No More Planes

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One of the nicest things about our holiday up the East Coast last year was that it didn’t involve getting on a plane. We just threw our stuff in the back of the car and off we went.

We’ve just made plans for a few days break over Easter and we’ve done the same thing – booked a cottage that is less than a couple of hours drive away.

I am not keen to get on a plane again for a good long while.

I’ve been trying to work out when it stopped being fun because as a child even the prospect of flying was brilliant. Growing up on Harris, I used to lie on my back in the garden looking at the sky. Tiny Loganair planes flew over the house, on their way to adventures in Inverness or even Glasgow. I would imagine the strangers in suits, quietly reading newspapers and sipping drinks that sparkled with ice cubes and slices of lemon. When I visited my Grandpa, down in Staffordshire, I’d lie and watch bigger planes that had taken off from Manchester. I always thought the rows of white jet trails looked like someone had dragged a fork across the sky. Continue reading

The Babysitter

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Welcome to my tourist guide!” DorkySon shouts with glee.

I have just opened the door to a potential new babysitter, who we have asked round to the house for a quick chat.

Let me show you round!” he says, bouncing up and down on his toes with excitement.

First he shows her the den, explaining that it’s where he watches TV and builds toy car traffic jams on the floor. Then he leads her through to the dining room, where he likes to draw, and to the kitchen where he likes to help cook.

What are you allergic to?” he asks. “I’m allergic to peanuts.

I watch his approval-meter rise as she lists her allergies. He likes this common bond.

But then the test starts to get a little trickier. Continue reading

Motherhood and the senses

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A few weeks ago I read Mothers Grimm, a collection of contemporary fairy tales about motherhood written by a wonderful Australian writer called Danielle Wood. There is a line in one of the stories which has stuck with me. A woman has recently given birth and is lying in hospital with her new baby alongside her.

“This night was the beginning of her new way of listening.”

It’s so true, isn’t it? Continue reading

2015: Time to Focus

Christmas Collage

Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful day, and are feeling as full as you should be of cheese, roasted parsnips, tangerines, turkey or whatever the tradition is in your house.

You can see from the photo above that our current traditions are chunky socks, handwritten letters to Santa, ugly but loved tree decorations, stockings, apples and cherries… Oh and crackers, which are sold here as ‘bon bons;’ but will always be crackers to me.

We started with Eggs Benedict, and I surprised myself with some pretty good hollandaise sauce and perfectly poached eggs. (Actually no, we started at 6am with stockings in bed, but I hadn’t had my coffee at that stage, so…) We had roast pork and potatoes, fresh peas and plenty of champagne. This year it was just the three of us, and it was the calmest Christmas Day I can ever remember. Neither DorkySon nor I got out of our pyjamas all day. Continue reading