Wednesday, 28 July 2010


First for some music: and    I'm probably singing the former at a concert coming up in September: my first solo performance for many years; and hoping to sing the second at my brother-in-law's wedding (hurry up and set a date, you two!).  I just wish I could find a decent local counter-tenor for the duet, as I prefer it sung by a counter-tenor and soprano rather than a tenor and soprano or two sopranos.

Lascia ch'io pianga, I also realised yesterday when surfing YouTube, was sung in Farinelli, Il Castrato - a film I watched at least twice many years ago and which is full of beautiful music (as well as two beautiful young men, brothers - one of them the castrato of the title).  Seeing this particular scene again brought tears to my eyes: partly because it's so beautifully performed but also because the scene of the aria being performed in the opera house is offset by scenes of the young boy singer having a bath just after having been castrated.  From what I remember the film is very much about contradictions: the main contradiction that being a castrato has brought him great fame and wealth, but that he still has the sexual appetite of a man and is therefore impoverished in that respect.

Quite how I move from there to the events of today I'm not sure!  It's been an excellent day.  I nearly got annoyed at the Job Centre as they said I hadn't attended an appointment, but the clerk - or whatever job title he has - accepted that I was telling the truth when I said I'd never received a letter with an appointment time.  I'm now going to have to go in next week and take both children with me, which will be fun (not) - but I'm not in a position to be able to afford childcare for them, so tough!  Obviously if it was a job interview it would be a different matter and I'd pull out all the stops to get some childcare sorted out.

The nice people at Smiths Gore were carrying out more interviews today so I wait to see whether I get invited back for a second interview.  As Husband said, it will probably depend whether they can see that I may have a future in the company anyway.  Talking of nice people, I also went up to Carlisle Leisure as I've been giving them a bit of informal property advice.  While up there I met the new MD, who seems great: relatively young, dynamic and keen.  Not that Jim wasn't but I think he'd obviously got to the stage where he was ready, emotionally, to retire.  I think the interview panel have probably found a suitable replacement, and I hope he and his family like it up here as much as we do: they were going to have a look round Brampton this evening.

I've left the big news of the day to last, which is my amniocentisis result.  I still hadn't heard from the hospital with my results this afternoon (they had said they would phone yesterday) so it was with some trepidation that I telephoned the hospital myself.  There was a long delay while the person who answered the phone went to fetch a midwife to talk to me: a delay which made my heart beat all the harder.  Anyway, the first result is that everything is fine in terms of Downs, Edwards and Patau's syndromes: and I also now know that I am expecting a boy.  So it's not Phoebe, and having discussed it further with Husband we think we are probably going to revert to Frederick Arthur, which was what Daughter would have been if she'd been a boy.  Whenever we spoke about a possible third child I always said, or thought 'yes, we don't have Frederick Arthur yet' and I feel as if his soul was sitting up in on a cloud wondering when on earth he was going to be invited down.  The names are quite old-fashioned but suit the 'house style' as Friend-in-Bristol would say.  I like the meaning of Frederick - 'peaceful ruler'; Arthur is thought possibly to mean 'bear': and he'll probably be called Freddie anyway (Son immediately made a reference to Drop Dead Fred so we hope he won't be as naughty as that).

There were tears of relief and happiness in my eyes when I heard that everything was fine.  More detailed results will follow in a couple of weeks, and the anomaly scan is in about 3 weeks' time: so I'm optimistic that all will be well with those results as well, or that if anything is wrong it will be something which is minor and remediable rather than a life-affecting disability.  Rightly or wrongly I feel far more relaxed about everything now: I feel as if we're over the biggest hurdle.

The only word I can think of to describe how I feel is 'blessed': 'lucky' is true but not quite as fully appropriate.  It seems so unfair that Husband and I, who went into child-producing in such a relaxed and laissez-faire way, already have two gorgeous children and now, through very little effort on our part, have a third on the way: whereas people desperate to have children sometimes have such awful problems.  I wonder what I've done to deserve the fortune...

Having said that it's 10 past 9 and Daughter, who was meant to go to bed well over an hour ago, is still up.......

Thursday, 22 July 2010


I was thinking, on my way to the Amnio this morning, that when I was pregnant with Son and Daughter an amniocentisis seemed a really risky thing to have, and that you'd only have one if you really felt you needed to.

I don't know whether it's merely the fact that my risk of Downs is medically high - 1 in 51 - but the amnio here didn't hold those fears for me.  Yes, I know there's a risk attached to it: but then my pregnancy is considered 'high risk' anyway and as I've mentioned before, the chances of being pregnant in any case 'at my great age' were slim and the likelihood of an early miscarriage was high.

Maybe my gut feeling as a mother is completely nonsensical and based only on emotion, but I feel that this baby is just determined to stay here and that it's meant to be, despite the odds.  Dr. Lawley at the Cumberland Infirmary has carried out approximately 500 amnios and apparently not had a miscarriage yet: as she said there's always the first, but for some reason I have complete confidence in her.  Maybe she's a Lucky Doctor!  And maybe perhaps more careful than some, who knows.  She also mentioned that she has 3 of us in the 45-50 age group who are pregnant at the moment, which is interesting.

As it turned out the amnio was a quick and pain-free process: certainly a lot easier than giving blood.  I arrived early: partly as I was most worried that I was going to have to drive round and round the car park looking for a space, though in fact there were loads of spaces (do people stop being ill in the school holidays?).  I was seen early and having had an initial appointment time of 10a.m., was out of the hospital - with a large bag of Quavers, which for some reason I had a yen for - by 10.22.  I feel slightly concious that I've had something done to my stomach and am going to take it easy today and tomorrow, but that's all.

It was lovely to see the baby on a scan again: looking quite a bit bigger and plumper than a few weeks ago!  I reckon this one is going to be the most photographed, prior to birth, of all three of my children.  We'll get the results early next week by telephone (and they telephone you whether the result is 'bad' or 'good', unlike Newcastle who only contact you if you're high risk after the Combined Test) and will also find out the sex of the baby, which is exciting (and will be definite, unlike the 20-week scan where they can tell you what they think it is but occasionally may get it wrong).

While there they changed the date of my 20-week scan, which means that now the children will be able to come along: I'm rather pleased as I'd inadvertently booked them into nursery and holiday club for the original date.  I think it will be nice for them to see their new brother or sister: and Son in particular has shown interest in my scan photos so far and was intrigued by the fact that the baby is currently covered in 'cheese' (lanugo).

I hope and pray it's going to be a perfectly healthy baby, but I also remind myself that there are worse things than Downs and that what will be will be.  Husband and I have always said that we're incredibly lucky to have the two healthy and bright children we have: a third always felt a bit like pushing our luck.  We'll soon know.

While I'm chatting away 'en blog' (I wonder if that's what they say in France?), I want to record the fact that the staff at the Cumberland Infirmary are lovely: this morning's experience was a positive one and I came away feeling as relaxed and happy as I could, if a little emotional.

Having just carried out a thorough search for jobs, I'm now going to go to watch Harry Potter with Son.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


But nothing about the garden.  The weather forecast is for improving weather, other than tomorrow, so I may get out there soon and manage to drain the pond, move rocks, dig up the multitude of weeds and create the bee garden.  It depresses me how weeds keep growing - but then the flowers and carrots are doing so too.

I had a job interview yesterday.  The recruitment agency had put me forward for a different, more senior post.  The interview was for a job which I had seen advertised but for which I hadn't applied because I didn't feel I had the right, hands-on, experience (and what's more I wasn't sure it was a job I'd enjoy either).  However, I tend to feel it's generally worth going for interviews if you're invited so off I went.

It was not a pleasant experience.  It wasn't that bad either, but I was not only grilled on my experience in the area where I had little experience, but also on the fact that I've worked in the public sector, in various guises, for 20-odd years.  What on earth was the point of interviewing me if they were going to be predisposed against me?

I got home and sent off two further job applications, both for jobs which sound far more interesting: and I also then got a phone call to set up an interview with a further potential employer.  So it's all looking quite promising: I may not get my three months off to write my book and some articles after all!

Yesterday evening I then went to Pilates for the first time in ages.  Pilates, swimming and aqua aerobics were my exercises of choice in both my previous pregnancies, and I see no reason to make it any different this time.  I am also going to try Body Balance, which is apparently a mixture of Pilates, Yoga and Tai-Chi but choreographed.  Unfortunately my good mood generated by the class and by singing all the way home dissipated when I found what a mess the children had made of the house.  Today I took them both to Newcastle but by the time I got home (and made Chocolate Semi-freddo) I was too tired to go to Body Balance.  Tomorrow's the amnio and apparently I need to rest afterwards (I wonder how many days I can string that out for?  Or how many days I'll be able to tolerate a messy house?), so no exercise for a day or two at least: which is a pity as I think doing a bit of exercise and my singing practice actually make me feel a lot less yucky.

We must have had about a week or more of rain, and it's lovely to see the sun out again this evening.  Everything is a vibrant green: but the sunshine and light evening mean that Very Naughty and Lively Daughter is still awake.  She has never needed much sleep, but no wonder she's so short.  I read something recently which said children who get a decent amount of sleep do better in terms of language, maths etc.  I dread to think how precocious Daughter would be if she slept more: she's already achieving things which she doesn't need to do until the end of reception year.  Having said that, if girls start school a year ahead of boys then the targets are presumably aimed at the lowest common denominator: i.e. thick boys whose birthdays are in about August.  'They' also say that children born to older mothers are brighter.  Does this mean that no.3 is going to be a genius?!  I just hope it's an easy-going baby like Son, not a hyper-active live-wire like Daughter, much as she's gorgeous and adorable.  One in the family is enough.

I'm going to do some singing practice in a minute and as we're out of cider I may well treat myself to a small glass of white wine afterwards.  When I was being interviewed by Radio Cumbria I was asked whether I was drinking during this pregnancy, and also whether I had any food cravings.  Mostly I've tried to eat an optimally healthy diet, i.e. green leavy vegetables, oily fish (which of course includes smoked salmon... yum!), nuts and seeds and fruit.  However I also seem to prefer foods which are more tangy than I would normally.  I don't usually like green olives, but have enjoyed having green and black olives with feta cheese recently, and to my surprise preferred the green ones to the black ones; I always like pesto (particularly on toast) but that has been something I've wanted to ensure we have a jar of in the fridge; and in terms of drinks anything on the sharp side, such as lemon and lime-based drinks,  are far easier on my stomach than orange, or juices.  I made a citrus granita a couple of weeks ago which was lovely.  And usually by the end of the day I find I gollop down a huge glass of water (fortunately without needing to get up frequently in the night to go to the toilet).

I think I just made up a word there but onamatopoeically it sounds about right, so I shall leave it in.  Au revoir!

Sunday, 18 July 2010


I was thinking that it was about time I wrote about being unemployed again as that's what my blog is entitled, but firstly I thought I'd mention something intriguing I read recently in some literature from the NHS.  Apparently eating apples in pregnancy may help prevent asthma in the offspring.  I remember reading while at Thatchers (which happens to be near to my parents) about the health-giving properties of cider.  Apples/cider: presumably cider could have the same asthma-preventative properties as apples?  I have to emphasise that I'm not drinking very much whilst pregnant, but what I have done is switch to cider rather than wine on days when I fancy a glass!

Back to unemployment.  Potentially I feel that I may not be for much longer: I had a letter from Cumbria County Council saying that a job I had applied for was now being considered only for internal applicants, but that if they didn't find anyone then they would be getting back to external candidates; I have an interview on Monday (tomorrow) though it's not for exactly the job I thought I was being put forward for by the recruitment agency; and I'm in the middle of two other applications.  

On the self-employed front there are people I have contacted about contract or freelance work who have said they will bear me in mind, and the talks in Keswick came up with some good ideas in terms of trying to sell some writing: I just need time to get the writing down on paper first!  Plenty to keep me busy, anyway.

Husband doesn't know whether he'll still be in his current job after November, but he's fairly confident he'd find something else.  I'm still convinced that quite a few people around will take early retirement if they can, and if allowed to it would mean more opportunities for people in their 30s and 40s, or at least will mean more likelihood of the younger people retaining their jobs.

Meanwhile Husband and I went out to supper to Huntington's Wine Bar in Brampton yesterday evening: he had arranged a babysitter (whom the kids loved) and for a couple of hours the sun shone into the wine bar while we enjoyed our dinner.  My stomach feels as if it's stretching again at the moment so I stuck to Salmon with a Herby Crust on a Creamy Chive sauce while Husband had one of Huntington's generous helpings of pasta: however I then couldn't resist warm Lemon Meringue Pie, one of my favourite desserts (so long as it is either warm or piping hot: cold it does nothing for me).  I'm not sure I 'ought' to have had meringue in case of undercooked eggs, but decided to risk it: after all most food is pretty well regulated nowadays.

Huntingtons is slightly reminiscent of a rural French bistro, but without the fussy decor, to my mind: but then slightly run down parts of rural England, like Brampton (and parts of Stroud in Gloucester) remind me of rural France anyway.  I think it's because the French don't tend to look after their historic buildings in rural areas in quite the way that people in the South East of England do: in the South East to live in a lovely sandstone building in rural Kent or Surrey is probably going to cost you quite a bit in mortgage payments.  Perhaps it's the same around Paris: perhaps the further removed you are from an affluent city the shabbier things can look.

Having said that, Brampton appears to be getting a bit of a face-lift recently and Husband and I were commenting on how even if one business closes down, two new ones will come to replace it.  The Howard Arms (mentioned in an earlier post) has been taken over and gone quite upmarket; Jacobites has moved to a bigger and more prominent position and is intending to open a bistro in the evenings; the Hole in the Wall has opened, a quite trendy coffee bar with a walkers' shop in front of it; and apparently there are plans for another cafe or restaurant.  Meanwhile Huntingtons has been going for 20 years and seems still to be going strong, judging by how busy it always is. 

What is nice is that we can just walk out of our house to go out for an enjoyable and good quality meal.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I can see myself over-doing the paint and wall stickers theme.  The latest are 'lollipop vines' which have gone up in the bathroom.  I think I should stop there for now: I'm very pleased with all the stickers so far but enough of a good thing is enough: though there will be the baby's room to do.....

Sad how hardly a moment goes by without thinking of or talking about the baby ('the Little Guy').  The exciting news this morning is that Friend C., who told me a few weeks' ago that she's pregnant, has now had her first scan.  11 weeks and 2 days so, as we thought, due about 4 weeks after me.  It will be great to have two babies close in age: I really enjoyed having 'friends' for Son and Daughter when we were in Bristol, particularly for Son as I was still fairly new to the city at that point and my ante-natal friends were a godsend.

Been feeling a bit yucky again yesterday and today (have just eaten my second packet of crisps of the day today), but nothing like as bad as in the earlier weeks: and I'm not so tired either.  I'm going into Carlisle tomorrow so am going to get some Gaviscon as it sounds as if it's OK to use when you're pregnant, and also I think my yucky feeling is more to do with poor digestion than actual nausea.

I heard my interview on Radio Cumbria yesterday.  It was very exciting!  I enjoyed listening to it, although I realised that I repeated 'absolutely' and 'completely' too often.  I'm not sure many other people will have noticed that, but it's something for me to watch out for next time.  I'm still somewhat amazed that people are interested in my story, but then I'm also still rather amazed to be pregnant: every time I go to the midwife or for a scan it's with a sense of wonder that there's still something there, living.  I thought I felt the baby move when I was in the bath the other day, but it's unlikely as it would be ridiculously early.  I also get a bit of an ache on my caesarian scar every-so-often, which I must talk to the midwife about.

If truth be told, I'm now beginning to quite enjoy being pregnant and I'm rather proud of myself for being so old.  I was talking to a neighbour earlier and she said that her cousin in Canada had recently had a perfectly healthy baby at age 48, so that was encouraging to hear.

I was on the phone to my Aunt yesterday and she asked what Husband was like as a Father.  He's fantastic.  He will do nappies and bottles and night feeds (if I'm not breast-feeding).  One of the highlights yesterday was in the early evening when peels of laughter were coming from Son's room as Husband played lego with the two children.  Today I'm going out at about 5.30pm and he's promised to do baking with them.  I'm going to a talk down in Keswick and to meet some writers, but there should be fresh fairy cakes for me when I get home!  That's another good trait of Husband's: he's an excellent cook.

Another highlight yesterday was Daughter's cycling prowess.  I took her up to Talkin Tarn after we'd dropped Son off at school, thinking I'd be lucky to get her round once and only with a lot of help (pushing and pulling) from me.  How wrong I was: she was doing brilliantly, and in fact was far bolder and more confident than her brother at the same stage.  We went round once, stopped to pick up pine cones and have an ice cream, and then she was off again, going back round the other way.  I was really proud of her and I think I may be able to take her stabilisers off soon.  However while she still has stabilisers it means I now feel more relaxed about taking the two of them on my own as I'll be able to help Son get his balance (his stabilisers came off a while ago but he hasn't practiced much since, and needs to be reassured that he can do it) as Daughter won't need constant help herself.  Their swimming is coming along well too: Son did some widths on his back without aids in his lesson (he put his feet down every-so-often but again it's just a matter of his gaining confidence) and Daughter's back stroke with armbands is great: I may try taking her out of armbands for a bit next time I take her.  She's got a really strong kick for one so small.  Talking of which, I put her in a skirt aged 18-24 months the other day: she's getting on for 4 and three-quarters!

I'm so lucky to have them, despite the squabbling and occasional naughtiness: what did I do to deserve a third?!

Friday, 9 July 2010


It's been a good week.

I enjoyed my job interview at William Howard school, although I didn't get the job.  In some ways it's a relief as whilst working only 12 hours per week would have been great, by the time the baby is in need of childcare my take-home pay would have only just covered the childcare costs!

It was nice to see people from work on Wednesday.  Not so good that everything's very uncertain for them, but I'm sure that ultimately everything will work out for the best for all of us.  I'm assuming that those who want to take voluntary redundancy will now be given it, and everyone should get at least a year's salary (gross) once the whole thing is wound up.  I think people are understandly nervous about whether they can get new jobs: there are a few jobs around but more competition for them.  I have to say I do think the entire public sector is heavily over-staffed: it's just whether the 'right' cuts are made: whether the dead wood and inefficient or unnecessary roles will in fact be the ones to go.

I had some promising news this morning, which is that I'm still being considered for a Senior Manager post I had been put forward for.  Mixed feelings about it as it pays well but would be full time and involve lots of travelling - great this time next year but possibly not so great at the moment!  However I think it would be a really interesting job and I would at least like to get an interview.

I enjoy interviews - as I said at my William Howard interview, I enjoy meeting people.  So it was a pleasure to be interviewed by Mike Parr of Radio Cumbria again this morning, and to be told that they'd like to follow my pregnancy and interview me once in a while.  What is it about 'performing' and the limelight that is so seductive?  I've discussed it before with my singing teacher - some of us just have a yen to 'perform', even if we have doubts about how good (or even competent!) we are.  Is it that for some of us that's our way of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone?  Is it that the plaudits for doing something well are so satisfying that they outweigh the nervousness of performing?  I still clearly remember the fantastic feeling, at the age of 9, when I got a laugh each night of the school play at one of my lines: it took me aback the first time as I hadn't expected any reaction at all: but what a joyous feeling, to feel that the audience is reacting with pleasure to something you've done!

I'm also cautiously optimistic about the baby.  A friend down the road had a 1 in 50 predicted chance of Downs with her little girl (now 2) and had an amnio, and the little girl is absolutely fine.  I'm so hoping that once I get the amnio out of the way I can relax and enjoy being pregnant more: and also enjoy the summer with the children.  I really should relish the fact that I've got lots of time with them, and enjoy them: it would be great if I could put off starting a job until September.  Son in particular comes out with some interesting comments at the moment: he's always been interested in animals but he's becoming more and more aware of the environment around us.  I had to strip his bed this morning and was intrigued and amused to find Richard Scarry's What do people do all day?; a set of crayons; various pieces of lego; a notebook, which he's been drawing Star Wars characters in; a model Red Arrow; and sundry soft toys including William the Dragon who has recently been patched after Son's experiment at cutting him open.  Daughter's bed was somewhat less cluttered: she fell asleep clutching two small soft toys last night.

Time to hang up the washing, have some lunch and do a big pile of ironing.  Two more jobs to apply for over the next couple of weeks, which is good.  I hope Sister-in-Law-to-be and Brother-in-Law are having a smooth flight to the Bahamas for their two weeks sailing in the sun.  Sounds like bliss so long as they can relax, swim, sightsee and read books and don't have gusty sailing for hours each day.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


I felt like putting some poems up here today, in order to share them with other people.  They speak for themselves.

Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
Together you shall be for evermore.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls..........
from 'The Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran

There are worse things than behaving foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m.  All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.
Fleur Adcock

The Parent
Children aren't happy with nothing to ignore,
And that's what parents were created for.
Ogden Nash


Such love I cannot analyse;
It does not rest in lips or eyes,
Neither in kisses nor caress.
Partly, I know, it's gentleness.

And understanding in one word
Or in brief letters. It's preserved
By trust and by respect and awe.
These are the words I'm feeling for.

Two people, yes, two lasting friends.
The giving comes, the taking ends.
There is no measure for such things.
For this all Nature slows and sings.
Elizabeth Jennings

Monday, 5 July 2010


Another beautiful evening after a drizzly, windy day.  The evening sun isn't quite as golden as yesterday but somehow is brighter, lighter.

I got a phone call from Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary today: i.e. I'm in the high risk category for Down's Syndrome.  The good news is that my purely age-related risk was 1 in 10 and the nuchal scan and maternal serum screening has lowered the risk to 1 in 51.  The bad news is that medically anything worse than 1 in 150 or even 1 in 250 (depending which consultant you speak to) counts as a high risk.  I had an amniocentsis booked in Carlisle already, just in case, so I shall keep that appointment.  Not quite sure whether to take the children or not as they'll be on holiday then.

My main feeling is one of disappointment.  I was rather hoping the risk might come down to something like 1 in 300, which is what it was for Son, but I guess if they take age into account there's a limit to just how much the risk can be lowered.  Unfortunately nobody was able to tell me the mathematical probability (I did ask), as if someone had said that I was definitely still going to be high risk anyway I would have saved myself the money and the trip to Newcastle and gone straight for the amnio: particularly as the Newcastle consultant was fairly grumpy and non-committal.

What worries me is that the negative part of me has already more-or-less convinced myself that I'm carrying a baby with Downs: and my worries multiplied when a friend sent me a text asking me how I felt; what my 'gut reaction' was.  I don't know what I'll do if I have a baby with Downs.  Some people would envy me having a third child at all: but I don't actually think I'm a tolerant enough mother to cope with a disabled child.  On the other hand I do not think I could have a termination and I also think that things occur for a reason and you just have to get on with it.  It could also be a lot worse than Downs: I only have to remind myself of London Friend F. whose second daughter was badly brain-damaged at birth and who may never walk nor talk, a situation for which London Friend and her husband were completely unprepared.

Friend-who-has-just-Adopted and who is gloriously positive pointed out that a 1 in 51 chance means 2% likelihood of Downs and 98% chance of not having Downs: so fingers crossed.  I feel rather ashamed of myself being so negative but put it in part down to tiredness.  Daughter came through at about 2.30 this morning and when I went to get in her bed instead of being squashed on the edge of mine, I found her duvet was soaking.  We've put her back in nighttime pants as she's - unusually - had regular accidents at night recently - but the Tinker had taken them off, so when she made her own bed wet she came through to ours. 

I was then awake until about 5 a.m. as once I'd woken up my mind was a whirl of questions and considerations about getting a new job when you're pregnant; writing to David Cameron to tell him what he should do about the public sector; writing to Mike Mitchelson (local councillor) to tell him what he should do to get more rental income coming in for the Council... etc.  In the end I got up and sent some emails, found some job websites, and wrote a list of other things I need to do.

Son beautifully read Tiddler by Julia Donaldson to Daughter and me at bedtime.  I've suggested he take it into school to read to his class.  It's been one of my children's favourites since we acquired it, but it was lovely to have him reading to me rather than the other way round.

We went to see former neighbours K&E on the way home from school today, who have a new Border Collie puppy.  Serendipitously they're planning to put a pond in their garden so they're going to have ours plus things like the pump/fountain and marginal plants.  I'm really glad to have found a home for all those bits, so Husband and I could maybe sort that out this weekend.  I also read more on the Radio Cumbria website about being Bee-Friendly: I think my garden is already, this year, more Bee-Friendly than last year because I planted lots of flowers as I wanted more colour in the garden: certainly the bees have been busy around the foxgloves recently and earlier in the year there were several big fat Bumble Bees around.  I love the latter: they're so fat and furry and loud!

I decided a glass of wine was the way to relax this evening so I'm going to go to bed in a minute where I shall finish my glass of wine and read my book.  I hope my generally positive attitude comes back soon: I don't like being negative.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


As I write glorious golden evening sun is shining, quite unlike the rest of today which has been grey and dismal.  It started raining at about breakfast time and I decided I'd take the children to Rheged soft play on the way home from Windermere, as they didn't really find sailing all that exciting yesterday.  I'm glad I chose that option: the others got drenched and cold (and the children and I didn't even have suitable waterproofs) and it was windy and gusting out on the Lake, which I'm not sure the children would have enjoyed.  If I'm honest I'm not sure I would have either, I've been feeling so nauseous again recently.

Sailing yesterday was a different matter.  It was sunny all afternoon and we sailed up to Ambleside and back.   The Lake District was its usual beautiful green self and the white sails on the lake were set off by the glittering water and blue sky with cotton-wool-ball clouds.  Once the children had decided to come up on deck they quite enjoyed it, though it was difficult for them not to meddle with things.  They have such enquiring minds, which is a healthy attribute but sometimes an annoying and even potentially dangerous one!

Sister-in-Law-to-be, who is lovely and, I feel, a new friend, and I were talking about how men take things so seriously.  Yesterday there was really no need for any panic while we were sailing: the times when we needed more control we had the engine on, though having said that the lake was busy so we had to watch out for other craft.  Yet the men once or twice made comments as if things needed doing with split-second timing.  I'm sure that was more the case today.  I think if we end up going on a flotilla holiday around the Greek islands I'm going to have to try just to sunbathe, swim, relax and enjoy it.  Maybe I can use looking after the children as my excuse not to be 'crew' as I really can't be bothered to flap that much, and being bossed about annoys me: Sister-in-Law-to-be is a far kinder and nicer person than I am and far more tolerant of being organised and told what to do by other people.  But then I was ever a boshie little madam - or a brat, as Husband called me when we first started going out.  Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that Daughter is so wilfully disobedient and lippy, and can turn on the waterworks when she's told off.....

Husband had run from Pooley Bridge, via High Street, Haweswater, Mardale Head and Kentmere, to Troutbeck and then Windermere and we met him back at Bowness.  His run had taken him over an hour less than expected but unfortunately as everyone thought he had arranged to meet us in Ambleside, we had sailed up to Ambleside to meet him only for him to phone to say he was in Booths in Windermere.   This meant that unfortunately he missed out on yesterday's pleasant and calm sailing and only partook of today's soaking!  However he, Son and I all enjoyed swimming in the lake yesterday evening.   Son particularly loved being towed on a rope ('surfing') from one end of the boat to the other and I got a short video on my camera which resonates with his excited laughter, and everyone else's laughter at his pleasure.  I felt full of air (which is think is a large contributor to the nauseous feeling, as I can't burp properly), which wasn't great for swimming, as otherwise I might have stayed in a bit longer.  The photo of me is awful but proof I got in!
The children and I were discussing baby names on the way back in the car.  Son particularly wants a boy, to be called Harry: I'm not that keen, though it did lead me to consider 'Harriet' for a girl, which apparently means 'home maker'.  I also then remembered 'Anastasia' though I think I'd always wonder if she was going to die a horrible untimely death.  Neither child liked the name 'James', which was more-or-less what Husband and I had decided on for another Son.

Daughter has finally fallen asleep - at 9.15 pm - and it's time I did too.  I wonder what surprises this week has in store for me, or indeed for us as a family.

Friday, 2 July 2010


I finally subdued my pride and asked Mother-in-Law whether she would mind coming down to help decorate.  As it turned out, she did nearly all the work and I did very little, but Daughter now has a pink bedroom and the bathroom is pristine and white.  I've done enough extra painting in the hall that we can now hang the huge mirror I bought some time ago, once we get around to drilling the holes.  I think it will be a two-man job so I shall have to get Husband involved.

My contribution to Daughter's bedroom was some wall stickers from Djeco: a princess height chart and a 'poem tree'.  I bought and stuck up a 'knight and dragon' height chart on Son's wall as well.  I love the Djeco products: I first came across them when someone gave Daughter a Djeco jigsaw, which led to my searching for the company on the internet and finding a stockist in the UK.

I've come to the conclusion that paint and stickers is the way to go, so having done a further internet search for wall stickers in general, have ordered some 'Lollipops' for the bathroom wall.  They grow up the wall like flowers and are in lovely bright colours, which will be a tasteful but pleasant contrast to the white-with-a-little-bit-of-turquoise of the bathroom generally.  I don't want to clutter it up, but a little additional colour will just, I hope, be a finishing touch.

While Mother-in-Law was busy doing all our painting - and our ironing - Father-in-Law, who had originally arranged to come down to put up a new fence for us, busied himself taking up roots in the garden.  I'm very excited as I can now just clear the area of other unwanted growth on top of the wall where the 'bee garden' is going, and then add some extra soil, move some rocks, transplant some heather and - hey presto! - bee garden!

I had to sign on this week so spent most of Wednesday in Carlisle.  I went for a swim, which as usual was great (I love swimming, it just sometimes takes me a while to motivate myself to go), signed on (proud to tell them I had applied for 3 jobs last week), and then had lunch with Friend-who-recently-adopted.  It was great to see her: she really cheered me up and I realised I had been getting a bit negative recently.  Her Daughter is making fantastic progress from a neglected, abused, late developer to a perfectly normal child.  It's such a happy story.  She adopted because she and her husband couldn't have children, but she is also so excited, pleased and sympathetic about my pregnancy.  Life seems so unfair: there are so many people who want children and can't and then those who don't really mind one way or another and end up with (potentially) three.

I'm now between 13 and 14 weeks pregnant, so past the most likely time to miscarry.  We went for a nuchal scan and maternal serum screening yesterday.  No definitive results as yet, so still time to worry!  The nuchal translusancy looked normal, however, so it's just a case of waiting for the blood test results.  If they phone before the end of Tuesday I'm high risk: if I get no phone call I'm low risk.  We also saw the baby on a 3D scan.  That was really weird, and because it was moving the still photo looks rather funny (the baby looks as if it has a pig nose).  It's still mostly skin and bone with very little flesh, so not exactly attractive: and its liver looks enormous.  Looking at it now I can see its little ribs, and the fingers of one hand.   Amazing.  The good news is that everything the Dr. looked at looks normal for this stage: which I also find amazing.  This baby, according to statistics (fertility; miscarriage) isn't even meant to be here!

Husband and I then went to have dinner at the Howard Arms in Brampton before coming home.  He had Moroccan Chicken with Rice (which apparently had a little bit of lemon butter in it, so was delicate and moist) and I had the Cumbrian Beef and Wainwrights Ale pie.  Both were delicious and the selection of salad and vegetables was good.  The two guys who own it remembered us and came up to say 'hello', which was nice.  Definitely somewhere to go again: and a good place for visitors to this area to stay.

Today I've felt nauseous and incredibly tired again, but had some more good news.  I have an interview on Tuesday for one of the jobs for which I applied, and then Radio Cumbria phoned to ask whether the presenter who interviewed me a few weeks ago about mothers in their 40s could have a longer chat with me.  I guess it's coming up to the Silly Season when there's not much news around.....

Tomorrow we're off sailing on Windermere, and I think it may be a good opportunity to take some photos and to do some more descriptive writing about this beautiful county.  So there may be a new post on Sunday evening or on Monday. 

Meanwhile I'm off for a bath and bed: the children are quietly sitting in front of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I've asked Husband to deal with them this evening.  He's been feeling nauseous today as well but I'm afraid I'm not terribly sympathetic: I've been feeling like that on and off for almost two months!