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Friday, February 28, 2014

Well, as it transpires, I was wrong. Clearly a lot of people would want to be in our shoes. Lisa's shoes anyway...

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Blimey, Phil, that leather cushion doesn't look very comfortable. I bet the buckles go right up your backside". Well, contrary to the misleading description, that's actually a pair of shoes. Lisa bought them to wear at Amelie's baptism in November 2011, and they haven't been worn since. So Amelie's soul isn't the only one to have been saved since that day.

Much like their owner, those shoes spent a lot of time on the shelf before finally being picked up by yours truly. To be honest, I found them in the bin. Toby has a habit of taking things from bookcases, out of cupboards and off tables, and then shoving them down toilets, into bins and under beds, so having grown tired of picking up after her son last week, Lisa decided to cut out the middle man and throw away her own shoes.

I came home from work ten days ago to find a black sack in the hallway, containing a load of old shoes that Toby had pulled off the shelves, and which Lisa had decided she no longer wanted. Or, at least, no longer wanted to keep picking up off the floor. I'm no stranger to rooting around in the rubbish, so having looked through the sack, I pointed out to Lisa that a couple of pairs looked quite decent, and really should be saved. She shrugged in response, and said that I could take them to the nearest charity shop if I wanted to.

Well, needless to say, charity begins at home. So I took them out, gave them a clean, and put them straight on eBay.

That was Wednesday of last week. And on Wednesday of this week, they both sold. One for £16 and the other for £22.01. With added postage, I've received forty-six quid in the past twenty-four hours. And the best thing is, it's all mine. As I pointed out to Lisa, she lost all claims to those shoes the moment she put them in the sack. I might have to pay Toby a finder's fee, but apart from that, I'm quids in.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

If you're wondering why Amelie and her friends are so excited...

... it's not the ice creams in their hands. It's the news that Lidl are selling Moose Soup...

Lisa and I are going to become a pair of broth elk reapers. You wouldn't want to be in our shoes.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Amelie was enjoying an early morning Maryland cookie at 7am today, as one of her recommended five-a-day portions of baked chocolate goods, when she turned to us and said "Do you know what my favourite celebration is?". It's always a big mistake to guess correctly where Amelie's concerned, which is a lesson we've learnt to our cost over the years, so Lisa played dumb and replied "No". To which Amelie responded "It's my birthday".

Now, that's all perfectly acceptable, and perhaps not that surprising, but the interesting thing is that both Lisa and I were convinced she was going to say Snickers. Or possibly Maltesers. I'm not sure what that says about us as a couple, but I'm concerned that we're more obsessed with chocolate than our children.

On the subject of misunderstandings, I heard this song on the radio for the first time this morning whilst driving up to Crawley...

... and by the end of it, I was convinced he was singing "I get to hold her, I own a Lisa". I genuinely thought I'd found a song that was written for me.

Anyhoo, as the song says, "I don't care if that's all I ever do", but sadly I have a lot of other jobs to get done at the moment. Having returned from West Sussex and given my mother-in-law a lift home with her shopping, I finally got back to our flat this evening to be greeted with the news that Amelie's got head lice. And she's only been back at school for two days. I'd barely got my coat off and I was straight back out to Asda for a lengthy discussion with the pharmacist about insecticides.

As things stand right now, it's half an hour past Amelie's bedtime, I haven't had my tea yet, and Lisa's in the bathroom scrubbing a louse with some kind of chemical. Although that's no way to refer to my daughter. I can think of better ways to spend an evening though. I'm just grateful I don't have hair.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Toby's been Tango'd...

His future might be bright, but his present is orange, as we've been forced to buy him the gift of a new buggy. Yes, I haven't just spent my annual leave doing remedial art projects in my dressing gown; I've also managed to get out of the house long enough to break a pushchair.

It was actually on Friday that I decided I was feeling well enough to get some fresh air, so in a moment of weather-related optimism, I decided to wheel Toby down to Asda in the buggy. We didn't particularly need anything, so naturally by the time we emerged from the store, I was carrying about half a ton of shopping, most of which was suspended from the buggy.

Now, I'm not sure if that was the cause of the breakdown, or whether it was just the cumulative effect of two children, five-and-a-half years and hundreds of miles, but as I pushed Toby up the steep slope out of the marina, the chassis of the buggy snapped, and the whole thing collapsed. Toby was concertina'd inside like a tight-fitting hammock, and I was struggling to keep the thing upright.

To cut a long story short, I was able to proceed only on the condition that (a) I didn't put any weight on the front wheels, (b) I held the handles apart as though I was going "Ta-da!", and (c) I didn't mind looking like I was doing irresponsible wheelies with a small child in some kind of clown vehicle.

I did consider abandoning the buggy on the grounds that it didn't appear to be fixable, and was likely to be chucked when I got home, but Toby didn't have any shoes with him, and there was no way I could carry both him and the shopping. And I was reluctant to abandon him too. (I'd paid good money for that shopping).

So I pressed on, and in a remarkable feat of endurance which almost succeeded in killing me, I managed to make it most of the way home. At which point I reached the limits of my strength, phoned Lisa on my mobile, and asked her to walk down the hill to meet me. She carried Toby the rest of the way, and I dragged the shopping and the broken buggy.

Upon closer inspection, the buggy was indeed unsalvageable, which is annoying, because it's lasted us for more than half a decade, and if Toby's anything like his sister, he'll start refusing to go in it about three months from now, so if it had just lasted us a bit longer, we could have saved some money and spent it on a new pair of walking boots for Toby.

As it is, we've spent forty quid on a cheap stroller which makes him look like he plays football for Holland. The only upside is that I might be able to recoup some of the cost via a sponsorship deal with Sunny Delight.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

As fairy tales go, this one's pretty Grimm...

But it's another school project successfully completed. It goes without saying that homework is a lot easier when Amelie's not involved, but on this occasion I've had to contend with input from not one, but two creative klutzes. Not only did Amelie photoshop the model in the background and print it out without asking, but Lisa insisted on joining in too. By the time I was called in as emergency project manager, it was looking like a scene from DIY SOS.

But as the Sarah Beeny of shoe boxes, I like to think I've added some kind of value to the property. The brief was to create a fairy tale scene in a shoe box, so with the theme of footwear very much central to proceedings, you'd expect us to go with Cinderella, Puss in Boots or The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe Box. Which also describes my mother-in-law's life at the sheltered housing. Unfortunately Amelie chose Rapunzel.

Needless to say, I had a few issues with scale, and if I'm honest, the Prince wouldn't really need to climb Rapunzel's yellow-string hair extensions, as he's already taller than she is. The tower's a bit on the bijou side too. It's no wonder Rapunzel wants to be rescued. She's clearly lacking the space for a separate bathroom to wash her hair. The Prince appears to be losing the thread of it all too, as his clothes unravel down the side of his horse. Although I was forced to dress him as Joseph, so that's probably no bad thing.

Anyhoo, if you ignore the swirly watermarks on the fence, which were designed to stop people like me printing it off the internet without permission, then I think the whole thing's a triumph. Although how Amelie's going to get it to school without it falling apart is anyone's guess. The first gust of wind and Rapunzel will be straight out of that toilet roll.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Just look at the quality of that craftwork...

That's Amelie's half-term holiday homework. She didn't make it, obviously. I spent a day's annual leave creating it while she was at her Grandma's. But it amounts to the same thing.

To be honest, the headmistress had pretty much given me permission to do it instead of my daughter. According to the homework sheet that Amelie came out of school with last Friday, they're planning to create a giant mosaic to celebrate the school's Silver Jubilee in June, and "During half term we are inviting all families to decorate a small square piece of card" in any way they choose. It's where we get the phrase 'carte blanche'.

The theme of the mosaic is 'Nature, the Sea and the colour Blue', so I've pretty much covered all the bases there. I was tempted to draw a picture of Lee Ryan being savaged by a shark, which would also have ticked all the boxes, but in the end I went with a 3D collage of the kind of typical wildlife you find off the Sussex coast. Quite a long way off the Sussex coast. The Pacific, if I'm honest. Still, if Amelie had been involved, it would have featured mermaids and The Octonauts, so I'm maintaining more of a grip on reality than my daughter.

Anyhoo, having been off sick at the end of last week, I returned to work on Monday, and toiled away until Wednesday lunchtime, which marked the beginning of my annual leave. I only had 2½ days left for this financial year, and the half term seemed like a good time to take it.

Of course, that was before I knew I was going to be ill again. With impeccable timing, I woke up yesterday morning feeling sick, and within half an hour had a bad headache. And I hadn't even seen Amelie. Despite that, we decided to take Toby to the playgroup at the Methodist Church down the road, the highlight of which was when a mother came up to me at the plasticine table and said "Oh wow, you can really tell he's yours! He looks exactly like you!"

Unfortunately she was referring to a different child. Toby had wandered off to the other side of the hall at the time. I was tempted to keep quiet to spare the lady's embarrassment, but I was a bit concerned that the boy in question might start misbehaving and I'd end up getting the blame, so I let her down gently and politely. As a result, she was completely mortified, and Lisa's now convinced that I'm fathering all the neighbourhood children.

So it was a good morning's work. By the end of which, I felt like throwing up and had the mother of all headaches. I'd planned to spend my annual leave laying some new flooring in the bathroom, but frankly the only thing which got floored was me. I was forced to spend the afternoon in my dressing gown, printing out photos of turtles and cutting out starfish, whilst popping painkillers and sucking on Bisodol. I also painted a shoebox, but that's another story.

I went to bed early feeling like death warmed up, but having made it through the night, I feel as though I'm improving today. So by the end of my annual leave, I should be fit and well for work. It's a bit of a dream come true.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

After three days without a blog post, word has reached me today that there are people out there who are desperate for me to write something. Not because they can't live without my blogging, but because they're fed up of seeing their demonically possessed face at the top of the page every time they come here.

So I'd just like to apologise to my Mum. Although if you're too cheap to pay for a face lift, you've only got yourself to blame. That said, here's a photo of someone who's less likely to complain...

That's another of Amelie's efforts. You can tell she took the photo, firstly by the fingerprint of ice cream in the top right of the camera lens, and secondly because Toby never laughs that much at anyone else. He thinks she's bloody hilarious.

Anyhoo, if you want to solve the mystery of why I haven't written much just lately, you'll find the crucial piece of evidence in this blog post. Yes, I'm dating Sandi Toksvig. And we're also obsessed with 'The Killing'. To my complete amazement, Lisa and I have managed to watch all twenty one-hour episodes of Forbrydelsen in seventeen days. Despite spending one of those in Leicestershire. Although as Lisa pointed out to me yesterday, we've watched precisely nothing else. Frankly we haven't seen so much as a weather forecast for the past fortnight. So the floods took us a bit by surprise.

Anyway, I'm here to tell you that despite featuring more unanswered questions than a conversation with Amelie, 'The Killing' is probably the best TV series I've seen. In Danish. In the past year. Lisa and I have been hopelessly, helplessly hooked since the first episode, and if my wife had had her way, we'd have stayed up until 4am every night to watch it. Even now it's finished, I've spent one of the most enjoyable hours of my entire life today reading the comments on this blog post. That's not a link to click if you haven't watched the series, but if you have, it will restore your faith in human reasoning, and have you rolling in the aisles. I haven't laughed so much in years.

Unfortunately, if you think I'll be wallowing in free time now that I've found out whodunnit, you're sadly mistaken. We're starting series two tonight.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I've seen some scary photos in my time, but seriously...

What kind of godforsaken devil of a hell-fiend produced that demonically evil image??? Well, the answer is my daughter. It's a picture of my Mum.

I don't actually know when, where or how that photo came to be taken, or precisely which malevolent spirit my mother was possessed with at the time; I just found it on Amelie's camera. It was next to a far more shocking one of me naked. That photo's been deleted for legal reasons. Admittedly, you couldn't actually tell it was me unless you're extremely familiar with my bottom, but either Amelie's been photographing me getting dressed without my knowledge, or she's gathered evidence of other men cavorting nude in my bedroom. And either way, it's not something I want her showing her friends. I'm going to e-mail Vtech and suggest they add a loud siren noise to the next model of their Kidizoom camera, instead of the quiet shutter-click it currently features.

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's Valentine's Day! And I gave Lisa this card...

I stole it from Frank Carson's dressing room.

(It's a cracker).

Thursday, February 13, 2014

In space, no one can hear you scream...

But if you listen carefully, you might just pick up the sound of me moaning. Mostly in pain, but I could probably find some other reasons too.

I actually phoned in sick today, which is not like me at all. But having battled my way through a clinic at Crawley Hospital yesterday with a headache, a sore throat, and a load of patients who were fitter than I was, I awoke this morning feeling slightly worse, and having started getting ready for work, I eventually admitted defeat and called it a day. I'm not sure if it's flu or just a heavy cold, but as things stand right now, the only things Lisa will be getting for Valentine's Day are my germs.

Fortunately, every cloud has a silver lining, and as she was getting ready for school this morning, Amelie (who's been watching a lot of Doc McStuffins recently) asked me if I was too ill to go to work. When I said yes, she replied "Good. You'll have more time to play SpongeBob with me when I get home from school".

Of course, at that point, she didn't know what lay ahead of her at 12:53pm...

Worryingly, we have seen signs of headaches, sickness and drowsiness, but fortunately for Amelie, they've all been in me. And no one's bothered calling a doctor. Where's Sticky Gasper Dove when you need him?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When your weekend involves belting out showstoppers for three hours on a Saturday afternoon at your regular Musical Theatre class, you can expect to spend Sunday feeling a little hoarse...

Although in reality, that's a donkey. I've got another photo of her kissing an ass, but I'm not sure that's suitable for publication.

Anyhoo, after swimming on Friday and singing on Saturday, there's only one way to complete your weekend, and that's with swinging on Sunday...

That's us making waves in Leicestershire with an attractive young couple. The photo was taken by Amelie from her position on the moral high ground. She was looking down on us at the time.

In reality, we spent Sunday at the home of our good friend Marie. She's lived in Croydon for most of her life, and we've never bothered to visit, but now she's moved four times further away, and is living halfway up the country in a remote part of the Midlands, we thought we'd drop by. It's only a six-hour round trip, and we had nothing better to do.

As it happens, our journey up there on Sunday morning was surprisingly straightforward. Speed limits mean nothing to me, and I have Mr Burns from The Simpsons as my sat-nav voice, so we spent the journey seeing who could do the best impression of Smithers at 90mph. In fact, the entire trip went without a hitch... right up until the moment we drove into Great Bowden. Toby, who'd been as happy as Larry (the lamb) for 150 miles, had started moaning about ten minutes from our destination. But as we drove into Marie's village, he suddenly stopped. And Amelie started screaming.

Now, it's difficult to convey the scene using words alone, and I didn't have the presence of mind to take photos, but if you can imagine the Niagara Falls made out of vomit, you're halfway there. It's not like Amelie to understate things, but when she screamed "Toby's been sick!!!", she didn't do the situation justice. Toby had somehow managed to throw up the contents of about half a dozen stomachs. Not only was it down his coat, his trousers and the car seat, but it had somehow found its way down his neck and inside his clothes too. He looked like he'd been on Tiswas.

I'll pause momentarily to cleanse the palate with a more idyllic rural scene...

That's better. So, rather than the joyful reunion we were hoping for, Marie opened her front door to find Amelie in tears, and me asking if I could borrow some kitchen roll. Although I soon realised that paper towels weren't going to suffice, and I could do with a high pressure hose and an incinerator.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so I'm not sure what Marie's new boyfriend now thinks of us, but both of them were excellent, and within five minutes we had Toby stripped off and his clothes in the wash. We weren't prepared enough to have packed a spare outfit, but he seemed quite happy with a dress made out of Marie's top...

If you're wondering what he's gazing up at, it's Amelie looking like an 80-year-old woman on the spiral staircase...

Ignore the pirate in the background.

Luckily for Lisa and me, we have the kind of children who are not only happy to be left with strangers, but are actually a lot more cheerful when we leave, so we dumped Amelie and Toby with our hosts, and drove straight into Market Harborough to buy clothes. Half an hour later, we'd found the British Heart Foundation, paid £2.25 for a Marks & Spencer's Autograph shirt, and Toby was looking a lot more dapper...

To be honest, he wasn't that smart when we left home, so it was actually a great improvement.

With Toby dressed for dinner, we sat down to a very civilised lunch of pasta, bread and salad...

If I'd known Amelie was taking photos, I'd have tried to look slightly less camp. I'd also have put more salad on my plate. But despite arming Toby with an extra-large sick-bowl...

... the meal passed without incident. Unless you count him chucking food on the floor and smearing cheese on the chair. Which I don't.

Marie's house is actually a converted chapel, complete with stained glass window, wooden beams, and a spiral staircase. After a visit from us, it's no longer just the window that's stained, and the handrail to the stairs is now decorated beautifully with stickers. So, unsurprisingly, they were keen to get us out. No sooner had we attacked the tub of ice cream with a chisel, than we were retrieving Toby's coat from the tumble dryer and heading off to the West Lodge Rural Centre for a bit of tea-cosy modelling...

Don't let the happy-go-lucky smiles fool you. We were actually in the advanced stages of hypothermia there. It was so cold, the mud had almost frozen over. Almost, but not quite...

That's Toby, shortly after ruining another outfit by getting down on his knees near the piggery. Frankly, the only one not up to her ankles in mud at this point was Amelie, who was busy doing her Frank Spencer impression on a runaway horse...

As Marie said at the time, "I wouldn't want her to hurt herself, but it would be very funny if she fell off". To be honest, we were all thinking it. But by some miracle, Amelie managed to cling on long enough to complete a full circuit of the paddock. Although by the end, she was pretty much riding side-saddle...

Is it me, or does that horse look like Ed Sheeran..?

Anyhoo, having stroked some newborn lambs, ridden a tractor and seen some turkeys with unsightly chest hair, we attempted to bring home the bacon with a bit of gambling...

I always said Lisa was a good bet. She puts the tote into totes amazeballs.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The pale white face, the straggly brown mane and the muddy old coat...

It's a miracle the horse let her sit on him. But still, at least one of them's looking at the camera.

Unfortunately, having driven 320 miles yesterday, waded through wide-ranging mud in sub-zero temperatures, and cleaned up a lot of vomit, I'm lacking the energy to write a lengthy account of my weekend. So the story of how Amelie came to spend Sunday horsing around in Leicestershire will have to wait until tomorrow.

But in the meantime, I've found a good way of speeding up the school run...

It's no wonder we saw a lot of vomit.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

I'd just like to point out that this video is hosted on YouTube, and therefore isn't technically on my blog...

To be honest, I had every intention of respecting Am's wishes when I filmed that, but Lisa has since informed me that as the girl's only five years old, I don't legally have to listen to a word she says. Morally, I might be standing on the slightly shaky low-ground, but in the eyes of the law, I'm as blameless as Bill Roache. Although I think that view might be influenced by Lisa's desire to put it on Facebook.

Anyhoo, the fact is, we've all been there: you see someone's puffed-out cheeks, you squeeze them when they least expect it, and then you watch as water unexpectedly shoots out all over their highly prized artwork. It's part of growing up. And let's face it, that's why the school has a prayer table: so that Amelie can ask for forgiveness.

But while my daughter's been heavily involved in cheekiness with her classmates, I've been quite busy myself. I had a text message at 8am on Thursday asking if I could write a 1000-word article for Diabetes UK by the end of the day. Which is not the kind of request I get that often. Especially when I'm driving up to Crawley for an all-day clinic. Fortunately, torrential rain meant that I couldn't leave the hospital at lunch time, so having beavered away before, during and after work, I somehow managed it. With more time, I might have formed those one-thousand words into readable sentences, but given the constraints thrust upon me, the random collection I submitted will have to do.

To be honest, I'm more into pictures than words...

I created that poster a few weeks ago, and as of yesterday morning, it's been approved (in a tentative, non-legally-binding way) for display in dozens of GP surgeries across Sussex. I was asked to come up with something eye-catching, so I took the brief literally, and produced a poster to scare small children. Of course, there's every chance that no one will agree to display it on the grounds that it's terrifying, and likely to induce trauma, but the way I see it is that I'm keeping the GPs in work by making a lot of people sick.

The good news is that I've been justly rewarded for my efforts. In return for creating that prize-winning poster, I've been given a copy of 'Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls', and a tin of high-sugar biscuits. My employers have an ironic sense of humour.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I was doing a clinic yesterday in a health centre which shall remain nameless (mainly because I have short-term memory problems), and one of my patients was a lady in her late eighties, who informed me that her GP keeps telling her off for climbing up stepladders and standing on tables. Apparently it's not a wise thing to do at her age. Although if it results in men sticking dollar bills in her garter, she might not need her winter fuel allowance.

Fortunately I'm not a doctor, so I told her she can come round and put up my Christmas decorations any time. Although preferably in December. Then I sent her outside while the eye drops worked. When I called her back in, she was busy furiously writing in one of the patient feedback books which are dotted around the clinic, and having kept me waiting for a minute while she finished her essay, she walked back in and whispered "I've given you a good write-up..."

Naturally, once I know the feedback's committed to paper, I can be as rude and discourteous as I like, so I hurried her straight through the photos, shoved her out the door, and popped down the corridor to see what she'd written. It transpired that she'd praised my level of attention (so I can rule out ADHD) and said I provided "very good care", before slagging off the receptionist for not smiling enough. Tragically, however, she hadn't said who I was or what she'd been there for, so with a hundred other clinics taking place (the NHS is nothing if not overstretched) (and I'm inflating the figures), those comments could apply to anyone. I was tempted to copy her handwriting and put my name at the top, but in the end I decided to remain anonymous. Although I'm happy to blow my own trumpet. And if anyone asks, it was me.

In other news, now that Chloe's moved up to the great litter tray in the sky, I thought the days of finding mice lying around the flat in odd places were well and truly over. Unfortunately, having tired of chucking electronic items down the toilet, Toby is now doing his best to follow in Chloe's illustrious pawprints by nicking our wireless computer mouse. He walked off with it yesterday morning, and despite checking the bins, toilet and Wellington boots, we've so far failed to locate it. It was particularly heartbreaking as it meant that Lisa was unable to play Candy Crush until I came home and dug out a spare one.

In a possible act of divine retribution, however, Toby appears to have been punished for his wanton thieving by being struck down by a mystery illness. Within a couple of hours of losing the mouse, the boy developed a temperature and stopped eating. So it's possible he swallowed it and has mercury poisoning. By the time I got home from work yesterday, he was hot, miserable and appeared to be turning into a panda, with deathly pale skin and dark rings around his eyes.

As for the rest of us, Lisa and I are currently feeling rough, exhausted and headachey, but we've got two kids, so that's pretty normal. The good news is that we're all set for a bit of miraculous healing, as Amelie went to school today with her Prayer Table paraphernalia. She's not setting the table until tomorrow (and going by past form, she'll get the knives and forks the wrong way round), but she's taken in a Bible, a cross and a candle. So we'll either get a fervent prayer of healing, or a bonfire the Klan would be proud of.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Aside from pastries, bacon and Sandi Toksvig, the best thing to have come out of Denmark in recent years is supposedly Forbrydelsen. Or 'The Killing', as unilingual speakers like myself prefer to call it. Unfortunately, as a general rule, this family's TV viewing habits are more inclined towards ITV2 than BBC4. That's if we're not watching CBeebies. If we want highbrow, we watch 5* and the closest we get to anything intellectual is the Big Brother 'Bit on the Psych' show.

But having found ourselves hooked on 'Broadchurch' last year, I read this article in The Daily Telegraph (I didn't buy it, I used it to line Chloe's litter tray), and decided that 'The Killing' really ought to be on our hit list. The problem is that we struggle to find the time to watch a weather forecast, never mind a twenty-part series, and by the time we've got the kids to bed, had something to eat, and looked with exhausted despair at the wreckage of our formerly simple lives, we barely have the strength to read a copy of TV Quick, never mind an hour of Danish subtitles.

But whilst working in Horsham last Thursday, I visited one of their fine charity shops and found the DVD box set of series 1 & 2 of 'The Killing' for only £5. So I bought it. And frankly I made a killing. The cheapest seller on the Amazon marketplace is flogging it for more than forty quid. What's more, it's clearly unwatched and never been opened. I suspect it was an unwanted Christmas gift donated by a member of UKIP.

So in an effort to salvage our grey matter before our brains turn entirely to child-ravaged mush, Lisa and I sat down last night and watched the first episode. Followed immediately by the second. I can't shake the feeling that Sarah Lund's Danish accent sounds a bit like Geordie, and I'm uncomfortable with a 19-year-old called Nanna, but other than that, we love it. We've got twenty-eight more episodes on seven DVDs, but if we can persuade the kids to look after themselves, I think we'll have them watched by the weekend.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

I think the teenage years have come early...

Although if she was a genuine teenager, she'd sleep a lot later in the mornings, instead of waking us at the crack of dawn by kneeing me in the chest, pulling my ears, and carrying out severe strangulation whilst biting my nose. She doesn't even have a snooze button.

This morning, having wrested me violently from my slumbers, Amelie then chose to return to her bedroom and pretend she had a walkie-talkie by chatting in a loud voice through Toby's baby monitor. She's been learning about space at school (sadly not about giving us any) so having witnessed astronauts contacting Houston with their problems, she proceeded to do a space walk across Toby's cot whilst telling Lisa off for not ending every sentence with the word 'over'.

After five minutes there was a loud crash, and as Lisa and I looked at each other in fear and trepidation, Amelie walked back into our bedroom and said this:

"Put your hand up if you're good at fixing things".

Fortunately it made us laugh so much we didn't care about Toby's broken mobile.

In other news, yesterday was Amelie's third Musical Theatre class, and after three sessions, she's now been there and got the t-shirt...

To be honest though, I'm wondering if we've got the whole thing a bit wrong. Amelie came out of yesterday's class with a dragon mask made out of a paper plate, and when I pressed her for details of that afternoon's curriculum, she told me they hadn't sung any songs, done any dancing or performed any plays. I started to panic that I'd dropped her off at the wrong place. When I asked her what she had done, she told me that they'd made masks and learnt about the Chinese New Year. Which is fine, but seems unlikely to earn her a Tony Award.

It was only when I read her t-shirt that I discovered that in addition to being a School of Music & Arts, they're offering 'Innovative Educational Study-Support'. I thought I'd booked her a term at stage school, but I'm actually paying for a private tutor. I'm the most middle-class person on this council estate.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Praise the Lord!

Amen to that. Yes, it seems that whilst state schools do times tables, faith schools do prayer tables. I presume it only has three legs and needs a miracle to stay upright.

If I'm honest, I don't really know what a prayer table is, but Jesus' father was a carpenter, so I suppose it makes sense. I expect the 'small items' they're asking for are beer mats to put under the wonky legs.

Obviously I'm praying that Amelie's stint as Religious Furniture Monitor goes well, but she's doing it in conjunction with the naughtiest boy in the class, and one of the items she's taking in is a candle, so if the school hasn't been hit by a major arson attack before Friday, we'll all be thanking the Lord for small mercies.