Sunday, April 19, 2015

Snapshot actually killed Chaos... I'm told. Our son, Hugh has an obsession with Skylanders. It's a computer game that he has only played once - at a friend's house - but he talks about it all the time, rattling on, weighing up the goodies and the baddies in his head. Asking when he can get it. Sixty seven times a day.

When they are babies, they eat, sleep (or not) and dribble and you wait patiently to find out who they are and what their passions will be. I hadn't really expected this one. Well, I hadn't expected him to bake a cake on a few crumbs alone.

Of course there are all these sage warning out there about the addictive nature of these games and I'm an old hippy at heart, wanting them to play on rope swings or with stones/sticks/whatever.

Added to that, Skylanders seems to be some kind of capitalist marketing genius where adults buy the kids a Starter Pack with a few 'free' characters, only to be plagued for the next ten years when the kids want to buy 'another' character, just because their pal did. (I hear rumours of £6? £10?)

And yet, his enthusiasm is somehow touching. Seeing his wee brain tick over, plotting, planning, rehearsing every imagined scenario on the When-I-get-Skylanders spectrum. 

My mum says I am too soft on them, and she is probably right. I am still holding off, King Canute in front of the waves. Is anyone else with me?

Meanwhile, Tess, is happy with her furry monkey. She too makes up scenarios all the time - Monkey didn't have a tutu for her ballet class, so she ate a hole in the middle of a pancake and used that. Well, of course she did.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fairy Impressive

I can honestly say I can't remember anything I made out of Plasticine as a child.  I can safely say that I never made anything as self-possessed and impressive as this wee fairy thrown together on a whim by my 11 year old niece, Maddy. She has lots of other talents that she doesn't seem aware of. That's the beauty of being 11.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Stone Hairdressing in the Modern Age

Friends, you may know I rail against needless consumerism, especially for kids, but the flip side is when my children's pals come for play dates, I have the occasional pang of demi-guilt that the toys in our house may not match the cascade of Argos-y plastic delights in other kids' bedrooms. 

Hence I was glad to see yesterday's improvised game: Stone Hairdressing. Simply pick your favourite stone from the garden, take it up to the bathroom sink, shampoo it, towel dry it (with a facecloth) and blow dry it. Add toy hairspray and brush to finish. Praise its beauty and show it to your mother. Ta daa.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

God Help The Boy

I had a relaxed lunch in the window of Little Italy with Stuart who was just back from his globe-trotting B&S tour.

I asked him if his film, God Help The Girl was playing anywhere and he told me it was playing near his hotel in an Australian city. He couldn't get to sleep thinking that the projectionists might not be playing it loudly enough, so he pulled on his clothes - on top of his pyjamas - and walked down to ask the ticket booth girl if they could screen it at the right volume. She invited him in for a cup of tea, but he declined and went back to his hotel more able to rest. Ah, the old pyjama-under-clothes mission. It sometimes pays off.

On other matters, I am enjoying my new part-time job as a 'fieldworker' with Glasgow Uni's Medical Research Council. It doesn't involve Wellies, but I wouldn't mind if it did. There is still a lot of the island girl in me.

Well, look at the time.  We have barely had a minute to chat and it is school pick-up time already. A bien tot, as we used to say in French.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The jury is out

I love the kind of random waiting-room chat you get in Glasgow. After a week of sitting round the Sheriff Court, as a potential juror, I wasn't picked to be on the actual jury, which was fine by me.
The woman who sat beside me most of the week was warm and friendly. She said:
Oh, here, I'm glad I met you. It's fair put the time in. And, d'you know, you look dead like a women in my work - one of the psychologists. You're the image of her. And she's really high up.
We discussed always being hungry - I had sandwiches in my bag that I started eating at 10.15 am, although we were both thin. She told me that she once bought three Mars bars for a pound and ate them all. I looked surprised. I'm not finished yet! she said, adding that she ate two Double Deckers afterwards.
That's mental, I said, (worrying that I was using un-PC language).
That is mental! she exclaimed, pleased to bond further.
Her dog has it's own Facebook page

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year, Cowboys and Ice Queens.

Well, did the rain not lash itself about today?

In my cabin fever, I suggested to the kids that we try and make a wee film, although I didn't feel particularly confident in my Spielberg aspirations.

Hugh wanted to be a cowboy and make it a cowboy film. What will you be, Tess? I asked. Western barmaids in frilly skirts flashed through my mind, but I didn't want to be gender-limiting. I needn't have worried. Can I be the spikey plant? she replied.

Seconds later, she decided she'd rather be an ice queen from Frozen. Funny that. BAFTA Scotland need not concern itself with the end results.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas 2014

The terrible tragedy in George Square yesterday makes us hold each other more dearly. This is a short poem I wrote about my son's Nativity, a week ago.

Primary Two Nativity  

When my son needs encouraged again
to go to school, I mention the play.
He says he is tired of singing
and tired of dinging 

but when I see the row
of tea-toweled shepherds
holding triangles high
I scan for him, lost without his blonde hair 

and in the micro seconds it takes
to recognise his face (there!)
my throat catches and I am falling again,
comet-like, whooshing with love
and he might as well be Jesus,
born anew to me each day.