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August 2006
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October 2006


I wish I had some profound revelations to reveal after looking at Leonardo De Vinci's notebooks (that's how he spelt it, apparently). I have new incites in to the man. It's difficult not too when you're two inches away from someone's notebooks, where he scribbled down his ideas as he had them. Half ideas, musings... what ifs. In chalk, then inked in with the clear thin lines of an extraordinary artist. Incredible that you're looking at the kind of work that brings someone's energy there in to the room - yet he did the work in the 15th Century.

Because you can feel the man's energy, and because so many of his ideas are vibrantly energetic, it seems barely credible that he lived over 600 years ago. You get the feeling he would love being around right now. The astounding achievements in engineering and beautiful possibilities in architecture... I wonder what he would have made of those exhibitions with plasticised human bodies? I think he would not only have been fascinated, but he would have wanted to be involved at some point in the process.

He did a lot of his notes on the papers in mirror writing, which when you're looking at it, seems totally bizarre. Almost teenage!

I also visited Paul's chocolates shop for the first time today. Predictably knockout. In the realms of "I feel faint, that was so delicious". I daren't go again for a long time. Oh God. I wish I didn't love chocolate. I mean good chocolate. Paul was selling (a well as his incredible fresh chocolates) various single estate Valrhona bars, which I would have liked to buy but needs must. so I just bought their organic dark. I can't tell you the estate off hand. Their organic milk is absolutely extraordinary. It makes you realise... that is what milk chocolate is suposed to taste like! Creamy smooth and luscious - all words attributed by their companies to brands such as "Galaxy", when in fact, "stodgy, sludgy, sugary, bland rubbish" would be more appropriate. It is in fact, the very same Platonic milk chocolate bar. now it has been attained, everyone else hould give up.

Pretty good if tiring day, all round.


I didn't write about James starting nursery, partly because of tiredness, but mostly through forgetfulness, as a result of tiredness. Of course!

He's too young. He's much younger... well. He's younger than Nora was at his age. I say that, you know and I'm now unsure of myself. he can't sit up on his own and shows absolutely no inclination to do so. He can sit up in his highchair with the benefit of anenormous amount of strapping (or hands!). He can't be bothered with all this standing up nonsense (Nora, if you held her hands, would strive to stand on your tummy, more or less from day 2) but bloody hell, he wants to crawl. He is desperate to move, but lacks the strength in his upper body to hold up his weight and so instead, he pushes his legs and pushes his face along the bed until he reaches the headboard, where he rolls about, heedless to the danger of falling, making frustrated grinding noises.

.. it feels too soon, but then it was always going to. He's going for two days, and he'll stay at that level for a year and a half, until he is two. Astonishing to think of such a short time ahead. The nursery is currently slightly screwing with his sleeping, and such like but he has settled in very easily given his easygoing nature. He will adapt as he gets older, and it was not quite as nervewracking as it was with Nor. I still hate it. Hate leaving him. Hate that he's being cared for by strangers who have to also look after other children. He deserves me to be there for him. Ugh. Awful, awful awful.

Still, work in less than a week now - what joy!

Now that His Nibs is 6 months old, after a marathon of cooking last week, as well as McK's astonshingly large amount of liver well, pate, basically, and a chicken and sweet potato stew created over the weekend, young James has got enough food to be going on with. Which means sropping the 11am milk. I found this difficult first time around, and certainly feel it's fucking weird now, with this young food hooverer. However, I shrug slightly - it is part of growing up. eat more food, drink slightly less milk.

Having said all that, I must now organise milk for tomorrow given that Jiminy Cricket, Daddy and Nora are having a practice day ready for their first proper day together at home without me there next Tuesday.

My children are growing

James is growing almost by the hour, and quite how he's not growing width-wise is beyond me. He drinks up all his milk, plus the extra small bottle straight after tea ( to help him sleep), plus he's eating nearly twice the recommended amount for 6 month old kiddiewinks. And yet sometimes that is still, apparently, not enough.

He's such a lovely little kid. All beautiful smiles and now a selection of excellent consonant type noises. A ba a ba a ba!

Nora is now creating pretends about anything from going to the Doctors, to the shops. Today, in the company of our lovely friends Nora reminded me many, many times of me at a young age, being very businesslike about her imaginings. Explaining them in great detail when appropriate and demanding participation at the correct level.

Yesterday, I went through a couple of new Oxford Learning Tree books I picked up with much simpler stories in than the "Read at home" ones. They are very squarely and firmly based around a short number of words to learn, with positive repetition of phrases and so on. After about 20 minutes, she could read 90% of the books to me. Imagining being that young - to have a brain with that much learning capacity and more importantly, oh Nora my love you make me so happy for you - the desire to ask questions and to use the bloody thing.

Today, I held James up in the air and he looked down at me, laughing and dribbling on to my glasses. The sun was beaming down on the garden, Nora was organising her conkers and we'd all had a nice lunch. It felt like a good day.

Good and bad

Good: Although the dearly beloved woke in huffs at various points last night, the official milk wake up came at 6, which wasn't too bad.

Good: McK and I had promised ourselves two delicious restaurant meals before I go back to work, and thus we poddled off on the bus (surely what they would want of all their customers) to Chez Bruce, commonly known as the best restaurant in South London, a mere hop skip and a jump away from the 319 bus stop (and a rather good bookshop with loads of good kids books - erk, another £20 spent). The food was amazing. well, the starter was really incredible. Salmon, presented slices thinly in a smoked salmon style, but raw, with mashed avocado in two leaf shaped portions, and small delicious snips of onion, tomato etc, plus prawn tempura, with just the right amount of lemon juiec and something a lot softer and sweeter but still citrussy. Oh and toasted pine nuts. Wow. Main was baked cod which was great, and cooked fantastically, but lacked the dumbfoundingly delicious factor of the first. Mango sorbet for dessert was, you know.. a really good home made mango sorbet. Shrug. It was all good though. Next week, St Johns.

Bad. Both kids have got colds. Oh God.

Bad. I go back to work in TWO WEEKS ARRRGH.

Bad and / or good dependent on where he's at. Get even better than you are now, love. xxx

Good. Read "The Wonder Spot", Melissa Bank's second novel at last. Very easy read if slightly unnerving in the "She's a little too much like me in places" territory. Unfortunately labelled as "Chicklit", this woman simply writes extremely well about the everydayness and beauty in the mundanity of life. I think she's recognised as a good writer in the US. She is. Although as McK asked: "Does it have clothes in it?" The first page had shoes, I think. He looked at me straight and said "I won't like it".

Bad. Yeeeeuch. Monkey (black, long haired cat) has an absess above his eye. He got in to some sort of dreadful fight with one of the gits from down the road, and I noticed a very nasty scratch above his eye. It start to swell and distort his eyeball, and I realised we had some antibiotics left over from when they got their teeth cleaned. Unfortunately, i got to him too late, becuse he stayed out all night. I forced some down his throat this morning, whilst trying to ignore the revolting smell and the green puss smeared over one side of his forehead. Well, I did warn you with the "Yeuchhh" did I not? More importantly, I've discovered that you can buy cat antibiotics without being a vet over the net for £15 for 50 tabs! That's enough for 5 infections! they have a relatively quick sell by date, so I think I'll buy 50 and split them with some cat owning friends. When you think of how much vets charge for that shit, it's outrageous! In the interests of free distribution of information, here's the link to el cheapo cat medicine. Good for dental infections, abcesses and generally ugly horrors. What, you're going to tell me I really should go to the vet? I would, except all they'd do is give me the same antibiotics and charge me £75 for a consultation and 10 of the little buggers.

Bad. Shattered as usual. Going to bed now. Hopefully I'll get the odd bit of sleep in amongst the wakings up with bunged up noses and coughing up of guts.

Heart the interweb

I have a medical condition called a "Cystic Hygroma", otherwise known as a Lymphagioma. to put it crudely: the lymph glands in the neck and / or under arms go a bit mental in the womb, and grow like there's no tomorrow. Except mine didn't start kicking off until I was 10. Which is a blessing frankly since many, many kids who have lymphagiomas in the womb either die or are aborted. Which is a sobering thought.

So. I often can't remember how many operations I've had on the damned thing. If I count the one I had to have because the tits left a sutre (a piece of stitches plastic) in the scar, then I think it's 9. Although I might be exaggerating. they all seem to blur in to one another in the end. One of the reasons why operations have to be done (and fairly fast too) is that hygromas become infected, and that is totally debilitating. Massive temperatures; the usually liquidy, floppy structure goes rock hard (and bright bloody red / red hot, as I recall)... they were fucking awful. Occasionally, even though the cyst is now weeny as opposed to circus-freak-like (I do not jest) I get the odd infection, which is rare, and it usually clears up by itself. But it does freak me out somewhat. believe me, if my cyst grew back to anything like the extent it had done in my teens, I think we'd be talking about serious need of psychiatric help to get me through the experience. Again, I am not joking. It is an abysmal bloody thing. Not life threatening (once past early childhood) just life crippling. I don't want to go on about it but as a kid, I'd walk down the street with my fists constantly clenched, knowing that *every single person* who walked past looked and looked away in some sort of revolted sympathy or disgust. Wierdly, now I only have a vague double chin occasionally and a couple of scars, I don't think anyone really notices anything. Going from that early extreme to the other is peculair but believe me, most welcome. Not a victim, here. Hello!

Ssssssoooooooo. i had an infection  a while ago, went to see a specialist; got the right one eventually and they talked to me about the new generation of sclerosing agent treatment (hygroma people will know all this through researching "OK" therapy over the years). I talked to the guy about it and it all sounded very positive. Did a daft Powerpoint slide explaining what happens and dumped it on Flickr for friends who might be vaguely interested.

Today, a guy whose son has just been diagnosed mailed me and thanked me for the picture.

THANK YOU interweb for letting things like that happen. It's why I still work on this damned thing anyway, innit.