Thank you all for your kind comments. Some of you wonder how I do it all. Well, I don't. I basically go to work and make sure my children are reasonably clean and well fed. Parenting on a shoestring. Richard and I share responsibilities quite equally although I do of course like to argue that I do the lion share of domestic chores. I probably do more cleaning but he does most of the grocery shopping. It balances out. Housework is mostly done on the weekend. Sam and Annie take a lot of caring responsibility for the little ones, for a price of course. You may notice that that I am no domestic goddess and if you ever visit (wouldn't this be nice?), our home has a "lived-in" feel to it. That's what our dog walker says by the way. Don't ask, I have all sorts of conversations with our dog walker. I'd rather spend the evening stitching or making soap than ironing.
Wednesday is decision day for our camping trip, usually planned for the September weekend, which is a local holiday for all schools and as it turns out, for Sam's university, too (Monday only). Not ours unfortunately, this holiday was scrapped a few years back. There is the usual huffing and puffing of little boys getting ready for school. I do wonder how they'll ever survive on their own! They were spoilt with black pudding on toast for breakfast. James walked to High School today for the first of many induction mornings. The local primary and secondary school work together well to make the transition easy. It is a shame that many parents choose to send there kids further afield but this is a rant for another day. I start work early and find three emails from our HR director, all regarding an amber weather warning, which is in place for today. The first email came with wrong date and day for the warning, the second with correct date and wrong day. The last one was correct. This is, I am afraid, normal standard of service. Meanwhile, if anyone bothered looking through the window, there is a storm raging outside. I decide to work at home, feeling grateful to have that flexibility. I am easily distracted today and frequently check in on the fruit fly trap. There are many pickled fly cadavers but I swear these things bread faster than I can kill them. I work pretty much without break all day. I do get up to make coffee and to walk a few steps. During one of those breaks I notice that the blue wheelie bin full of recycling is not in its usual place and while I am wondering why, I watch it fly away. It is that windy. Luckily, it doesn't go far and I run outside to stuff what I can catch back in the bin and drag it back to where it usually is, secured to the shed by a chain (strong winds are common here). I finish my annual review, glad it is all signed off and done for another year. Sam is home early, just a couple of lectures. He looks after James and Alistair until I finish work. I can smell banana pancakes. It is not a terribly exciting work day but I do look over a grant application for Richard and it appears my comments are useful. I am glad I am not on a research track, I don't think I could handle the stress of grant writing. At 4 pm I call it a day, say hello to my monkeys (I have been hiding from them) and I decide to make a lasagna. No evening tutorial today means that I have time to cook. Alas, there is not enough milk for the béchamel and no salad and I dash out to Tesco's and back in record time. I like making lasagna with lashings of béchamel sauce. James has one of his epic tantrums and ends up thrashing his bedroom while we eat the lasagne. I don't know what set him off. We let him calm down in his own time, no point fighting the dragon. James decides to go to bed early, at 7 pm. He has a bruise and a painful looking lump on the side of his foot, where he kicked a wall or something. I have never seen an injury like it. Sam is taking Alistair swimming and Richard and I spend a peaceful 45 minutes doing nothing at all. Once all the offspring is in bed or otherwise busy, I finish listening to my audiobook, of course while stitching on my quilt. No firm decision on the camping trip by bed time, which is early.
Thursday. The morning starts as usual with a cup of coffee in bed, shower and some shouting to get the little ones fed and ready for school. Richard usually deals with breakfast, getting them ready and walk them to school. I work early, he works later in the afternoon, it kind of works out. I check on my new fruit fly trap. There are four in the vinegar trap and four in the red wine trap (thanks for the tip AC). I have spotted a fruit fly upstairs. A moth, too. A script for "Revenge of the arthropods" feature movie forms in my head. I manage to get some work done before school time but the internet is slow and it is annoying me. I am also annoyed to find another email from the student I thought I had dealt with successfully on Monday. Not so. Same questions, and a couple more. My answer remains the same. I am not actually in a position to make the promises she wants me to make. I call my colleague to discuss, then I take a deep breath and email to say that all things considered, maybe a deferral to next year would be best as she obviously does not have the time to commit to what is a gruelling 9 months course. Then I meet a dissertation student to discuss a timeline for her project. She is my first in many years and I am nervous but I don't tell her that. Another meeting follows to discuss programme planning and stuff and the usual complaining about a lack of staff. The university invests millions in new teaching spaces but every half day of teaching staff time is argued about ad nauseam. I finally get to sit down for lunch at 1 pm. I forgot breakfast and only have a yogurt for lunch, and an apple. Bad planning. I resist the temptation of cafeteria food and make do with what I have. I have a good chat with a friend whom I used to work with and who now works on the same campus. The rest of the working day is spent with updating the virtual learning environment for next week as I am off work tomorrow and Monday. My head spins. Cycling home helps. It is cold outside, surprisingly so. There is a lot of wind damage in the forest that I cycle through on my way home. I find three packages at home. I need to return the school jumpers I ordered for Annie. The sleeves are so long they could double for trouser legs. Why? I am excited to find the new waffle maker in another package. Sam broke ours when we were away. Dinner is a dilemma. My menu plan was recycled along with the shopping list and when I finally find the recipes I had in mind, I realise that all need planning ahead (marinading, soaking beans etc). It seemed like a good idea at the time. I wonder if it is ok to make fish finger sandwiches twice a week but Richard saves the day and dinner. We decide to have a gin and tonic because we are both off work tomorrow. Brockman, my favourite. Annie goes to Scouts. They needed to "to learn about one type of aircraft and report back to the scout troop about said aircraft". My daughter packed Julia Donaldson's "Room on the Broom" and will be presenting her findings about witches' broomsticks. Why ever not? There are now 23 fruit flies in the traps. I declare all out war and swat a couple that I can see. After dinner and clearing up the the kitchen, we lift the screen ban temporarily. A cheap trick that always works. A decision is taken about the weekend. Instead of camping we'll be climbing a hill with our camping friends and all the dogs, followed by a curry night in. I am led to believe that there is a burrito stall on top of the munro, which sounds good to me. I am glad I can sleep in my own bed because it is cold and windy. I think it is time to put the heating on in the evenings. We watch Michael Palin's documentary about his travels in North Korea. It is interesting and I look forward to the next episode.
That's it all for Wednesday and Thursday. I am looking forward to a lie-in tomorrow! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. xx