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November 2006
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January 2007


You know what?

We shot no video.

We took no photographs.

Christmas this year was absolutely bloody marvellous.

Nora's first proper "Father Christmas" Christmas meant that she was filled with slightly confused awe at the stocking at the end of her bed, filled with all manner of funny musical instruments (a swanee whistle; a really crap kazoo, a rain maker.. etc); little rubbery animals that stick their tongues out if you sqeeze them and a really superb duck call.

All of which nearly overshadowed her obvious elation at the mini scooter, complete with two solid, stabilising wheels on the front.

Sad to say the poor love got "slightly grown out of it" croup at 11pm, and so her desire to go out for a walk with the scooter on the common has been reduced to a quick 5 minutes in the back garden whilst she gets over the first few days of a right stinker of a cold.

Meanwhile, at last, I was given, by my beloved husband, the entire output of the "Laurel and Hardy" Hal Roach studios films. There are a few missing - ie: the ones where they were loaned out to other studios (the real shame of it is "Fra Diavolo", which is a bizarre thing based on a minor Italian opera, but which features 'The Boys' doing some real gems of scenes - the drunk scene is fantastic; also missing are things like Atoll K - altough I can live without the mournful sight of the boys struggling with old age) but I am oh! So looking forward to very, very gently introducing nora to them (I'm wondering whether to show her "Brats" first or something). Just as McK has her brainwashed in to  wantin to go in to space at the age of 3, I am determined that she will carry on the Hurley tradition of loving the greatest screen comic duo of all time - to the point where they feel like family.

I know, i know... you don't have to tell me that in another three years their entire oevre plus every piece of film ever printed with them on it will be available to view any time but... I can't explain it. I just needed that set. Something about having them solidly, in your hand. Available not as an on demand download, but as a sacred object.

Oh and in other news, James is trying to stand up on his own. He passed nine months yesterday! If he isn't walking pretty soon I'll be amazed.

John news - more scans on Thursday; decisions nest Tuesday.

I have become adept

At making perfect white/cheese sauce.

That's the positive  outcome  fom the making of babyfood.

The secret is of course, to use hot milk.

The other revelation is gthat we now only need to mash. No more blending. This is simultaneously a massive relief and yet slightly poignant or even melancholy.

Here is the news

Ah so flippant. what she's witing must be wry, or irony laden. Surely.

My father has indeed got cancer. He had a bronchoscopy, a procedure which apparently is horrendously painful. It seems to have had a camera involved given that the cancer specialist immediately saw the very small lump an, according to John saidd: "Well, it's there but I can tell you now that it won't kill you".  Presumably since they've caught it so early.

If it were me I'd want to go in the next day and have it ripped out of my body faster than I could really begin to take in that it was there in the first place. John has been given the impression that he won't even need surgery. Well, we'll see.

There's going to be rather a lot of "We'll see" around these parts for a while.

Hey look, guys. I'm fine. If you're going to expend any energy wending kind thoughts in my direction (for which I thank you, obviously) then wend them to my dad, not me. He's called John - tall Irish bloke. Bearded; wears a hat - you can't miss him.

I will do everything. Anything I can. Obviously.

I've got a bike

I can ride it when I like.

Yes. Shameful though it was, I destroyed my last, lovely old perfectly good bike by leaving it unprotected against the elements in the garden whilst I had kids, got knackered and resolutely did not cycle to work. the route to work was far too easy - a Thameslink train stop 6 minutes from my house, straight to Farringdon, with the office 5 minutes from the station.

You see my point.

Now I'm at Paddington, that hive of cultural hipness (not) and the journey takes in 3 transport changes and can take up to an hour and a half. Hmmmmmm. Time to get organised with the bike. (Plus the overspending we're doing on a monthly basis. that kind of acts as an incentive). So, viewers and readers, I can state to you that I did cycle to work and back twice last week, and will probably do it every day next week since I'm only working until Wednesday.

Surprisingly, it didn't screw up my back any more than it is already, plus it turned out that my legs are a hell of alot stronger than I thought - I didn't get wobbly legs going up and down stairs, even after the first ten mile hike.  Going back home has proved more difficult because it's uphill, I'm guessing, but the biggest problem is actually the amount of time it takes me to get changed in to my cycling gear before leaving the office. No doubt I'll slim that down over time. And hopefully *I* will slim down over time. I refuse resolutely to go on stupid diets given that I have a perfectly decent diet to begin with. My biggest problem is sitting down behind a desk all day. Cycling 20 miles a day should sort me out. It should make my whole body stronger too: not just physically but being able to fight off illnesses better, that sort of thing.

It's amusing just how bloody awful I am. I used to take on the boy racers, and now I can't even remember the right turnoff so I don't get lost in between Westminster and Victoria. Put it this way - I make alot of use of my gears, where in my previous life I'd whack it in to high and cruise along at speeds faster than I seriously should have been going with superstrong legs pulsingenergy down in to the pedals effortlessly. Ah, those were the days. I rememember being able to cut off the circulation in the hand of my ex, by thigh muscles alone!

Well... to be honest I don't want to take on the boy racers anymore (although the new/second hand bike's a really lovely ride. i'm sure I'll be able to at some point) what with two small and one large humans at home waiting for me, with broad lovely smiles. I think I'd rather concentrate on getting home in one piece.

Updates will come. hopefully not in the form of insane roadrage swearing at the dumbness of pedestrians and the killer instincts of all male drivers.

A little Leslie extra

Leslie was really funny, in a charming way. Snarky, and critical where necessary but with a lightness of style in her writing that made her instantly endearing. She, in common with many people who live their lives online, wrote about the things that concerned her, like death, being ill, and what it means to be alive... those pieces are all there to be discovered on her website. They're a bit too... much. Right now. For me.

But I was just reminding myself of her Vox entries (I have entirely failed with Vox beyond a basic twiddle) and she, typically, wrote something funny, literate and aposite only a few days ago, it seems:

"Autobiography titles"

  • Autiobiography of Well Meaning Autodidact.
  • Autodidactics, Automobiles, Autonomy and Personal Autarky: An Autobio
  • Table for two, Kingdom of one: My Life as an Autocrat.
  • Autonym: They named me Leslie, but you may call me Peaches.
  • The Little Engine that Could, but Just Didn't Feel Like It: Confessions of an Underachiever.
  • Am I Still Smiling? My Life as a hard working Optimist.
  • I Lied, It Sucked, (the truth about Leslie)
  • 29 Great Years and Then Some other Stuff.
  • Peaked in High School: A memoir
  • Most Hated: A failed attempt at becoming notorious.
  • Don't Stop Loving Me!
  • Moisturizer, Music and Medication: Unnatural Living with Leslie
  • My Autobiography: The Great American Pamphlet

I always remember a daft thing which also struck me as being very Leslie. I was asleep on her bed either recovering from the flight or recovering from hospital, and she was twiddling away on her computer. She called her Mom who obviously asked "What have you been up to?". Leslie said, in a light and airy voice "Oh stuff. (slight pause, then as if remembering something excellent and lovely) Oh! and er, Items!" I remember it often when saying the slightly less interesting answers to the same question.

If Leslie was here, she'd say to me ok. You've had a cry and that's good. She'd listen nicely and then kick me up the arse to get me back on track. Over the phone, obviously.

So. Please note, world:

No more dying please. Not round here. No more bad news. Ok?  I am also going to not post about sad things from people I don't actually know that were in the news any more. Enough with the bringing myself down. Optimism. Optimism.

Nice, lovely posts next - ones that should have come at the weekend.

Meanwhile, I have to do some work, so they'll come, but later.


I'm writing this here because I'm not with any of my friends right now. I'm not going to post it for a while because it feels wrong to while the terrible news is splintering across the atlantic.

Leslie took me to hospital when I became sick, hours after landing in SF, when I was crashing at her house for some conference or other. I had mild panic but we both knew what was wrong, so she talked frivolously about any old nonsense in the cab, and sat with me on the best day in the Bay all year thus far until I had my prescription. She went out to Walgreen to get the drugs, and came back with a little basket of silly but lovely things as well. Nora's now got the pink rabbit. She was supposed to be going to a party that night, but instead she stayed with me, and we watched Ghostworld from her Tivo (I'd never seen an actual, live Tivo before).

Leslie had time for everyone. She was funny, kind and generous in every area of her life. She was wise, loved her family and never let things get on top of her, despite the provocations life threw in her path. With regard to them, she had the heart of a lion, and shoulders stronger than anyone I know. She never complained. Never.

If there's one way of remembering our lovely, lovely friend it's to try to be half as good a person as she was.

Leslie Harpold has died and it should not have happened. 

A chink of light

So they did an x ray on my dad's chest. He has smoked heavy strength cigarettes for... well. I'm assuming since he was a teenager.

We were sick with worry. When i say sick, I mean nauseous.

He got called in to the docs today after 5pm, aand they told him that yes, there is a shadow on his lung, but it doesn't look solid enough to be a tumour. it's more likely to be a chronic infection. They're sending him for scans anyway, and they've whacked him on super strength Amoxycillin so we'll know for sure, hopefully, in about a week.

It's been a hellish week of waiting, I can tell you. i suppose it's officially not over yet, mind you. But it feels like it. I hope i'm not speaking too soon.

Meanwhile, it's London Zoo tomorrow, as Nora's birthday treat! I have to go recharge my cruddy "old" (ie: My God, it's so ancient, I bought my early adopter camera in like 1999! 3.1 MP and it still works, takes perfectly good pics etc but maaaan! it sucks! I wish it would break or summit*) camera given that I haven't taken a photo in about 2 months, and in this day and age of Flickr-blogging, you know just what sort of social paraiah that makes me.

*ie: i am constantly surrounded by gadget freaks, and I feel, in a similar way to those awful ads where you're supposed to feel ashamed of your mobile (consume more please, immediately!) almost embarrassed by how weeny pixel wise my camera is. However, because it still works and is, let's face it, perfectly adequate for snapshot needs, I can't ethically go out and spent stupid money we can't afford on a new one.

So instead i'm getting a 3.1 MP camera phone from work, for free! Yippee!

Yippee yippee yippee!

Something good has happened. Halleluyah for that. Yippee.

Happy birthday to Fiona!
Happy birthday to Paula!
...and happy birthday to Bill, who is 2 today!

More sad news

I'm afraid.

I was probably only 2 degrees of separation from James Kim, who was found dead after he left the vehicle where he and his family were stranded in freezing snow to go and find help.

I heard about it through my internet friend Rachel, who lives in the same sort of area as the Kims, and shared several friends with them, but again, she didn't know them personally. She mentioned it on her blog - I Googled the American news and found the whole story.

Terrible news. What a brave man - and what a choice he saw. To stay with his family, or take a chance. Anyway.

It feels so difficult to say, but even so, thank goodness that his children and wife are ok.

Another not so subtle reminder

We are completely and utterly brassick at present. Until the kids start school, nursery fees are destroying us.

Meanwhile however, poverty on a global scale has a slightly different emphasis than whether or not we can afford to buy organic food anymore.

A 3 year old boy was eaten alive by pigs, in India, last week.

I can't dismiss this child's life to the level of being a "reminder". But I can't memorialise his beloved life without sounding like a wanker.


Nora made them with a little help from mummy

Nora made them with a little help from mummy
Originally uploaded by Mackay.

Uhuh, I think you'll find that Mummy did all the squiggly icing sugar, I'll have you know! 

I didn't have golden syrup for the recipe so used honey. they taste great but they spread out like little spreado biscuits.

Oh and they needed 2 heaped tspns of ginger, not flat ones. If not more than that, in fact.

Not too terrible for a first go at yer actual "baking", eh?