Thursday, 15 February 2018

still ticking along

We just survived the half term break, the whole three days of it. Slightly frazzled, considerably poorer but mostly happy.

James started the holiday in style with a sleep over with his two favourite friends. Sleepovers are awful and I think whoever invented them should be made to have one at their house every day for the rest of their life. James has been desperate to have one for years and I just didn't have the heart to deny him it for purely selfish reasons. We were all tired and grumpy on Sunday, predictably so. I can still hear myself preaching that it was a sleepover and not a stay-awake-all-night-over.

We had a lazy morning on Monday. In the afternoon, I packed the little boys and Jack in the car and drove out to Mugdock Country Park. I had not taken into consideration that the Country Park is at a higher elevation than Glasgow. It was like arriving in an alpine landscape, beautiful. It wasn't busy because the roads were snow covered. We bumped into Jacks best dog pal Rudie and his people and it was fun to watch four and two legged friends run, jump, roll in the snow and throw snowballs.

On Tuesday we took a trip to Edinburgh. I was cross before we even sat on the train because the ticket lady would not sell me off peak return tickets before 9:15. I thought off peak started at 9 am. I didn't fancy the price difference of £50 (!). We waited patiently. I am not going to start ranting about trains in Britain but take my word for it, compared to other European countries, the service is appalling, the rolling stock ancient and a PhD in ticket price structure is essential to get a reasonably priced fare. Moving on. Annie wanted to go to the joke shop on Grassmarket, where I tried to keep a strained smile on my face. Don't ask, it is a tradition when we go to Edinburgh. This is usually followed by pizza and a visit to the sweet shop. Then we can get on with the real purpose of the visit. On Tuesday it was a visit to Camera Obscura. Love it. We all do, and it never gets old. You must go if you have a chance. The boys favourite attraction was not an optical illusion but the three armchairs that produced amazing farts of all types when sitting down. It was a good laugh. We also like to find out what we might look like as chimpanzees. James chimpazification was most successful of all, as seen above. We navigated the museum shop in style and only one breakdown. Then we ran to the train station to be on time for non peak return...

On Wednesday, we went shopping for outdoor clothes in the morning. I rather enjoy going to Decathlon, a shop that caters for every sport imaginable. Annie needed stuff for her Duke of Edinburgh expedition, the practice expedition and the expedition to practice the practice expedition. I also bought a new winter jacket for James. The clever mum buys these at the end of winter in the sales, one size too big. Alistair will grow into James' current jacket. The three younger ones spent the rest of the day gazing at screens and doing very little. I walked Jack and chauffeured Sam to a nearby primary school, where he is volunteering to build raised beds for an organic garden, together with a group of teenagers from various High Schools. Sam also made a booking for a family dinner at the Chinese restaurant where he works as a dishwasher. He didn't offer to pay but we did get a discount from his employer. I also called Tescomobile Repairs to discuss Sam's phone, which was completely dead. Apparently it has moisture damage but wasn't immersed in water. How can they tell? The phone is less than 2 months old and Eddie on the line felt sorry for me. He argued with his manager that Sam should get a free replacement, despite company policy not covering for moisture damage. Eddie made me happy and I made sure to praise him in the usual feedback survey that follows all customer care calls.

This morning, we had a bit of a rocky start. I am not going to repeat what Alistair called me when I asked him to go clean his teeth but believe me, it rendered me momentarily speechless. The expletive was accompanied by a well measured kick. Fortunately he is tiny and it didn't do any harm but the intention was clear. It appears that I have failed as a parent. Alistair then stormed off to school without a glance back or a goodbye. Rest assured, a reliable source confirmed that he actually did go to school. The news this morning was awful. Another school shooting in the country where assault rifles and other assorted guns can be purchased seemingly as easily as a can of coke. The news  reader also mentioned that this was the 19th school shooting in 2018. For the second time on the same day I am without words. My thoughts are with those whose hearts are broken with sorrow. I am so glad that the fear of being shot is not one my children have to face. I didn't continue with the news bulletin, I don't think I could have stomached any other atrocities, of which there are plenty.

I am glad to report that the day is improving for me personally. I have made progress with work, been to the gym and even managed to have a decent lunch. I've got some more work to do unfortunately and I better get on with it. Thanks for stopping by and reading my rambling reports. xxx

P.S. Sam's parent night went well despite his dreadful mock exam results. Sam had already spoken to his teacher and is  now are on track for success. This was confirmed by all teachers. The system is a bit strange for some young people here. Most pupils that choose to sit Highers exams will choose five in 5th year, then pick up another few or a couple of Advanced Highers in 6th year, if they choose to stay at school. It is possible to apply for university based on 5th year exams, which Sam did, but he decided to stay on. It was a bit unfortunate for his work ethics that he received four unconditional offers. There is no need really for him to sit further exams, or to even go to school. The only driver is personal pride and pushy parents. I'd rather he not sit around in his pj's for the next nine months, collecting dirty mugs and detritus and whatnot.