Saturday, April 16, 2011


Over dinner this evening we were discussing the imminent return of Dr Who. I have always remembered watching it curled up on the sofa and certainly since Tennant's doctor I have been as riveted as ever! Heather has shared this love of all things odd, or should that be ood?

Anyway Matthew hasn't really watched as the few times he has watched it he has bailed in the first ten minutes. Still I was talking to Heather about how everyone said this series was going to be scary and maybe I should watch it and then she could see it the next day if it was suitable. Needless to say this idea didn't go down very well with her and she insisted that she would be fine.

'Are the garlicks coming back?' Matthew piped up, I kept a straight face thinking I'd misheard.
'You know the garlicks, not garlic bread but the garlicks, round things that move.'
We tried to convince him that they are called daleks, we really did, but watch out for great white things that move and shout, they could be coming to a screen near you...

N is for naughty

As a parent of small(ish) children I use this word on several occasions most days. It was only recently, when one of them challenged my why an action they were doing was naughty that I stopped to think about how I use it. There are the obvious things such as hurting each other, drawing on walls and deliberately damaging toys or siblings stuff that I would class as naughty but now it seems to have evolved and includes things I find vaguely annoying.

Now I am lucky enough to have my own study it is naughty to go in there without permission, it is naughty to move stuff and naughty to open the door and go out to the car before I tell them to, but is it really? Some of this stuff just gets on my nerves and I am using the word naughty in the vain hope that it will deter them from doing what they are planning, other times it is a safety thing, I prefer them to wait for me not because there is a busy road outside or someone waiting to take them away, but because in other places we go there might be.

I have also noticed that they behave differently around different people, some they are quiet in front of, others they try and show off in front of in the hope of getting their attention. At school they seem to do as they are told whereas at home they practice selected listening. How much is really 'naughty' though and how much is just plain annoying?

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Mr Nobody

You may have heard of this person, I certainly have. He lives in my house but never seems to be seen or heard by anyone but he gets up to lots of mischief.

He leaves mess over the floors usually mud or wet footprints, he forgets to flush the toilet and he draws on the wall. It seems every time one of these instances occur no-one knows who has done it. Indeed there may be a pencil at the scene of the crime or even a pair of shoes, a guilty face is often seen on one of the kids but nevertheless they insist it wasn't them and therefore it must be someone else.

If you see him, let me know and if you are lucky enough to talk to him please ask him to remember if you make a mess clear it up and take your shoes off before you come in the door.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for learning

As I watch the kids grow up and begin their education adventure I have begun to reflect just how much they are learning and how quickly they learn it. Lucy has come on so much quicker than her siblings and is as street wise as them already because she has them to copy, Heather on the other hand is probably still one of the more immature six year old's in her class, of course she is one of the youngest being summer born but even so I have noticed a gap. Perhaps more telling is that she seems to have done as well and sometimes actively strives to close it. She has started asking me if she looks trendy (already!) and is more aware of the things she chooses to play with and talk about, often referencing her friends as an endorsement, peer pressure already weaving its spell.

I have studied with the OU on and off for about 7 years now and have learnt many things, some of which have surprised me! Yesterday I received an e-mail inviting me to visit the social sciences Facebook page, I did and what's more I liked it. While I have always been interested in philosophy and psychology I never thought that economics, politics or just the science behind why we do things would interest me as much as they are doing, to the extent I want to work to find out more about them. I still have an interest in the law and teaching and the fact that I read and write as much as I do show they are still my main passion but even so I find myself being drawn to subjects that when I was at school I labelled boring and wouldn't have gone near at all unless forced!

Perhaps it is just a part of mellowing with age or growing up but I am finding there are huge areas of knowledge which I know nothing about, I can't really answer many geography questions and my map reading school are legendarily bad, I can't play an instrument well and the fact that Heather and Matthew seem to be picking it up so easily have put me to shame. Perhaps it is time for a second childhood, an opportunity to pick up new knowledge and maybe even the skill to play a few tunes on the piano. It's never too late to learn.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for killing the inspiration.

No matter how experienced a writer you are one of the first and lasting bits of advice you are given is to have a notebook and pen wherever you go. You are also advised to sit and 'free write', as in write down the first things that come into your head wherever possible. This is easier said than done, often I have notebook, pen, desk, mid-sentence and 'Mummy can I..' Any attempt to delay said ... results in moans and groans which mean in the end you give in, even if you leap up and get the ... immediately by the time you return the thoughts have gone and inspiration lost.

I have now vowed to try and do the free writing first thing in the morning of after they have gone to bed, the novels and so on have to happen as and when and due to the number of interruptions require a lot more editing, even writing a shortish blog post can take up to an hour sometimes. When the weather is good the writing is easier, the office re-located to the garden and the kids happy. Of course come September all three will be off to school and I will have regular writing time. In the meantime I will goof around with games on the PC (Sorry facebook friends who don't like farm or frontierville, join up it's fun!) and read, lots of reading and dream of the days when I can sit and write for a whole two hours with only my own daydreams to interrupt me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for job

I am currently studying with the OU, and recently I took a new direction, I love learning new things and have stayed 'safe' for me in previous courses. This one is more of a challenge and is in sociology. I have been intrigued with how much it has opened my eyes to things going on all around me all the time.

For instance when we meet new people how do we form our ideas about them, one thing by which we identify ourselves is our job, but increasingly it is by what we like in terms of music, movies and books as well as other activities we enjoy.

It made me even wonder about the jobs I choose to include when the subject comes up, I am sometimes reluctant to say I am a writer as people seem to expect me to reel off a list of titles or magazine publications where my work can be found and some are distinctly unimpressed when you say you don't have an agent! I often say I am a full time mum trying to be an author who used to be a teacher, even this doesn't quite fit as I still love all things educational and it struck me that labeling people as clerical, administrative and so on as we are often required to do doesn't do the complexity of many of the jobs we do justice.

Perhaps Matthew summed it up best when he declared ' I am going to be a bin man and drive bin lorries all week except the weekend when I am going to be a racing car driver like Sebastian Vettel.' Now that I'd like to see.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Imagine that

As a writer, author, attempting to be imaginative person one of the exercises I sometimes use to get the cogs whirring is the what if game. You may have written a piece you are unhappy with but somehow it just isn't working, so what if the lead character swapped gender, what if instead of going to the supermarket they went into a betting shop - you get the idea. I find the kids play a version of this every day.

Imagine that you are so and so and I am this person and we are doing this, it is interesting to listen as they negotiate each trying to move higher up the perceived hierarchy. Indeed Lucy not protests heavily if she has to be a baby, because as she assets almost constantly; 'I'm a big girl now I'm three.'

It is great listening to them as they swap cahracters, some based on the TV, some from books and other generic characters from the world around them, it gives them the opportunity to explore different points of view and think about how other people live their lives, and sometimes I wish my life could be as easy as their game. When something isn't going right just change the rules, why can't the characters in my book behave like that, perhaps I am writing the wrong story.