Monday, 19 September 2016


Monday, Monday, Monday.  How could one day pass so quickly?  Here I am, almost too late to join in Sian's Memorandum Monday.

I should have guessed it was going to be a frantic day when an epic SatNav fail affected my journey into work.  Not my mistaken turning, but one which caused a few problems.  You see, my very short journey to work takes me down a very narrow road which has the rather attractive name of 'Pig Lane'.  I always thought it might be because it is in the middle of farm land, maybe originally a pig farm?  Apparently during the war it was known as Pudding Lane.  There is a large manor set back from the road which was used as a maternity hospital, in particular single mother evacuees from London.  The girls would come to stay in a house in the centre of town, and then when the birth was imminent they would be moved to the manor house and the road which they travelled down got the nickname Pudding Lane as a play on the words 'in the pudding club'.  I digress.  This road is narrow, single track in some places and delays can be frequent when a large Range Rover comes head to head with another.  So imagine the chaos this morning when
 a Stansted airport park and ride double 'bendy' bus went down there.  It must have been a new driver who did not know the area and was following the 'shortest possible route' to Stansted on a sat nav.  How he ended up there, I have no idead.  For a start the park and ride is nowhere near Pig Lane, and it certainly isn't the main route through to the airport! 

So I sneaked into the office dead on 8.30 and tried to slip unnoticed into my chair.  'Aha, you're here' says the Head's PA, I know you've only just got here but could I have a word?'  As I searched my mind for anything dreadful I might have done, I couldn't find anything in my guilty conscience.  However it appeared that my plans for the morning were well and truly scuppered as our receptionist had resigned and left without working any notice.  Which naturally led to much speculation in the office for the rest of the morning.  Had anyone noticed she was unhappy?  Had she mentioned to anyone she was thinking about leaving?  No to all.  But it left us with a busy reception to man between us and consequently I got none of my own work done at all.   

So what have I learnt today?  After a morning of frustrating commutes and unexpected workloads, the perfect antidote is a family afternoon walk in the countryside with a dog on one side and a baby on the other.  And the first true signs of Autumn, fallen leaves and shiny conkers. 

I hope everyone else had a slightly better start to their day! 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Memorandum Monday -

Just sneaking in before the end of Monday so I can officially join in with Sian's Memo Makers.

There's a certain member of our family who's experienced a whole load of new things today and I've been lucky enough to share some of them with him.

Today was the first day that Leo's daddy wasn't there to spend all day with him.  The nasty people at Leo's dad's workplace said that his two weeks paternity leave was up and they wanted him back at work.  All day.  What a cheek!  How lucky then that I finished work at 12.30 and was able to pop round and spend the afternoon with him :-)

It was the first time that Leo's mum had taken him out in the car without his daddy.  Daddy normally does all the heavy lifting, getting the car seat into the car, folding up the pram frame and putting it in the boot of the car.  So it fell to me to try and 'help'  - at which point I realised that things have moved on somewhat since I last went out with a newborn.  26 years ago to be precise!  Baby seats are heavy.  REALLY heavy - and then you've got to fix it into the Isofix fitting, line it up properly and wait until the lights stop flashing to confirm it's in properly.  OK, I have to be honest, Leo's mum had to do that bit as there's quite a knack to it.  When I think back to bringing Rachel home 30 years ago, we simply put her in a carry cot, put that on the back seat and put a seat belt over it.  Looking back, it may not have been as safe as we thought it was then!
So whilst she was doing that, it fell to me to fold up the frame to put in the boot of the car.  Oh yes.  That sounds simple doesn't it?  My goodness I made a mess of that. But it was my first time after all.  Line this wheel up there, put on the brake, press that handle in, then push the handle down, pull on that strap, give it a shake, fold it up and voila! The 'voila' stage took a little while to accomplish.
So we set off for Leo and his mum to pop into the doctor's for a check over and then we headed out for the main event ...
Leo's first trip to a supermarket
Does a Monday get any more exciting than that?
So here's the photo to prove it.
If you see him, don't expect him to remember much about it, he slept through the whole thing.  And then we got home, he woke up, had his afternoon tea/milk and went straight back to sleep.  Which kind of makes me think that's he's used up his quota of being quiet and sleepy for the day, and that his mum and dad may be in for a disturbed evening!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Memorandum Monday - the 2 days late edition

 Belatedly joining in with Sian's Memorandum Monday gang.  {hangs head in shame}  Could I call my entry 'What I learnt Wednesday'?  Whatever happened to Monday? What with going back to work and all those Grandmotherly emotions going on, the days are flying by. 

So what have I learnt since we last met?  Well, let me see ...

  • That after 6 weeks on school holiday I had managed to forget every log in password to every website/database/software programme that I needed to do my job.  Those combinations of upper case - lower case - numbers - exclamation marks - dollar signs that tripped so easily from my fingertips in July refused to come to mind in September.  Until I remembered that when I had been given my new academic planner at end of term, I had sensibly written them all down on a random page (top secret info you know, don't write it down, don't share it with anyone - don't tell anyone what I've done!)

  • I've learnt how to use a franking machine.  And whereas using a hand stamp to number and date every application form that comes in satisfies my inner librarian, the franking machine takes me back to happy days as a child playing with a toy post office, a plastic contraption which folded out to make a pretend counter, miniature envelopes and stamps ... (anyone else have one of them?) I'm sure the novelty will wear off long before the finance office have sorted out their back log of work and take the job back from the secretaries' office.

  • I've learnt that six weeks at home, with no holiday in the middle of it, plus the start of the Great British Bake Off, results in many new cake recipes being tried which in turn results in all my work trousers having 'shrunk' since I last wore them. 
Sorry to be late to the party this week - now off to play catch up and see what everyone else has been learning!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Memorandum Bank Holiday Monday

Short but sweet this week
Guess who became a grandmother this morning?
Linking in with Sian's Memorandum Monday

Monday, 22 August 2016

Memorandum Monday

Giving up a big wave to Sian and the rest of the Mondayers!

It's been a big weekend over here, it's Rachel's 30th on Wednesday and so we had an early family celebration (her due date and my due date 30 years ago are identical and I'm just assuming that Bingle will arrive early too and I didn't want her birthday celebrations to be overshadowed by anyone else's birthday or to have to take place in the labour ward)

Talk naturally turned to how I felt/looked at this point and I went through the family photo albums and found a photo of me taken on almost exactly the same day 30 years ago, sitting in the lounge at an open window in a rocking chair - which was my son's cue to go outside with the camera and take a photo within a photo, recreating the pose.

So what have a I learnt this week to share with Sian's Memorandum Monday project?
Turns out I am quite the sporting expert after all
Oh yes, that girl who was the last one dawdling out the changing rooms at the beginning of PE lessons yet the first one back at the end, the one who was the fastest in and out of the communal showers and managed the whole manoeuvre with barely a drop of water on their skin, the one whose least favourite subject at school was the dreaded games lesson - has, over the course of the last two weeks, become almost an Olympic judge.
When I discovered that the Olympics was taking over the TV for the whole two weeks, I was not impressed but over the course of time I've found it far more interesting that I imagined.  Not all sports, but the ones I enjoyed, I really enjoyed.  There were thrills (Ladies hockey, who knew it could be so exciting?) spills (Mo Farah falling over and still getting up to win the race) and heartbreak (Tom Daley, how could it go so wrong in the semi finals and that poor guy who lost the gold medal in the last half a second of the Taiquando). 
I realised that I was probably overestimating my knowledge when my husband gave me a quizzical look as I passed comment during the diving on the sharp entry into the water after a 4 turned half pike with a twist.  Baring in mind that I only learnt to swim when I was 30, don't like being out of my depth and am a founder member of the 'heads up' brigade (those of us who don't like water on our face or wet hair while swimming) I am hardly qualified to criticise.  
And despite the fact that the Lee Valley White Water Park where our canoeists trained (I became quite a good judge of their slalom too) is less than 20 miles away, I don't think there is any chance that I am likely to suggest we spend a day on the training course any time soon. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Memorandum Monday

As I know that Sian is safely out of the country, I'm going with something pretty controversial this week for Memorandum Monday.
Are you a stamper or a saviour?

This is an interesting take on something I learnt this weekend which was

(look away now, those of you with a nervous disposition ...)

Spiders have the ability to grow back their legs if they get injured.

Oh yes.  You read that correctly.  They can grow back body parts.   And how did I learn this?  Well.  Our house seems to have dozens of those spindly legged, skinny spiders in it at the moment.  Perfectly harmless, but make lots of webs everywhere which makes it look as if I don't dust very often.  {ahem}  I have no issue with these, I mean, I'm not keen to adopt them as pets and I certainly don't let them stay in the house once I've found them, but I can quite happily easily grab a duster, pick them up and throw them out of the window.

But one evening I was sitting in bed reading my book while P was downstairs locking up the house (this has to be his job because if I do it, the minute I get into bed my mind immediately doubts that I have indeed locked the back door/closed the windows in the lounge/checked the oven is turned off) when out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement.  A scuttle of something black, appearing from the door of our en suite.  It was a pretty impressive size, had a large plump body, definitely had 8 legs and looked at me with a cocky 'catch me if you can' glance. 

Now, I don't like spiders.  I know the ones we get in this country don't do you any harm so I would certainly never kill one intentionally.  My default reaction to seeing a 'proper' spider is to grab a glass, sneak up on the unwelcome critter, turn the glass upside down and cover it so it is held captive until the cavalry arrive to eject it safely from the house.  P has no qualms about picking up spiders of any size, just cups his hand over it and picks it up while I stand by an open window or door screaming 'quick, quick, close the window/door before it has the chance to run back in.' 

By now the big, black, hairy spider has run the length of the bedroom and taken sanctuary in a corner - I am screaming for back up as the only glass in the room is woefully inadequate to cover this monster.  P appears with the resigned look of someone who has been called on to get rid of a large spider before only to find it is about the size of a 10p piece, but when he sees it, even he admits that it's larger than your average spider.  The spider, looking at P and knowing he has met his match, makes a bid for freedom, back across the bedroom towards the en suite.  (The window of which has now been opened in readiness for the ejection of the spider) I'm now standing on the bed and the dog has appeared wondering what the commotion is and perhaps she can help.  P makes a grab for the spider, grips it between his thumb and forefinger at which point the spider makes a final bid for freedom and leaves P holding just 2 legs!  Not one to be beaten by a 6 legged creature, (which has now slowed down considerably) P makes another grab, catches it and throws it out the window. At which point I bemoan the fact that the poor little thing  (yes, once it is safely out the house I can feel sorry for it) only has 6 legs and won't last long in the big, bad outside world when P says

 'don't worry, it'll just grown some new ones' 
A quick internet search confirmed it. Spiders can grown back legs that they lose.  Who knew?

Oh by the way, you know that story about the average person accidentally eating up to 4 spiders in their lifetime while they are asleep?  Just a myth apparently.  However, I'm still not knowingly going to share my bedroom with one - just in case!

 So there you go.  In this house we would never stamp on a spider, we're definitely saviours.  Which are you?  Stamper or Saviour? 

Monday, 8 August 2016

Memorandum Monday

It wasn't hard to find something new that I hadn't done before this weekend.  My God-daughter got married and it was the first time that I had ...

... been to a wedding reception in a Tipi!

It was such a lovely venue, and gave a real 'festival' feel to the afternoon.  After the meal people were just sitting outside enjoying the sunshine, playing giant Jenga, croquet, trying their luck at a coconut shy or just chatting with a glass of something chilled.  The bridal car was a little out of the ordinary too

So was the catering - absolutely delicious pies.  It may sound unusual but it went down a treat!  (I can personally vouch for the chicken, ham hock, leek and cheddar)

The bride's brother is co-owner of a local handmade ice cream company so you can guess what dessert was!  I was especially happy to see their stand as it meant I was able to find a better photo of a bike for Rinda's Scavenger Hunt :-)

It was a really lovely day, the setting and the atmosphere was just perfect - not to mention the weather. 'Happy is the bride that the sun shines on'!

Joining in with Sian's Memorandum Monday theme.

{For those who sent kind wishes last week - baby update - 36 weeks now and no hospital dashes last week.  Phew!}