Monday, 21 March 2011

Breaking the blogging duck

Hmm plenty of tumbleweed on this here blog. Again I have been nudged into action. This time by the lovely Womb for Improvement.

Well it is Persian Now Ruz so new year, new blogging vim and verve. I was discussing new year with my mother yesterday. Between us we have managed most of the 7 things beginning with s you are supposed to have to mark the new year. Kind of. They are supposed to be displayed on a beautiful cloth on an attractive table. Apple (seeb) in fruit bowl, bottle of vinegar (serkeh) under the sink, elderly garlic bulb (seer) by the cooker etc is not exactly doing it as it should be. But what the hell if the 100% Persian can't do it I dont feel too bad having managed over 50% being only half of the real thing. And no I didn't manage the painted eggs supposedly lovingly made by the kids, or the goldfish or the home grown sprouting wheat to be symbolically thrown in a river in a week or so time. Nor did we do the huge spring clean and buying of gifts either. So shoot me. I am about as good at Now Ruz as I am at blogging.

What else? OK kids, work, house. A quick canter through those.

Boy 2 is would you believe it now 1. Where did that time go? He remains adorable. He has all the Persian genes and has gone gorgeously brown by being in the sun for a whole 5 mins at the weekend. He has a suitable no of teeth and is almost walking. No reliable words. Otherwise generally as you would expect for his age. Boy 1 is ludicrously tall (no really, off the charts tall) and gangly and dances like a loon. Still not at school yet but taller than some 7 year olds. At some point this is going to be a serious disadvantage as people assume maturity he certainly does not have but at the moment he cares not a jot. Girl is 7 going on 17. She was let loose in Primark with her father and given a tenner. She returned with a "leather" jacket lined in leopard, pixie boots with straps and a frilly black vest top all of which she wants to wear constantly. She flounces and storms off like the best of them.

I have been back at work since October. It is ghastly in parts. People we have been killing ourselves for have decided they hate us. They decide that the best way to tell us about this is to have a great long list of perceived faults that they dont tell us about until the end of the financial year. This is when we send out stupid surveys asking people whether they love us at which point we get a torrent of bile. This needless to say comes as a bit of a shock. Interestingly a bunch of these people's colleagues think we are splendid and totally marvellous - not sure how we can be both that and totally crap. This doesn't make for a happy working environment as too much time is spent sitting in rooms and swearing at the injustice of it all. Add to that the fact that we aren't allowed to recruit to fill yawning gaps and that we have resorted to buying our own bloody pens thanks to the cuts the workforce is a tad disillusioned. Doesn't help that they will get no pay rise for the foreseeable. Shame that only bankers are considered worthy of being motivated by money.

Anyway to get over the grimness and ghastliness of the Coalition we are spending every last penny supporting some builders from Essex who are currently tearing our house apart and rebuilding it. We have decamped a portion of our belongings and ourselves to a flat around the corner and watch with slight horror as walls are removed and the house is apparently supported on thin air. A mini excavator has taken up residence in the back garden and the eldest boy is dreaming of Bob the Builder moments. It had better be the thing of beauty the architect has promised when they finish as this whole thing is somewhat stressful. Of course there is one good lesson from all this which it is entirely possible to live totally satisfactorily with only a quarter of your stuff. Makes me wonder what the containers in Chelmsford actually contain that we really need. Oh and it is also possible to live without tv too much to my surprise.

Despite my despair at my new overlords I have been doing a bit of Big Socie.ty type stuff with maternity services locally and making a right nuisance of myself by showing up on committees etc. I think I provide a useful counterpoint to the usual lay involvement which is from doulas and NCT evangelicals - look over here for cheerleading on highly medicalised conception and gestation.

So there you are. A blog. No pictures I'm afraid as a) we still after over 2 weeks here have no bloody broadband so are using a super expensive mobile gongley thingy and 2) my Mac is in storage with all my pics on it and 3) the husband is in the States for the week and I can't work out where the pics are on his. Next time.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

More items

Yet again nearly two months have passed. And the lovely May has prodded me into doing a few more itemettes. So what have I been doing? In no particular order.

1. I have been spending too much time on rolling news and the Labour leadership election. Nothing like a bit of Greek tragedy in the afternoon.

2. I've started doing a few afternoons back at the office where things are slightly fraught and everyone is holding their breath for 20 October. I'm phasing in my return so not back to full capacity until November but better to be there than being some "on maternity leave" statistic. My team are better placed than most to survive the cull but even so troubling times.

3. I thought about getting into a huge row about a hot topic issue with a VIP blogger but cowardly decided against it. Sometimes life really is too short to point out that someone is wrong on the Internet.

4. We went to France on our hols which was lovely. We stupidly stupidly stupidly drove down in the day to a permanent chorus of "are we there yet?" and "I need the loo". On our return we drove through the night experiencing the joys of the Eurotunnel at 4:30 am and then the Hackney 24 hour Tesco for supplies which was way way better. So you can guess how dreadful the way out was. We were in the Poitou Charentes (half way down on the left hand side for non-Europeans) inland for a week and very near the coast for another week. Inland there were acres of sunflowers and lots of cows but not many people. The coast was crammed with French campers and oysters. Both places awash with Brits. In one town inland there was even a very popular English cake stall in the market where the locals gathered to buy brownies, fruit cake, scones and other exotic delights whilst the English ahhed over the goats cheeses at the next stall. We made an interesting discovery on the coast: forget the little village bakeries, all the best bread was from bakeries out of town on roundabouts on the ring roads and bypasses.

5. School is back. L is 6. She has 5 years of primary school to go. Bit early for parents to be angsting about secondary school you'd have thought. You thought wrong. Not sure I can take years of this. Everyone is obviously making a lot of sharp elbowed middle class calculations about moving into good catchment areas (in London this tends to be code for let's find a nice middle class white area) or robbing a bank for an eye wateringly expensive private school. I am remaining with head firmly in sand.

6. I've started reading cooking blogs. I am hoping this is as good as cooking - you know like photocopying an article was like reading it when you were at university. I find cooking therapeutic but when faced with the fridge all I want to do is slump in front of the tv yet again with a bowl of cereal. Kids luckily seem to thrive on endless bowls of pasta and pesto alternated with humous. (Uggh how ludicrously cliche grim up north London is that?) Main cooking prowess in this house at the moment is with the husband who produces excellent sourdough bread. I can smell some right now...

7. We are arguing about where to live. Husband has fantasies of garages, outbuildings and rolling countryside preferably with a Grand Design in it. Whilst I can see the charms in theory, I am rather fond of London and would rather try and survive in the Victorian terrace we have. Didn't help that yesterday was spent at my jobshare's house in oxfordshire complete with chickens, pigs and a fantastic view. Win for husband. Later that night however met couple who had moved out to Dorset and moved back 3 years later cos they couldn't bear it any longer. Time for Me to crow. Impasse and a bad tempered one at that.

8. F remains adorable. He is a smiley flirt and is a complete hit wherever he goes. He is desperate to be on the move however I am happy for him to remain seated for a bit longer. On other milestones - no teeth yet, weight getting up to respectable when adjusted, practicing speaking or rather shrieking a bit like a demented parrot when his every whim is not me, err that's it.

So there you go. Itemettes mostly of distinctly first world problems. Life sometimes feels rather banal. Although to be fair I do believe drama can be rather overrated.

Saturday, 14 August 2010


As usual the months pass. Some brief itemettes for you. 

On Saturday we go to France for two weeks. Two weeks of I hope sun (bugger forecast looks dreary albeit better than here) and too much good food. Pity we start with hours and hours in the car. Ahh well probably better than struggling to the airport and then hours and hours in some hire car. I used to be fluent in French as my parents lived for years in a French speaking location not in France. Now not so much. At some point I'm going to have to take that big fat lie off my CV. It is unfortunate as the husband speaks no French not even O level French so I will have to do things I loathe with a vengeance even in English like booking restaurants and speaking to locals. Shivers with combination of dread and horror.

The school holidays are dragging. I am on a short fuse. The walking talking children have reached new levels of whininess. They also believe that holidays should be constant round of crisps, other unsuitable treats and outings. I think they would be better off reading books in the garden on a deck chair or alternatively being bored in their rooms. Unfortunately they are winning this particular battle. 

The small non walking child is currently happy to do whatever I want.  Yey! He is also over the colic. Yey again!   

I'm thinking about work and going back in a couple of months. This time I have missed it more than before. I have also realised that an enormous amount of my identity is tied up in my work which is possibly rather sad. I have also been missing an extraordinary time in - hmm in danger of losing anonymity and breaching the no work blogging rules - some bit of central London. But still it is always encouraging to constantly be reminded that those we serve think me and my colleagues are bunch of work shy, overpaid, over pensioned useless idiots. I suppose I should be glad I still have a job mind. It's not the same for many.

Right bedtime. Night all. Bisous.x 



Saturday, 5 June 2010

Catching up - babies mentioned

Its been 13 weeks and I have emerged from the fog. I also have a new toy on which to lounge on the sofa and write. Yup this post comes to you from an IPad. And an astonishingly fine thing it is, I highly recommend it. Although I'm discovering that as there is no iPad app for Blogger using it to blog is not the dreamy easy experience it should be. It is half my birthday present and half a present to self for getting through a grim few weeks at the beginning of this latest babe's life. But first before I tell you why having a ruptured appendix when you are having a baby is absolutely not the way to go here he is at on day one and below at 2 months:

He is adorable. His brother and sister are doting on him, possibly slightly too much in the case of the younger one with mammoth bearhugs and attempts at carrying, but overall they have behaved very well given their spots in the hierarchy have shifted somewhat. Most of their miffedness has been inflicted on me.

In comparison to first two this one's arrival was not exactly how I would have planned. (Forgive me for the lengthy account that follows. It is of pretty marginal interest to nearly everyone but cathartic to write down.) I knew an earlyish birth was likely as the 1st boy turned up at 37 weeks and my consultant was predicting the same and was dragging the baby out in any event at 38 weeks but even so I had planned to work at least one more week. I left the office on the Friday with a to do list as long as my arm, a handover to my stand in to do and plans for haircut, wax and eyebrow threading all set up for week 37 (birth isn't dignified at the best of times but is even less so when as hairy as a gorilla). However by about 3 on Sunday morning I am sure I am having regular contractions so off we go down to the hospital dumping the kids on the nanny whilst my parents hot foot it from the countryside.

As a small political aside I know PFI is supposed to be crappy value for money for the taxpayer but I am so glad that the decrepit Victorian hospital which has treated me for various ailments over the years and which has also seen me through fertility investigations (although the ivf was over the other side of town), miscarriages and births has been replaced by a shiny new one where some thought has been given to what should be where including new shower rooms with better showers than we have at home and decent loos.

Anyhow I wasn't having discernible on the monitor contractions but I was in serious generalised pain. Morphine became my close friend and I was writhing in the labour suite for Sunday and in the ward for Monday and Tuesday. A merry band of Professors and random Drs hovered round my bed scratching their chins and peering at me. Blood tests revealed ridiculously elevated crp indicating an inflammatory response but ok white blood cells and no temp. Medical mystery was declared so more head-scratching and lots of iv antibiotics just in case. Thankfully by Tuesday pm I was actually in full on labour and that bit all went well thanks to a smashing Spanish midwife. I should have realised they were all super concerned as I was visited in the delivery room by what felt like the entire shift worth of drs including the consultant who are rare as hens teeth at the business end unless things are going tits up. Me however swimming in diamorphine so oblivious.

Second political aside - my world renowned teaching hospital would be totally non functional without the enormous numbers of non Anglo-Saxons who treat and care for the patients. Three cheers for immigration from other continents and free movement of EU workers I say. As well as my Spanish midwife, doctors from Greece, Egypt, Hong Kong and various bits of the Asian sub-continent were amongst those who looked after me that week let alone nurses, students, cleaners etc etc.

F (who was at that stage nameless) was born around 11 that night and as a 36 weeker was whisked off after a 5 mins to the special care unit to have a line put in and a load of antibiotics leaving me for an hour to wash and feel like a total spare part with no baby. They came back eventually but that was one long hour. At this point I felt much much better and assumed that the pain was history. Hah. More fool me.

The first night was a haze and the initial euphoria soon wore off. I remained in grim pain okish lying down but incapable of straightening up when I got out of bed to hobble to the loos. More professors peering and chin scratching and testing me for this that and the other. I was incapable of eating much and had caught some vile stomach bug too which was turning what was left in my insides to, how shall i put this explosive liquid. I had ultrasounds, prodding, tests galore and finally on the Friday afternoon a CT scan was done making me even more certain that I was appearing in my own personal episode of House (and secretly hoping that the cause of all of this was my lupus cos as you know on House it never is lupus). After the husband went to have supper with the kids the CT revealed the culprit as my appendix (although the lupus drugs might have been part of the reason I had kept going with an inflamed appendix without keeling over for so long). Late that night I had a surgeon swoop in to tell me I was off to theatre asap. Husband was summonsed. Desperate calls made to close Dr friends. Fit of morbid thoughts meant F got his name as I felt that I couldn't leave him nameless when I went under the knife. Down I went to 3 hours of oblivion.

The next day the surgeon wafted to my bed and told me yup it had ruptured and was "very nasty" and then promptly disappeared before i had the opportunity to quiz him further. Later another two gut doctors came by to say I was ok to go home as soon as I fancied. I fancied soon as regardless of shiny newness I just needed to get out. Plus I was becoming a prize sow as people kept coming by to tell me that appendicitis is super difficult to diagnose in late pregnancy, none of the Professors/surgeons had seen it in x years, no really it is very difficult etc etc so we left that evening. Big mistake but that is for another post as frankly I'll be amazed if anyone is still awake by the end of this!

Just re-read and realised I have left out some very important people in this account - F, who had some minor issues of his own, and the Husband who manfully made the creaky NHS function (somethings don't change with shiny buildings) and pressed, cajoled and generally gave a very good impression that he too was a Dr in order to get people moving on tests, bloods, BPs you name it as I was in no fit state. But more of them in that other post.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The guilty party

Is my appendix. I am going in to have it out soon. Leaving F in his dad's capable hands. Thanks to eveyone for all the lovely messages. LoveBetty xx

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


He is here! 6lb 5oz. Gorgeous. Mystery ailment afflicting me so both of us are chock full of antibiotics and stuck here till Friday at least. Photo when I get home as phone/ blogger interface eluding me! Thanks for all the lovely good wishes.

Monday, 1 March 2010

35 plus 6

I had been hoping to do a Sock it to me post. But here I sit in a hospital bed. Been here since 8 on Sunday. First day they were convinced it was labour as was I. Now they think it is something else possibly irritable uterus ( bloody furious more like), kidney infection, random other thing as yet unspecified. Unfortunately for most of the last 24 hours I have been barely able to move and dosed up on a zillion painkillers although here at least morphine is an option and the one enabling me to blog. Each time he kicks me the pain intensifies but at least out makes kick counts easier. Hopefully we will have a plan tomorrow. He is looking about 6 1/2 lbs on today's scan so early out may be an option. We'll see.