Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Every Kind of Mojon

I've been watching episodes of Hair on BBC3 with the kids. It's a TV hair-styling competition, a kind of Bake Off for Bouffants - easy to watch while sitting down after dinner.

Luckily it has given the kids a notion of brushing my hair and Tess gives a running commentary about how she is trying to 'kwee-ate' (create) a style that will have 'pwitty mojon' (pretty motion). 

Motion  pronounced as Mojon is one of my favourite of their multi-use words. They just stick it on to anything. Right now I'm doing blog mojon, but must go off and do pick-things-off-floor-while-wondering-what-to-cook-for-dinner mojon.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Monkey's Granny owns Morrisons..,

...That's why it's yellow. 

Monkey & Co continue to take over the world, according to Tess.

It's Sunday. It's banana muffin hour.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Tolerating Sadness, Tolerating Air

I had not expected to hear the phrase 'tolerating air' this week: surely air is just to be breathed and not something to be tolerated? But indeed the hospital doctor cited it as a goal for Tess after she was admitted to A&E and kept overnight with asthma.


It was all quite sad and scary because she had to have nebulisers and oxygen tubes up her nose - she hated the discomfort of those - and generally, she cried her way through 2am, 3am, 4am and beyond. We got less than 2 hours sleep in 24. It was only the next day that she was able to 'tolerate air'.



I can't help feeling sad. Apparently something like 20% of children in the UK have asthma. The air pollution we blindly create - driving short distances, using perfumey bathroom cleaners etc, is just so endemic people forget to question it. It makes me have the odd wistful pang for country living - or at least for less traffic in Glasgow.



Anyway, Tess is on the various medications now and I am just trying to absorb it all. I love how her sense of humour managed to poke through her misery in hospital. She said daddy was late for visiting hour because Invisible Monkey The Great  (her imaginary monkey) was driving him and had to strap him in the booster seat in the back of the car.



I'm so glad to be home again. Here they are playing in the new kitchen.




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Being yourself, knocking down walls and the whole universe

Readers, I am still going grey. I am growing slowly into it. The kids keep inspecting my head in a running commentary and saying, yes, there is a little bit more grey! Indoors in dim light it looks fine, I think...

Outdoors, in bright sunlight I may look as if seagulls have poo-ed on my head, or as if I have been painting the ceiling - I don't know - but I was thinking today: is self-acceptance really such a radical act? Because that's all it is, this letting-your-hair-be-as-nature-intended. I threw out my old hair-dye towels today. They looked like they were used to dry rusty railings. And tea bags.

Meanwhile, we have knocked a wall down. I'll say that again, shall I? We have knocked a wall down and we are not wall-knocking-down people! 

It's great though. Instead of a dining room and a teensy kitchen, we have a big kitchen-diner thingy. It only took us five years. Photos to follow, if you are lucky...

And finally, I asked Tess why she wouldn't go and play with Hugh today. She shrugged and replied, oh, he is just wrecking the whole universe, as if that was standard for 6 year old boys. 


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Head for the edge, keep walking




I just finished this book by Kate Tough, whom I met on the Orkney Writers' Course. Gee, I was impressed, mainly because I enjoyed it so much.

It was so accessible, readable, arch and true, yet I could relax because it was well-written, well-crafted and swept me along. Lots of great and subtle Glasgow references too. 

Just as well I met Kate before I had read her book, or I'd have been writer-struck. The new short stories from Janice Galloway are what I fancy next -


When she's good, she's damn good. You know you want to.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I need Minnie Mouse ears to keep me sane



I can explain. It's been one of those days. A day of first-world problems. A day when I keep telling myself, some people have got real problems, but okay,  I'll admit it, mothering drove me nuts today.

Poor Hugh has now had a bug for over a week and just wants to fight his sister, me and every gargantuan injustice he can. You should'a let me use the red crayon! 

Earlier, I had to collect the Dyson from the repair shop (why do they deodorize it with essence of car wash?) and the mission led to scuffles with his sister, wailing in the street, vacuum-packed misery.

Later, when he was calmer, we saw a woman about my age with greying hair (no dye) and I mumbled in my self-soothing way, see her hair looks nice enough...good on her; he said, Well, mummy, I don't think you should grow your hair grey. 

Aww. I said, Why not? Daddy's is grey. He said, well, it only looks okay for a man...

Sadly, I know what he means. And yet, I'm still trying to resist the pressure to be a slave to putting chemicals in my hair every 4 weeks for the next fifteen years at great effort, time and expense. Other people might enjoy it, not me.

I came home and stuck on a Minnie Mouse hairband to do the Dyson-ing, through wails of protest that it was too noisy and getting in the way of the TV. 

They are asleep at last and I am gazing peacefully on the pristine red rug and the soft-plum sunset over the west hills of Glasgow. I will fall into bed with mattress-all-mine delight, as Nice Man is drumming in Spain, but of course I look forward to his return, free hotel soaps and otherwise. 



Monday, July 06, 2015

Getting Doon with the Mamas.

Did I tell you how much I am enjoying the Coorie Doon Project? 

What is the Coorie Doon Project? you all cry in harmonious unison.

It's a lovely idea funded by Enterprise Music Scotland where I have been invited  (as a writer-y / poet person) together with Rachel Drury (warm, talented musician person) to work with pregnant and/or new mums in Edinburgh to help them write and record a personal song for their new baby.

It's named after this lovely miners' lullaby, by the way.

The mums have been great, opening up to us, sharing their experiences. I've been telling them that their babies will be their biggest fans - whatever they come up with. Here's a portrait that our Tess painted of me. I love it, as it's filled with happy acceptance and blind adoration.


(I will have to covet this drawing when she turns 14 and everything I do will be wrong, embarrassing or both).

Anyway, I'm loving it so far and want to contribute and facilitate as much as I can. We've had influences from Opera to AC/DC.

Here's one of my favourite poems about childhood: - Small Boy by Norman MacCaig.  It's all that Having and Losing, Losing and Having. It gets me every time.