Monday, December 31, 2012

Escape, the bath and Star Wars.

1. While we are steeling ourselves to get out of bed, Alec tells me that The Little Tiny Baby has escaped, gone downstairs and is making breakfast.

2. Nick's bath looks so warm and deep that I can't resist joining him in it. We used to bath together all the time before Alec was born -- we even went against the bathroom shop's explicit advice* and got a double-ended bath to make this more enjoyable. It's hard to find the time these days because one of us is always chasing a tinks round the kitchen. We should make the time, really: it's like a date night, except that you don't need a babysitter.

3. We open some more of Alec's birthday presents: Godfather Timothy has found Star Wars ABC and counting books. Alec flips open the numbers book, correctly identifies Yoda and then asks me to find him in the ABC. This puzzles and amazes us until we remember he has an outgrown t-shirt with a picture of the Jedi master on.

*Double ended baths are not considered safe with an over-bath shower.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Scribbling, starting out and last of the pie.

1. My cousin Laura -- and this is very appropriate for an illustrator -- gave Alec some art materials for his birthday, including a set of Crayola first markers and some jumbo pencils. Up until now he's had the run of my felt pen box and a set of wax crayons from the Post Office. Both markers and pencils are designed for toddler hands, and it makes such a difference to Alec's mark-making. He is much more confident and instead of asking me to draw 'steamy toot-toots' and 'Daddy' and 'squirly snails', he covers a page with his own lines. I slip a couple of pieces of note paper in front of him to get some of his artwork into our thank you letters.

2. There are a lot of thank you letters to write. I make a start.

2b. We catch Alec trying to take his new scooter upstairs at bathtime.

3. Nick has saved me the last piece of pie.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Birthday, party and an aunt.

1. To talk with Nick about this day two years ago. The details of Alec's birth are still so clear in my mind (taking a cross red slippery thing from the midwife who was kneeling on the floor behind me; seeing what Alec now calls 'willy-balls-one-two' and saying "Oh, it's Alexander! Hallo."), and I love hearing the bits that Nick remembers, too ("I had to hold you while they stitched Mummy up and we talked about trains").

2. We have a party -- of course -- with all sorts of guests coming and going throughout the day. There are babies playing in the corner and toddlers riding Alec's new scooter. Balloons are batted around and then popped. Alec pulls a tree off his cake and is dribbling green at candle time. I run from stove to fridge to table, calling to people to help themselves and chatting where I can.

3. I am gently reminded by my aunt that she can do things like making coffee (while I greet a new arrival) and brush crumbs off the table where Alec demolished several slices of bread (while I load the dishwasher).

4. We're hoping to keep Alec awake until bedtime as it's too late for a nap. We watch TV while Nick restores order in the kitchen. But halfway through Octonauts I realise that Alec is vibrating gently in my arms because he is snoring.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Chore, knowing your wife and birthday surprises.

1. I mentioned yesterday to Nick that a lot of Alec's toys were running out of juice -- the washing machine no longer goes round. The toy phone has started to mumble. The bath turtle tails off two bars into his rendition of The Blue Danube. Today Nick gathers them all up and replaces the batteries. He takes in a few of our gadgets along the way.

2. I spot some talk on Twitter about a Moomin documentary on last night, which of course I want to watch. I tell Nick about it and he says rather tiredly: "I've recorded it." I should have known.

3. Deciding where to leave Alec's birthday scooter -- we decide on the kitchen so that he sees it when he comes down to breakfast. And there is space for him to try it, too.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bye, the race and more space.

1. At eight o' clock, Granny coughs at the other end of the house. Alec wriggles out of bed and runs off to find her. I don't see him again until I go down for breakfast.

2. A red-blonde spaniel, ears bouncing, pelts past us up the hill. It's going so fast that its muddy legs are a blur. Minutes later it runs past us again in the same direction -- how did it do that?

3. Coats on new hooks by the front door. A calm space in the kitchen where they used to hang.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Opening his stocking, the bicycle and nursing him to sleep.

1. Alec dipping into his stocking. He is so delighted by each item that we have to coax him to go in after the next one -- and the sight of Grandpa bringing the fire back to life makes him forget about presents anyway.

2. Uncle Robert has made a wooden walk-along bicycle for Alec in quiet moments at the workshop. Alec finds it intimidatingly large, but I should think he will be tall enough for it by the time summer comes round. I'm just amazed that anyone would be kind enough (and clever enough) to make something like that for our little boy.

3. Alec is too excited to sleep. I try nursing him, but he sits up and says: "Alec bub Mummy," meaning that he's going to nurse me. I make appropriate noises in the direction of his chest until he says: "Other side!" Then he says: "Ow bubby 'urt." I've been complaining a lot that it hurts to nurse because his latch has got  lazy (he's got a cold, and I think he might be teething a little too).
"What do we do when bubbies hurt?" I ask him.
He replies: "Big mouth ahhhh" (he has a bad habit of sucking the nipple into his mouth like a piece of spaghetti, instead of taking a good big mouthful so I remind him with that phrase).
Next he asks for a go with the bottle of water that I keep by the bed (dehydration makes bubbies 'urt and a mouthful of water is an amazingly swift cure).
I'm sad that my discomfort is so obvious, but I'm very pleased that he feels the situation is under control. More than ever before, our nursing seems like a two-way relationship.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gone out, unexpected and Christmas stocking.

1. My father has taken Alec out for a walk. It started to rain within minutes of them leaving, and I was worried that he would be cold (but not so worried that I can't take a good long nap next to Nick). We are woken by Alec's little treble (it seems to cancel out every other voice there is in my brain) and as he seems happy we take our time going downstairs. "We didn't go very far," says my father. "It was stop to investigate a puddle. And stop to investigate some mud. Then he fell asleep on my shoulders."

2. We are expecting the mother to come home at any moment, but instead Robert walks through the door.

3. To pack Alec's stocking with small gifts and hang it up in the fireplace. With all the excitement of bedtime at Granny's house, we forgot to remind him about Father Christmas, though.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Treat, decorations and lolly.

1. I love it when Grandad asks for something -- it's fun to cheer him up with little treats, but hard to know what to bring. He says could we please bring him a piece of sirloin steak, no rush, and don't make a special journey.

2. Nana brings down a box of Christmas decorations. "Take the non-breakable ones this time," she says. She picks out a tiny car and adds: "I bought this one at Tonbridge Station when I was a little girl."

3. Alec nibbling happily on a chocolate lolly -- thanks Sarah!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Escape, bag of presents and paperwhites.

1.  Alec wriggles and squirms until he gets to the far end of the table where his granny is sitting. This means that Nick and I get some time to talk with Aunty Biddy.

2. We come home and find a bag of presents on the doorstep. "People are very honest in Tunbridge Wells," says my uncle.

3. The paperwhites Anna, Alec and I planted back in November are just about to flower.

4. "Should I hug you?" asks Nick. We've been so busy today that this important family task has been neglected. We stop the housework for a moment.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Out to lunch, feverish and the new cuddle.

1. It is a great relief to be invited out for lunch with another mum and toddler.

2. They've given Alec some Calpol, "and we took off his socks and his shirt to cool him down." He seems happy enough, sitting in a comfortable lap and looking at a book, but I'm going to take him home early. "Don't worry," they say. "We've all done it with our children. It's a tough call."

3. Alec has invented a new sort of cuddle: he rubs his face on my face, or whatever bare skin he can reach while saying "Nubble-nubble-nubble-nubble".

Friday, December 21, 2012

More sleep, in hand and about your day.

1. Alec and I sleep in until 10.15am. Such a relief to feel as if I've got enough sleep.

2. On a morning where everything is spiralling out of control, a friend comes round to amuse Alec and comfort me.

3. After nursery I always give Alec milk and biscuits at the kitchen table. He can now tell me fragments about his afternoon, but I have to ask my questions in the right way. I might mention a name and get in reply: "Ally like Abecca" or a big smile and "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" He spent some time in the pre-school today and when I asked him about that, he said: "Glug glug glug". When I kiss his hands, they taste salty, so I thought he might have been using playdough -- when I ask, he makes rolling and patting gestures.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Going out, skit and in the mancave.

1. "I'm going out tonight with Caroline to the pantomime," I tell Alec quite early in the day.
"Daddy go out?"
"No, he's looking after you."
There's a pause, then: "Bubbies go out?"

2. Laughing at a ridiculous skit until I could hardly see the stage at The Assembly Hall's pantomime, Snow White.

3. I come back to a silent house -- no-one in the front room. No-one in the bedroom. Nick and Alec are asleep upstairs in the attic.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Polar Express, on the bridge and late night treat.

1. Behind our heads the film Polar Express is running in silence. Alec stares and stares at the reindeer pawing and prancing as the heave Father Christmas' sleigh in the sky. I get the impression, though, that he thinks there is not enough 'steamy toot-toot' action.

2. The manlet stops to press a rivet on the railway bridge -- just in case it is a button that does something. I notice tenacious silver lichen growing on the metal balustrade.

3. Godfather Timothy and Rachel have come bringing presents, and Alec, as a special treat (both for him and them!) is allowed to stay downstairs playing with his trains and chatting with the grown-ups. He is very good, and at the end, goes up to bed cheerfully.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A cuddle, more food and raise your hand.

1. The first thing Alec says when he wakes up is "Mummy cuddle".

2. I am making toast for elevenses -- but I'm not doing it quickly enough, it seems. When I turn round, Alec has retrieved from the draining board the bowl of porridge that he rejected at breakfast and is shovelling it down with a lot of enthusiasm. He eats the toast as well.

3. 12-week scan. "There's the heartbeat," says the sonographer -- I like her sense of priority, and I like to see the bright flutter at the centre of Lickle Tiny Baby's chest. "And you can see the hand up by the face."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pine, all asleep and no jelly.

1. To come downstairs to a front room that smells of pine.

2. After lunch, we all take to the big bed. Nick and I plan to settle Alec and then make good use of the free time. We wake up two hours later.

3. We say no to jelly at supper. It's very sad and disappointing, but jelly is a lunchtime thing. So Alec picks pieces of pretend jelly from the footrest of his highchair and enjoys that instead.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Confiding, grown and dressing the tree.

1. Alec walks right up to Father Christmas and takes his hand in such a confident and confiding way that it brings tears to my eyes. Alec looks very solemn throughout, in awe, I think. Later we overhear the elves saying that "Father Christmas has had his heart melted twice in one day" after the little boy who came next did exactly the same.

2. We are startled by the difference in height between Alec and Baby Loey (who is only just one). When did our boy do all that growing?

3. I look at our tree (which seems much larger now it's in the house), and I look at our Christmas crate and think: "It's going to look a little sparse." But I'd forgotten so many pretty things that I've bought over the years. The boxes full of tissue-wrapped bundles kept coming and coming. Later, after Alec has gone to bed, Nick asks if I would like to come into the front room to just sit and look at the tree.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Waiting to go out, three chocolates and the comma.

1. It's raining so hard that I'm really not too keen to leave for nursery just yet. Instead I watch Alec and my mother play "shut door" in the wardrobe.

2. I do more Christmas shopping at Damian Allsop's pop-up shop in Chapel Place. It's in a one-time bar, with the long counters still in place; and customers have to ask questions about the 'specials' ranged on plates, so it's easy to get chatting, particularly on a slow, rainy afternoon like this. "People tell me their problems," he says. "I've heard a lot of life stories."
I come away with three chocolates for myself: the anise and coffee cloud is sublime (his 'clouds' have the texture of Malteaser centres). I like the sharp rose and rhubarb, too, and the surprising passion fruit and coffee.

3. Nick using correction fluid to cover a misplaced comma on the tag of a gift intended for a three-year-old.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pristine, an interesting cure for morning sickness and sing-song.

1. Our cleaning lady has been, and a man has done the oven. The house feels like a monument to leisure, or a snow-covered lawn, and  I hardly know what to do with myself this afternoon. I don't want to spoil it by living in it.

2. I am rather dreading going to the fishmongers -- just thinking about fish makes my innards heave. But to my surprise, when I walk into Sankey's, the fresh, chilly seaside smell and the bright-eyed produce ranged on ice seem to clear my head and steady my stomach.

3. Alec is clearly very, very tired after a hard day of cleaners and car park attendants -- but he stops nursing, stands up on the bed and then sits astride me. "Or-he, or-he!" he orders.
I am not going to encourage this, but Nick is a sucker for these special, fleeting moments and starts singing: "Horsey, horsey, don't you..."
"STOP" says Alec triumphantly.
Nick continues: "Just let your hooves go clippity-..."
"CLOP! Mummy sing," Alec says, bouncing up and down in a threatening manner.
We go on together. "Your tail goes swish and the wheels go..."
"ROUND. No more." And Alec rolls off and lies back down beside me for more nursing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sponsored Post: Cleaning Gift Vouchers -- the clean itself

As I mentioned in this previous post, my oven is a thing of horror. I have been trying not to think too hard about it because it makes me nauseous (actually, most things make me nauseous just now). So when the man from Cleaning Gift Vouchers rang up, I was ridiculously excited to make a booking for the following week. The man was very pleasant and answered all my questions. He explained that he would park nearby and bring his tray of equipment into the house, and he thought the job would take about an hour and a half, and asked me to give him a half-hour window on the start time (presumably to allow for our notorious traffic).

Annoyingly, Cleaning Gift Vouchers changed this booking twice before the big day arrived (they were polite and flexible on both occasions, it must be said). But arrive it did, and more or less at the allotted time, the oven cleaner arrived.

He asked for hot water and access to the sink, but apart from that he was totally self-sufficient, right down to a torch (the bulb in my oven has gone, it seems). He stripped the oven down, taking off the doors and the door seals. He removed all the shelves and the racks they hang on. These are things that I would not have known how to do -- but I asked him how the racks come out and went back in, and he very kindly showed me.

Then he set to work -- and it really was work, proper scrubbing and elbow grease, rather than stinky chemicals. He took a good long time over it, nearly two hours lying and kneeling on the floor.

He asked me to take a look to make sure I was happy with the work (I was -- it looked and smelled so much better) before he put the shelves back. And then he started on the doors. He used a scraper to remove a good couple of tablespoons of crispy grease. It looked like satisfying work, but not a task I would relish and I was very glad to have someone else do it.

At the end of the job, he tidied up and took his equipment and all the rubbish away. I thought he was respectful and polite and I could see that he was working hard and efficiently.

My oven is now gleaming both inside and out and I can't wait to use it: I bet it'll be more efficient, and I'll be able to smell the food I'm actually cooking, not the roasts of Sunday's past. If someone gave me this as a present, I would be very pleased.

Back, off duty and early night.

1. To hear the clang of the gate, Nick's keys in the lock and Alec ringing the doorbell.

2. I can't face tea today: even putting frozen fishfingers on the grill turns my stomach. I hide out in the sitting room with a sudoku and a glass of water. Later Nick tells me that he explained to Alec that the Lickle Tiny Baby sometimes makes Mummy feel sick. Alec responded with: "Mummy not very well."
"And," added Nick, "He looked like a boy when he said it, not a baby."

3. As I am dropping off, I glance at the alarm clock: 9.38pm. We've finally got to bed early.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Feeling better, frost and cheering up.

1. As we leave the house for a morning appointment, I almost feel energetic enough to run. And later on in the day I feel un-nauseous enough to turn the pile of carrots in the fridge into soup.

2. The frost on the pavement goes scr-scr-scr under the pushchair wheels.

3. It's been a busy morning and Alec is on the verge of a melt-down. I would like to stuff him back in the pushchair and take him home for lunch, but he wants to walk (by which he means 'run about on the bandstand shouting'). I resort to bribery, but I only have one bic-bic left, and it needs to last. "You can have it when we get to the end of the Pantiles." Alec resorts to whining. A kind older couple smile at him and ask him where he's going. He tells them "Bic-bic!", and moments later catches sight of a steam train cake tin in a shop window which improves his mood again. Thirty paces later a lady tells me he's looking very cheerful, which makes him smile even more. By the end, I'm glad to give him his biscuit, and he gets into the pushchair without a fuss.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More birds, the break and social graces.

1. A flock of pigeons fly straight into our faces on their way to a lady dropping crumbs. Alec is exhilarated and asks for "More birds, Mummy." I like his faith in my ability to produce wonders.

2. A sleepy boy, well wrapped against the cold, in his pushchair. I wander slowly homeward, enjoying a bit of shopping along the way.

3. "Bye Daddy!"
"No, no, Daddy's staying here."
"Bye Mummy!"
"No-one's going anywhere. We're just having a cuddle."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Flowers, manners and laughter.

1. "We couldn't decide, so we brought you both," says Cat handing me two bunches of flowers. Then: "I hope you're not overwhelmed by flowers at the moment." They are beautiful, sunset orange carnations, and a mixed bunch with green chrysanthemums and lilies and a shining blue agapanthus.

2. Daniel asks (very elegantly for such a young boy) if he can blow the candle out. And Ellie thanks me in a lovely natural way for her Christmas parcel without being prompted. I hope we can give Alec and The Lickle Tiny Baby similar social graces.

3. "That was nice," says Nick after they have gone. "The house was full of children and laughter.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Savoy cabbage, clicks and con trail.

1. A savoy cabbage came in our veggie box. Its deeply wrinkled leaves are so intriguing that I put it on the table as if it were a vase of flowers.

2. Nick reports that the man in the aeroplane bookshop said Alec sounds like Geiger counter when he grinds his teeth (which is ALL THE TIME at the moment because he's got some new ones in). I'd never thought of it like that. I'd never thought of it at all beyond "Argh, make it stop, make it stop." It actually makes it a bit easier to bear.

3. A con trail shines bright orange where it has picked up the sunset.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Surreal, support and sandwich.

1. Nick reports that while he and Alec were playing this morning, "There was one strange moment where the Vicar changed the Calpol Lady's nappy." Various little people populate Alec's railway layout to catch the trains and lock and unlock the houses: Granny, Baba, Daddy and Godmother Larlie are all various wooden figures in primary colours. The Vicar is a triangular blue brick meant to represent the roof of a clocktower. The Calpol Lady is a Champagne cork with a face inexpertly drawn on (by me). Alec likes to lie on the floor moaning "Poorly, poorly" while she drives up in her ambulance with medicine for him.

2. I'm back to feeling shattered again today: Nick's presence makes it all seem doable.

3. A Marmite and cucumber sandwich on new bread.

No sickness, jab and one-to-one.

1. Today, for the first time in weeks, I don't feel sick or bone-tired. The 'lickle-tiny baby' must be having a day off from growing.

2. "You'll just feel a scratch on your arm," says the nurse. It's barely even that, and now I'm protected against flu.

3. I get my mother to myself for a whole two hours.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Snowfall, today's lesson and changing the beds.

1. When I open the blind the air is full of fat sticky feathers of snow. I gasp "Oh!" and for the rest of the morning, Alec imitates that little "Oh" every time he passes a window.

2. Yesterday, Alec was rather taken by an angel in a nativity puppet show. Our friend Jane confided afterwards that she thought King James would be spinning in his grave owing to the liberties taken with the text. "Mary said 'Wow!' when she saw the angel," she remarked, shaking her head sadly.
This morning, Alec opens an advent calender door up in the sky. The picture is an angel with a trumpet. I immediately jump into a showing-off-mummy role that I really don't like very much (it's not even like there's anybody to see how clever my boy is, as we are alone in our kitchen). "What do you say when you see an angel, Alec?"
There's a moment of silence. Then: "BYE!"

3. Our cleaner is well ahead of schedule -- she has about half an hour to spare. We decide it's because of the cold, and I ask her to change the beds. It's something I've been meaning to do -- but the only time I have a moment is when Alec is asleep, in the bed. She has such a lovely touch with things like that -- Nick always says it's like coming home to a posh hotel.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Sponsored post: Cleaning Gift Vouchers

We recently started using the services of a cleaner and it has made such a difference to our lives. The idea of giving cleaning as a gift is very appealing because I know first hand how it feels to have that particular burden lifted.

Our oven is not looking good and now I'm pregnant I don't want to have anything to do with the harsh chemicals that could be used to clean it... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I've been thinking of getting in one those mobile oven cleaning services in but never quite got round to it -- but then I was asked if I would like to review the services of Cleaning Gift Vouchers with a £45 credit -- which by co-incidence exactly covers a single oven clean.

Cleaning Gift Vouchers allows you to send a friend a voucher for a particular cleaning service. They offer special occasion cleans -- before moving, or spring cleaning; and they offer packages of regular cleaning appointments. They also do upholstery, carpets and appliances -- including ovens. Any of these would be a thoughtful Christmas present, perhaps for someone about to move; or perhaps for someone who has recently had a baby. And of course, they'd make a good gift for whoever hosted your family for Christmas this year.

I found it very quick and easy to send a voucher to myself: I simply went to and selected my package. I was offered the choice of printing the voucher, emailing it or posting it (on "eggshell letterhead" which sounds very classy). I plumped for email and after filling in the payment details, sat back and waited.

Within a working day, I had my voucher. I was very disappointed that it had the price emblazoned on it in large print. I feel uncomfortable with a recipient knowing the cost of my gift and I'm afraid this detail would make me rather hesitant to use the service -- but I'm sure there are ways round this.

A few days later, I got a call from a friendly representative to book my oven clean for the following week -- and I'm really looking forward to it.

Pre-dawn, first look and new line.

1. It is so long since I have seen a bare tree against the pre-dawn sky that I cannot stop staring.

2. "There's definitely only one," says the sonographer squadging the scanner wand down hard just to make sure, "and there's its heartbeat, there, can you see it flickering in the middle of the image?"
And that's our second baby.

3. As we are putting Alec to bed he pops out a new construction: "That's my Mummy!" He's never used 'my' before.

PS: Reginald is back on his cabbage leaves, so perhaps he changed his mind about pupating.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Recognised, zappers and caterpillar.

1. A twinkly older man sits down next to Alec and me while we are taking off our shoes before going into the changing rooms. He looks hard at me, and then says: "Is this the manlet?" He's referring to the pseudonym that I give Alec in my local newspaper column. I confess that it is indeed. "I read your column every week," he says. "I always enjoy reading about 'the manlet' and now I've actually met him."

2. When I say that TV is finished because it's time for bed, Alec says firmly that he is going to put the zappers away. He takes two of them and spends a good minute arranging them to his satisfaction in the TV cupboard. I hand him the third (his personal toy zapper) and takes it over, removes all three and re-arranges them.

3. I haven't told you about our caterpillar! I found him hiding under the chopping board last weekend after I'd prepared some curly kale. I threw him out into the garden, and then suffered so badly from guilt about leaving him to die alone in the cold and wet that I retrieved him and put him in a jar with some kale (you always get such a lot in the bag, so there's plenty to go around). Nick gave him a name, Reginald, and he's been living on a cool window sill, nibbling and pooing and being shown off to guests. This evening, he has climbed to the top of his jar and is hanging upside down -- I suppose he's getting ready to pupate. When he does, I'll put the jar somewhere cool and dry so he stays safe in his chrysalis until the cabbages bloom again.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Hooden horse, first Christmas card and explaining himself.

1. I do love watching morris men -- the whole Merrie Olde England mythos is very appealing. I hoist Alec up on to my shoulders and we jig along to the music. But he is not happy when the hooden horse with its clacking wooden head comes out. "Tell it to 'go away'" I suggest helpfully, and I point out that you can see a morris man's jingle-bell legs under the sacking body. Alec refuses to be drawn, though. Even afterwards, when we see it packed away in a bag, he won't go near. But when we are telling Nick about our adventure, Alec claims that he told "Scary horse snap snap sling your 'ook go 'way."

2. Scott and Becky bring the first Christmas card -- a little robin for our mantelpiece.

3. Alec wakes at 10pm with a howl. I go upstairs and find him sitting in the middle of the bed looking perturbed. "'Andkerchief?" he asks. His nose is quite snotty, so I give it a wipe. Then he does two enormous farts. "Windy pops," he explains, "All done now," and he lies down again for some go-to-sleep bubby.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Christmas is coming, sleep and blush.

Nick (with Alec's help) shaved off his moustache this morning. People have been very generous with their donations to Mo'vember (which raises money for and awareness of men's cancers) and Nick is very pleased with himself! I forgot to mention a related beautiful thing from yesterday: Wood and Pilcher, an estate agents on the High Street, held a bake sale yesterday for the cause, with the staff dressed up in pantomime costumes. When I passed by two moustachio'ed pantomime dames were soliciting wolf whistles from the builders working on the scaffolding across the road. Meanwhile, a third hairy lady was closing a sale on his mobile.

1. To drag the December 1 box out from the back of the wardrobe and then reacquaint Alec with our Christmas books.

2. Alec has gone down for his nap, and it is clear to everyone that I really need one too -- but I can't switch off. Nick takes the time to cuddle me and whisper to me until I doze off.

3. I think Alec is rather taken with Eve, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named's new wife. She picked up every single one of his "Oh dear, dropped it" crayons; and I swear he blushed when she kissed him goodbye.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Hot chocolate delivered, missing and early.

1. Anna brings us a cup of Damian Allsop's hot chocolate, and immediately scuttles away to deliver a second cup. She comments that "There's a lovely smell of Parma violets around here" and apologises because she hasn't brought anything for Alec. But he helps himself to the hot chocolate (I have to share it with Blue Bear, Monkey and Baby as well).

2. As I come back upstairs with a nappy cover and a clean vest I hear the sound of plappy feet across the floor. When return to the bedroom, Alec is nowhere to be seen, but there are little explosions of laughter coming from behind the wardrobe door (which definitely wasn't shut before).

3. "Let's just go to bed after supper."

Art book, gossip and watermelon.

1. Among my birthday presents is a new book of Tove Jansson's art, featuring lots of bits I've never seen before. 2. Stopping for a ...