Right now, however, I need to encourage no.2 son to get ready for bed ...

A propos of the bullying last weekend - higher authority is looking into the situation and assures me that it will be dealt with. Thank God!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

  • Tuesday after breakfast. Turn on mobile phone to find a voicemail message from no.2 son's friend. Would he like to go for a play-date on Saturday? You never know if this is an arrangement sanctioned by the friend's parents, though - and I had to wait until this evening before I could speak to them.
  • Tuesday after work. Now no.2 son wants to take a different friend to football training tomorrow and then home for tea. A nice idea - but you have to pay for the football as a block of lessons, and fill in a parental permission form. Which I can't do for someone else's child ...
  • Tuesday before tea. No.3 son wanted his friend to come round to play. The friend suggested he could come and have tea at our house. I rang his mum to see if she knew about this idea. Yes, she had been told. No, he couldn't come to tea - she would be ready to serve his tea in just ten minutes' time!
  • Tuesday after tea. No.3's friend came round to play. The mother of no.2's first friend confirmed that he is invited to go and play on Saturday. And the mother of no.2's second friend knew nothing about the football arrangement! (I phoned just to make sure she wasn't expecting us to collect him from school - but she said that she never believed a word of what her son told her, in any case!)

Meanwhile, down in Norfolk, a new nephew was born today. Welcome, Zachary!

Monday, May 15, 2006

A propos of the name-calling, Pseudo-Supermum decided to act on a hunch. No.2 son informed me that he'd been called the name of a famous wrestler - not that I'd have known, of course. I turned to Google to see what I could find out about the man.

It couldn't have been better. I downloaded a few facts and a photo, then cautiously showed my research findings to no.2 Son.

His face lit up. "Can I show Dad? I don't mind so much being called that name if he looks like that!" (Well, the wrestler was something of a body beautiful, I must admit.) "And look!"

This was my amazing piece of luck. Our hero shared my own birthday!
At least seven hours' piano playing! Not bad for a normal, action-packed weekend. On top of the swimming lesson, the haircuts, the church organist session, the routine laundry ...

Noble SuperSpouse was conducting a choral concert on Saturday night, you see. I was the honorary pianist, and a lot of practising was required beforehand.

I think the only essential thing that got missed out over the weekend was cleaning the hamster cage, and that is about to be done. It should be Cello-Kid's task, but I'll do it in his absence, as ever. Ocarina-Kid is eager to help.

Viola-Kid had an action-packed weekend of his own, since he went to a Boys' Brigade camp. It was at an outdoor education centre, and he loved all the activities. Sadly, he was upset by some silly name-calling. He absolutely hates people messing about with his name. I can understand that - I went through it myself in primary school. It makes you miserable, and the more you protest what your name really is, the more the little beasts continue to torment you.

I like to think that if the other boys - who I'm sure are all nice, normal little boys at home - knew how they'd upset him, they'd be ashamed of themselves. It makes me very sad. At the end of his exciting weekend, I didn't think I'd be hugging a sobbing little boy, trying to cuddle the hurt away.

Image from

Monday, May 08, 2006

Almost but not quite lost at sea!

Last Thursday night, Glasgow was hit by a tremendous thunderstorm - I've never seen anything like it in the UK. Loads of thunder, incredible lightning flashes - and torrential rain.

Canniesburn Toll (a roundabout) was flooded. The Xantia got through that, despite being decidedly low-slung. So I set off up the Switchback Road. You don't tend to think that an uphill road will be flooded. However, there are obviously level stretches. Gingerly following other drivers, I mounted the kerb of the central reservation and set off through the first flood. It was DEEP. The car spluttered, almost stalled, the clutch obviously didn't engage and the internal workings raced. Then, just as I was muttering "I can't do this, I'm going to be stuck, oh HELP!, it did go into first gear and I made it through.

Got a bit further and the same happened again. Through my mind went the dreadful thought that if I stopped, so would everyone else behind me.

I made it home - there was nothing so spectacular on the south side, and the Clyde Tunnel was mercifully just fine - but I was so traumatised that I didn't sleep until 4 am on Friday.

Not long after we both got home from our respective choir practises, no.1 son phoned up. "Are you both okay?" - but before I'd recovered from his touching concern, he cut to the main reason for his call. "Any chance you could drop those cello studies off? I need them for tomorrow's lesson." Go out again in that storm? You gotta be kidding, kid. I thought his teacher would probably understand!

Funnily enough, the two younger boys were a bit scared, but today no.3 son admitted - "actually, I quite liked it, really." Pseudo-Supermum might have enjoyed it more if she hadn't been obliged to drive home in it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The neighbour's cat has just looked over the wall - and with a look of abject panic, slunk away again. Well he might be worried - while we were indoors entertaining visitors, the kids got hold of the hose attachment ... and a grand waterfight ensued. They had a great time, but the garden is very wet, the side lane is flooded (a bit of a problem for the other neighbours who need to wheel their wheely bins out tonight), and we suspect that rather a lot of water might have gone under another lot of neighbours' back yard gate. If their yard is flooded, we can expect an angry knock on the door later on. Time for a sharp exit? That's exactly what Amber the cat decided, as he made himself scarce. At least the sun's shining - maybe some of the water will evaporate before sunset!

Our boys were playing with several of the local lads. They all got completely drenched - as our washing-machine knows to its cost. Another boy, who wasn't in the water fight, has just informed me that two of the others have got in trouble with their mother for being soaking wet. Uh-oh! Guess who won't be the most popular parents on the block right now? (image from

Well, this morning I baked - scones and a sponge-cake - and the bread-machine assisted with buns and a beautiful loaf - and I cooked Chicken Maryland again. The only good thing about it all is that tea is now taken care of. Apart from taking two boys leafleting on behalf of the Boys' Brigade, returning no.1 to his hall of residence, and supervising bath and bedtime, I might even get some research reading done later.

Just one hesitant question - this is a Bank Holiday, right? So bank employees get a day off. I've had a day off, too. But was it really a day off? It seems to me like just a different kind of work! I haven't yet mentioned the muddy carpet when a scooter was wheeled down the lane - BEFORE it got flooded - and then in through our front door. Remember I paid Chem-Dry vast sums of money to cleanse and sterilise our carpets, only two months ago ....?