Another long weekend

Hooray, it’s another long weekend!

Today’s royal wedding bank holiday is buttressed by International Workers Day – or May Day, as it’s more commonly known these days.  I wonder if the royals saw the irony in this…?

But I’m muttering to myself.

What have we been up to?  Not a great deal, really.

The Lovely Melanie has determined to get fit and started going running.  She’s not particularly enjoying it but is extremely determined and I’m proud of her for deciding to do this.  The girls…well, they’re the girls.  They were playing on the computer this morning, something they like to do most mornings (well, Millie likes to play and Amber watches her) while I was downstairs watching a little of the early coverage of the royal wedding (“So, Dave, you once looked at Prince William through a pair of binoculars – what was he like?” “As Kate’s headmaster would you say you were very close to her?“)

I wasn’t planning to watch any of the wedding but I’ve a slight hangover after going out last night so I vegetated a in front of the TV a little.  There is a certain bizarre fascination to be found in it.  I’ve swapped places with the girls now – they’re down there watching all the people arrive at Westminster Abbey now.  Millie has been disappointed to discover that the Queen is an old lady and not a Disney character, but is fascinated by all the hats.

I’ve been finding myself thinking about Trev a great deal again this week.  There’s still a little part of my brain that when I think about him absolutely refuses to accept he’s gone.  It isn’t so much not believing it, rather it’s a part that simply denies it – as though his death is a ridiculous impossibility.

I’ve had sad moments, too; quite a few, actually, but they come and go rather than lingering as they did before.  Mostly it’s just been thinking about Trev and remembering him so that he’s becoming more vivid in my memory, not less.

First day back at school…

First day back at school after Easter for Millie today!

Except…it wasn’t.

Thank goodness my dad is here, laying some carpet on the stairs and dining room (carpet we got free from my brother’s in-laws – thank you to the Frosts for that!).  I took Amber to nursery today and went off to work while he took Millie to school.  Only…when they got there it turned out today is a teacher training day, so no school!

They weren’t the only ones to make this mistake – some other parents and children had (mistakenly) turned up in full school uniform.  But as I say, thank goodness my Dad was here or there would have been a very unscheduled day’s holiday for me!

Catchphrases

Amber has a number of inexplicable catchphrases at the moment, including:

  • “A cardboard box” (said in a sing-song voice)
  • “I’ll take you to the station” (said in a mildly threatening voice)
  • “Doi doi doi doi…” (repeat)
  • Clicking her tongue (does that count as a catchphrase?)
  • and “You little thief!”

The last one is particularly disconcerting when she wanders up behind you and shouts it.

“You little thief” isn’t actually so inexplicable since it comes from the Disney version of Cinderella, but she does wander around saying it all day.

Oh, and “thief” is pronounced “feef”.

Easter Holiday fun #3

Fun, but not by me. 😦

Whats this? Who knows?!

The Lovely Melanie took Millie to the O2 yesterday to see DINOSAURS UNLEASHED!!!  It was apparently very impressive – and looks quite impressive in the photos she took on her phone.  Millie’s photos don’t look quite so impressive, unfortunately, because she’s yet to learn that moving the camera while snapping makes for bad pictures.  It seems to have been quite dark inside DINOSAURS UNLEASHED!!! so many of Millie’s photos, whilst possessing a cloudy fragility all their own are not very informative of what was on display.

I was back at work yesterday, for a single day in the office this week (I was working from home today).  Remember I said I’d written the website and it was done?  Well, that was a little premature of me.

I’ve been receiving emails thick and fast from Legal and other departments asking who gave us permission to use company logos on the site? (Answer=er, um, I don’t know , sir; sorry, sir; it won’t happen again, sir) or who the hell signed off on this text?!!! (Answer=your assistant did because you were too busy and too important to look at a mere webpage).

Never mind, I worked today sat in T-shirt and shorts (or, earlier on, nothing at all!) and had the house to myself while the Lovely Melanie took both girls to…

BATTERSEA PARK CHILDREN’S ZOO!!!

Yes, that’s probably enough shouting now, I think.

Millie and Amber both loved BATTER- er, I mean, Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.  It’s been done up a bit since they were last there a couple of years back, and the “Zoo” part has been de-emphasised in favour of the “Park” and “Children”.  They’ve all come home absolutely knackered and I can hear them having stories read next door even as I write this.

I’m relieved of story duty tonight because I’m manning the helpline for BLISS.

And tomorrow, I get to eat my Easter Egg.

Singular.

Egg.

Sigh.

Easter Holiday fun #2

More fun in the sun for Millie and myself today as we headed down to beautiful Foots Cray, a 20-minute walk from our house.  The temperatures hit a scorching 24 degrees C so we were both dressed in t-shirts, shorts, hats and lashings of factor-50 sun cream.

Fortunately Foots Cray has the shallow River Cray running through it, and Millie spent most of her time paddling about in there, apparently fascinated by the spectacle of free running water and the other boys and girls larking about.

I joined her a few times and we went right up to the waterfall, as you can hopefully see in the picture.  Millie was a bit unsure about it at first, but after seeing me stick hands and feet into it with nary a thought for my personal safety she was quickly soaking wet and laughing her head off about it.

As Millies traditionally do, she stripped down to her pants when we got back to shore, scampering about in just sun hat, sun glasses and Princess pants.

We had lunch by the river, played “catch”, blew/chased bubbles, napped and explored for the best part of three hours.  We might have stayed longer but I’d mislaid our water bottle on the way there (don’t ask) and we had to go and collect Amber from nursery, so about three o’clock we headed for home: tired, thirsty and – miraculously – not sunburnt.

Tomorrow I’m back to the harsh realities of work after two idyllic sun-kissed days.  I wish Trev could have been here to enjoy them and can all too easily imagine him doing exactly that…

Easter holiday fun

OK, so it’s not actually Easter yet, but I’ve been at home with Millie today as she has broken up for Easter.

And we’ve had a wonderful day. 🙂

There was no rush to get up and ready this morning, so nobody got stressed or cross; we had our breakfast, the girls got to play on “the iPhone” (in reality my Android and old iPod Touch), I shaved my head and had a shower, then we left to take Amber to nursery.  There was a little twinge of guilt that she was being packed off to nursery, as usual, when Millie wasn’t, but it soon passed.  Amber hasn’t been to nursery for over a week, since my parents looked after both girls previously, so she’s had a bit of time off.

Anyway.  Millie and I dropped Amber at nursery and she waved goodbye happily enough, then we began our Daddy-and-Millie day.

First port of call: a newsagent in Sidcup to renew my Oyster card.  While I was doing that Millie browsed the magazines; I happened to notice the same Winnie The Pooh Panini sticker book that she got last week in amongst them and had an idea.  I asked the shopkeeper if they sold the packets of stickers for this book – they did, so I bought Millie two packets.

She was absolutely ecstatic about this!  It was a joy to watch her face and see someone made so happy by two 50 pence packets of stickers.

Next we went to Morrisons, just around the corner, to get some cheese muffins (I love cheese muffins of a morning – when I was unemployed I had them almost every day!)

Daddy,” said Millie, “since we’re not in a rush today…” – and just hearing those words made me feel a little sad, realising that Millie’s not stupid and is aware that we’re in a permanent rush on weekday mornings.  Hearing her say that made me instantly stop and decide to do whatever she wanted since, as she’d pointed out, we’re not in a rush today.

Daddy, since we’re not in a rush today could we go and look at the fish?

Again, I could have kissed her (in fact, I did).  All she wanted on this day, when we had time to spare, was to go and look at the Morrisons’ fish counter.

So we spent ten minutes looking at the octopi, the trout, the unpronounceablename fish and back to the octopi.  It might sound silly, but it was a lovely shared moment.

When we got home Millie wanted to do some arts and crafts, so I drew her a princess carriage being pulled by a horse and cut it out.  She coloured it in while I pottered about in the garden for a while.

Then, with the sun hot in the gorgeous blue sky, we had lunch in the back garden during which Millie asked me to tell her about:

  • All the French words I knew
  • My trip down a sewer (here, under Monday 8th May 2006)
  • The names of all my teachers at school
  • What people I knew from other countries
  • How I knew stuff
  • How old I was when I learned stuff

It was just great fun simply to be sat outside chatting with Millie, to have a proper conversation with her, be genuinely interested in everything she was saying and not to have to feign any interest (sorry, Amber, you’re cute and all but your conversation veers towards the repetitive at times…)

Then we went to the cinema in Bexleyheath to see Winnie The Pooh – which was surprisingly funny, actually.  Much funnier than many “adult” comedies I’ve seen in recent years.  Millie ate a “medium” popcorn the size of her body – I’ve still no idea where she put it all and was astonished to realise that it bore an uncanny similarity to her Panini sticker book!

We also went to the library, where Millie has discovered a latent love of barn owls, of all things, thanks to a book she picked up at random (I got a book on the history and recent explosion in popularity of zombies).  We also went to Wilkinsons to get some seeds and discovered that they were charging £1.89 for a very small bundle of twigs for gerbils to gnaw on.  I tried to explain to Millie that we have a wood behind our house and can get literally thousands of twigs for £0 and 0 pence, but she remained unconvinced.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to catch up on and – with tomorrow’s weather forecast to be fantastic again – have to plan a picnic at Foots Cray Meadow

(not my most elegant conclusion to a blog entry, I’m afraid, but I’m tired and on holiday so meh).