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May 2006
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July 2006

Heaven would seem to be

Home made ice cream.

Lemon Spoom (fluffy lemon ice cream, basically). First go - recipe could do with a bit less sugar to make it sourer, or perhaps it would taste better as Lime Spoom?

Mint ice cream, made with - get this - full fat lardo creme fraiche. First go - too much sugar, not enough mint.

Tomorrow if the egg yolks are in any way usable, I may make my first proper "custard" ice cream, which is butterscotch, with 4 egg yolks and a pint and a half of milk (so slightly less FATSO than for example, the mint ice cream or indeed, even the Spoom.

Now my bedroom awaits for sleeping purposes, if my child doesn't keep me awake with his snuffling tactics. Oh, only until about 3, obviously. Then it's feed, and broken sleep until 5.40, when he will try to wake and I will have to bring him to bed and crook him in my left arm before dozing until 7. somehow, I don't think I'll be able to manage that as a night's sleep when I go back to work.

My mother is most perturbed that James still has a night feed at his ripe old age of (since it's past midnight) 3 months - happy birthday, James! I meanwhile have learned to remain philosophical. Perhaps he'll last through till 2 then no more feeds, or perhaps he'll wake up some time around 12-ish, then to the 3-3.30 job. Who can tell? It's more than likely the second option atm, given that he lost weight and is trying to gain it back. Plus also he's just a hungry wee bugger. You wait until you've bedded in on solids mate. Then it's cool boiled water for you at 3.30 am! (I am a cruel Mother).



On tasting the frozen versions: holy moley, Lemon Spoom is... astonishingly delicious, if a little ice crystally. So good you can barely believe you made it yourself. Mint ice cream is - wild, it really tastes like mint ice cream but the creme fraiche is just too much. It leaves a thick film on the roof of the mouth. I think I need to either become confident enough to mess about with the original recipe (maybe greek yoghurt would be good - for a fresh tasting, tart kind of thing?) or a completely different one). I only had time to make the Butterscotch custard tonight, will do the ice cream tomorrow - the custard though is just amazing. Muscovado sugar, ponce that I am! But it's a gorgeous colour as a result and has an absolutely delicious, toasty flavour. The custard's a bit thin though if you ask me. although i stirred it over boiling water for nearly an hour.

So that's what it feels like be standing in the middle of the road, on a crossing, with your son in a travel system buggy, when a car comes screeching arround the corner and aims right for you.

The answer is, before you ask the question, I froze for what must have been a microsecond, before lunging for the pavement as if it were the prromised land.

What happened next was in turn weird, irresponsible and astonishing. The car careened around the front of a bus at breakneck speed, and actually stopped at the crossing, swiftly followed by another car screeching around the corner, doing exactly the same thing. I was out of my mind with fear and yelled hoarsely at the moron in the first car, who was winding his window down "Are you a LUNATIC? What the HELL are you DOING?" I wasn't even angry, and I barely knew what words were going to come out of my mouth. The guy looked straight through me for a second, before returning his smirking gaze to his mate in the other car. They were having a fucking road race, along the Streatham High Road.

I walked down my road in dumb, shocked amazement, and about twenty yards in, started to shake.

James fine now btw.

Apart from trying to make up for a few days on no eating by destroying every sense of timing to do with his feeding and/or sleeping. Oh yes. The old 45 minute sleep cycles have really kicked in now. Whereas only a week ago, he would wake bang on the hour, having been trained to do so by a daily 9-10 and 4-5, suddenly we're looking at 9.45, 12.45 etc and a seriously tired child trying to get through the day and often falling to sleep on me whilst feeding.

It is times like this when you do feel far more relaxed and comfortable, knowing that "It'll all come out in the wash". As long as you don't pander to it, and maintain some semblence of a schedule, as he gets older, everything will slip in to place. Getting older at this age of course is signalled by new changes every day so there won't be long to go before he's eating solids, sleeping for two nice naps during the day, sitting up and good god, crawling well before he end of the year.

He laughs his head off if you repeatedly put his delicate, deliciously cool toes to your hot cheeks and make cosy noises. That or ticking your tongue out rhythmically at him. Or just about anything, really, as long as it involves niceness.

Party girl

Nora had her first birthday party invitation over the weekend. Yes, we are hermits, in case you are wondering.

Her friend at nursery was three, and Nora was the youngest there at 2 1/2, and my lordy, did it show. She spent a lot of time on her own,quite happy, but the other children, who have reached the stage of healthily wanting to play with each other seemed like a cohesive unit, whilst Nora - lovely, beautiful girl, seemed to echo my own feelings of social isolation by steadfastly not becoming assimilated.

Apparently, after I'd left to go home with James, she overcame her fear of the Bouncy castle and spent a good half hour screaming her head off with excitement and laughter whilst boinging about.

She wore a truly stunning Korean dress bought by my friend Deb when she was very young. It is dark blue with embroidery, and made her, with her pale, sunblocked skin, look far more delicate than she actually is, and she also discovered the delights of salt and MSG, eating Hula Hoops from her fingers, laughing.

She is my girl, and every moment she makes me proud.

In the last couple of weeks, her sentence construction and way of talking has significantly changed. She will now stand and spend the time explaining long concepts, whilst nodding to you and screwing her eyes (and a tweaky bit at the top of her nose) up slightly - the effect is one that makes you think she also has her head cocked to one side, and nodding through the discussion. Aaaaand she's learnied to drop her "t's" at nursery, which makes you listen to the way you speak yourself and astonishingly, I sound almost bloody cockney at times. Ayeee. Elocution lessons for all concerned!

Chilean mines and email news dissemination

I received one of those "Please sign the bottom of this email" blurbs today from a well meaning oldster who I wouldn't dream of criticising about it, referring to a proposed Chilean open cast mine project, which the email made sound so astonishingly evil, it couldn't possibly be true.

So I Googled (are you still supposed to use a capital? Akin to when you mention Him?) and found that no, it is in fact true, and it is as evil as it looked in the email. Searching for "Pascua Lama" one of the first links that comes up is from the Canadian site, "Mining Watch": Barrick Gold faces determined opposition at Pascua Lama and Veladero. To cut to the chase: Big Canadian ore mining company backed by wealthy Americans plan on breaking up two massive, ecologically and socially important glaciers in order to get to the gold underneath. You just have to stop and think, really - is this the kind of bullshit we need right now? The damned things'll probably melt on their own within a generation anyway.

So, more links. This one refers to an email campaign which ended in January 2005 with its origins in the locality. "Mines and Communities" looks like a really good, campaigning site. The previous campaign within Chili had met with violent Police opposition, apparently.
Second link from 10th Jan this year on Mining and Communities reveals that the presidential election had had a beneficial effect on the campaign, stating: "both presidential candidates now vying for office say their new, incoming           government will not support the gold mine".

Ok. So that was January, and the elections were only days after this was released. What happened next? Aha. <a href="">Wikipedia (of course) links to an excellent article published June 5th which suggests that the lure of all the gold has been too much for the new President, unsurprisingly. Hilariously, Michelle Bachelet has "stated that she will not allow the glaciers to be destroyed", despite allowing an (amended) version of the plan to move forward. Er... and how exactly do you propose to do that - fill in the empty spaces with concrete before the whole thing collapses?

It also links to the Snopes urban legend page about it, quoting Barrick having employed a large amount of open handed "Hey, we're nice guys, honest!" largess in the hope that it makes them look nicer than the blood sucking vultures that they undoubtedly are.

I wonder how much of the many billions of dollars raised will get plowed back in to the local communities which appear to risk poisoning or worse? It's a classic liberal and/or environmental thing to kneejerk a negative response to something like this without knowing the facts but looking at the very informative (and informed) article by
Gustavo Gonz├ílez  I'd say this one is one of a long line of crap environmental decisions for short term economic gains - thus unavoidable since they are approved by politicians who need to be relected, and therefore need to raise cash to pay for public services by any means other than tax.


...and I'm wishing that my hoarsely breathing son would give up looking at everything and finally go back to sleep to help the steriod enhanced goo he'd been given by the staff nurse in the St George's A&E do its work: reduce the swelling in his throat, and stopping the sore-throat-virus bi-product. Croup.

Since the birth of my kids, I have had many occasions to silently thank the Gods of Thing that I have a Mother who is almost freakily practical, straightforward and who prides herself with the brimming confidence with which she knows the answer to any worrying conundrum (this unfortunately has rubbed off on me, and I can be a real know-it-all at times, which I usually only realise afterwards, much to my shame). Not only did I not panic, but I knew exactly what to do, thanks to conversations on the nature of Croup with the aforementioned parent, despite Nora having never had it.  When Mackay came down in to the kitchen holding James, who was wheezing, braying like a donkey and frightened silly, unable to actually cry in much more than a wimper, my first thought was to whack the shower on in the tiny shower room & loo downstairs, close the door and let the room fill up with steam as fast as possible.

And phone an ambulance.

Luckily, no blue lips and no searing panic, just a very scared, sick little baby. They said well done on the shower thing. It helped.

He's just woken up and is crying again (this is the night after, btw). He's really not well. Got to go.

By the way, I wanted to apologise for what must have come across as a crass post, yesterday, Y&B - it was meant to sound ironic (of course I bloody worry - he's actually lost weight this week. Not good.)

Heat, sweat and more heat

Means not only has James lost his appetite, but he can barely stand feeding when he has one.

Poor love. Thank God this is no.2 baby, or else I'd be panicking about weight loss, etc.

Nora's very obstreperous or miserable too, unless she's standing in the middle of the municipal paddling pool.



It was cold, and we went to the farm
-What, darling? When did we go?
I slept in a cot, and Elaine* took things out from the pig's house

...hold on...

-Are you talking about a dream you had?
Yes. It was cold and there were animals!

That's the first time she's ever proffered the contents of a dream. Funny, and brilliant. Let's cross fingers there are no nightmares.

*Elaine works at the nursery. Top lady.


My god, it's hot. James is extremely good at signalling when feeding becomes unbearable (approximately 5 minutes in; sweat sliding over the side of his head and my forearm - the only parts of his body I have managed for wangle where we are actually touching).

At present, he's asleep in his cot which, although it has net sides, still holds him in a little bit too much material, a little too closely - accompanied by a massive, 1940's style chrome fan blasting wind around the bedroom, running on side-to-side motion.

So he's warm, but not hot. I'm really not happy with him being swaddled in this weather <i>at all</i>. Difficulties are... well. the difficulty is not so much the "He'll beat himself up with his flayling arms and wake up every ten minutes" because that only lasts a few days, we'll jut have to grit our teeth and bear it when we stop swaddling him. It's more that it's so hot, there's nothing I can really do to protect his face from his fingernails. A company called, naturally enough, <a href="">Eczema Clothing</a> do very good sleep suits with integrated gloves and the like, but good god - put him in something like that, on a night like tonight?  It really worries me that we're facing a whole hot summer ahead, while he's at his most sleep-difficult and vulnerable.

So God only knows what we're going to do. I'm guessing I'll end up sewing some sort of mittens together that I can button up tight round his wrists so he can't possibbly get them off or... pfffttt. Something.

Meanwhile, a trip to Argos online to see if the Streatham branch has any air coolers in stock. we may be able to spend our way out of trouble, you never know.

The worst of all possible worlds

A brain-sludging, stinking cold plus hayfever!


Was sitting trying to feed James with watery stuff pouring out of my nose, one eyelid swollen so much the eylashes are bashing my glasses, coughing (the cold) and sneezing (the hayfever, er, and the cold). And guess what - I can't take any antihystamines! Well. I have cheated slightly. A pharamacist said to me last time i was breastfeeding in the summer, "well you could try the nasal spray". I have stolen it from Mackay.

Meanwhile poor Nora's caught my cold, we think. She's coughing away like a gooden. Great for her asthma <sigh>.

Welcome to the allergy family.