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. 

18 comments:

  1. That was so sad about Alastair, anger is so hard to deal with and too frequently we take out on those we love the most.
    The camera obscura sound fantastic, loved the photos.
    Glad you survived the break. It will get better.
    Sounds good that Sam has decided to stay on at school.

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  2. Much sitting round in PJs going on here this half term (and not by me). The trip to Edinburgh sounds fun and to the country park too. Love that Jack met up with one of his friends. Inventive use of language by small folk, eh? I bet he felt terrible, once the adrenaline had faded away. Keep on keeping on xx

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  3. I'm sorry to hear about Alistair's reaction. I hope his day improved, but it seems like something that may take some time to work out. I'm sure he didn't mean to hurt your feelings or upset you, but I understand how hard it can be to live with a person who has anger issues. I chuckled at your wish for the person who invented sleepovers. We've never had one here. They haven't slept over with anyone else, either. I don't think I'd be against either situation, it's more that neither of them wants to do it! They don't see the point. Who am I to argue? My son doesn't even like to invite friends over to play very often. When I suggest it, he tells me "I see enough of [insert name] at school. I need a break." My little misanthrope. :)

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  4. Boys will be boys. They do get better...eventually....honest! You have my sympathy meanwhile. Good on Sam for ploughing on at school and improving his levels. I’m off to Camera Obscura next time Edinburgh is near. Sounds wonderful. Hope you have a more relaxed weekend. B x

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  5. I was never a fan of sleepovers either, like you in my experience it was always stay awake all night and then moods for a few days because everyone was tired.

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  6. Life and plenty of it I think. Sleepovers are utter horror, you're right. It seems to be cool to get as little sleep as humanly possible and of course everyone pays for the next day or two. I don't do them. Glad you had a good day out, it sounds like fun. And it's always one of the loveliest things to see one's pup having fun with a friend isn't it. Bert is always happy to see his bestie on his morning scamper. Still two days off school for the littlest boy here, he will be making the most of it. CJ xx

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  7. My youngest had a memorable sleepover (at our house) one year. Like yours, it was a stay awake over. I was so embarrassed having to send kids home 'dog tired', my son slept all afternoon. I had to take him into work with me and he slept for an hour or so, in a quiet space. I hope you managed to sort things with Alistair, I hate it when the kids blow up into the most unreasonable angry monsters. It's horrible. I do find that usually I can sit them down later and speak to them. I am shocked at how kids can be so unthinking and completely rotten at times. Where did the sweet, do anything for you, sweet natured, happy go lucky child disappear to. All the best, Cathy x

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  8. By the time I got to sons no. 3 and 4 I had totally banned sleepovers. They are a form of torture. I loved the sound of your day at the Camera Obscura... what fun! The chimpanzee photo made me laugh. And you are far from being a bad parent. That much is obvious to anyone who reads this blog!

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  9. I am an American, and I am so ashamed of our country and so broken hearted. I have called my legislators (though one is bought and paid for by the NRA), and am going to our state capitol to speak to them on Tuesday with another group of mothers. There is no excuse for our ridiculous gun laws.

    I hope that you have recovered from your sleepover. I loved them when I was a child, but despised them as a parent. My daughter was always the one child who wanted to sleep, and it was hard for her to have the other girls talking all night. My son enjoyed the socializing, but was always exhausted the next day, and often ended up sick.

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  10. Your photos from the Camera Obscura were so much fun! I love the one with your son's head on the table. The sleepover thing is hard.. our grandsons have had a friend spend the night a few times and there is a lot of running up and down the stairs and with 3 of them someone is always being left out.

    Yes, I'm devastated by this school shooting and all the ones before it. Something needs to be done but the gun lobby (NRA) pays millions to the people in government so they can control our laws. It's ridiculous and insane - unfortunately alt right people keep voting for the people who care more about the money they make from the NRA than the welfare of our children. Amazingly horrific.

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  11. Christine, thank you for the thoughtful message you left at my blog, it means a lot.

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  12. The Camera Obscura visit looked like such a fun adventure, and should we travel to Edinburgh I will definitely make it a destination. Sleepovers are something I only participated in once when growing up and I can't recall whether much sleeping was involved. Sorry to read about the temper outburst and hope things will be resolved.

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  14. I'm quite happy to leave the house in the morning before any teen is awake - I'm sure I miss all sorts of things and words. But - I do hear after school how unjust the school is in giving late child a detention and how lame it is for schools to start so early when teens need lots of sleep and that kid is refusing to go to school the next day due to such lame punishments.... then the door slams and .... sigh....

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  15. That day out looks fab but I am actually chuckling to myself about the armchairs - out loud on my own! We have half term this week so a full 9 days ahead of us. I am on my own guarding a lasagne in the oven while the others have gone to the pub! I have had a n hour in the garden today trying to make it look better and an hour on my quilt so it feels like it is all going OK so far, but it is day one. have a great week. Jo xxx

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  16. I would love to have been a mum but alas it didn't happen for us for various reasons.You sound like a wonderful mum.Did you get an apology from your son.Great photos,I too had a giggle about the chairs.More pics of Jack please,so glad he enjoyed himself too.x

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  17. I'd say ending the half term break with a 'mostly happy' rating was a positive outcome so well done you. Love the pictures from the museum visit. What is it with boys and bottom noises?

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  18. You may not be impressed with your trains, but at least you have them, which is not always the case over here. Two tracks once went through this town. The second was pulled up sometime after the crash of 2008.

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