One of these things is not like the other

Two pieces of news today, both exciting, but not to everyone in the house.

We’re getting two more ex-battery chickens next weekend, plus, I’ve downloaded a copy of Frozen for the girls to watch (the DVD’s not out yet, but Amber loves this film – and we’ve spent so much money on merchandise that I figure there’s not a court in the land that would convict me!)

Amber sprinted downstairs and gave me a massive hug when the Lovely Melanie broke the news this morning.

AMBER: Millie, Millie, Daddy’s got us a copy of Frozen on the computer!

MILLIE: Meh. That’s nothing, we’re getting two new chickens next week!

AMBER: Meh. Frozen! Frozen! Frozen!

MILLIE: Chickens! Chickens! Chickens!

The two hens we have now (Sergeant Rock and Queen Cool) haven’t laid an egg since November, which is disappointing.  They’re fed and watered every day, get regular delicious kitchen scraps, cleaned out every week, allowed to scratch about in the garden – I’ve even hung a CD in their yard for them to peck!

Short of getting Sky TV in the coop for them there’s no way they could be much better off; but still they won’t lay. 😦

So, I’m hoping the introduction of two new hard-working ex-battery hens will remind them how the old egg production game works.

Suggestions for names are, of course, welcome!

The end of silence?

I’ve just signed a proper work contract AND been informed that the new office “is moving forward”, so my four-month sentence of Working From Home might be nearly up!

Not a moment too soon, either, as I’m going a bit mad.  It’s not the actual time spent alone that’s been getting to me, more the cumulative effects of not seeing other human beings (except my family) for days at a time.

I miss sitting on trains reading; I miss overhearing snippets of random conversation; bumping into people; seeing new posters and adverts – even simply saying “Please” and “Thank you” in shops!  I don’t mind being by myself for much of the time; I do mind being by myself all of the time.

Amber’s 6th Birthday Party (Family)

New lunchbox

I have never known anyone get so excited about a new lunchbox.  Literally never.

Here’s Amber at the school gates this morning with her new Frozen lunchbox.

Blimey, she loves that lunchbox.  I’d venture to say she loves it almost as much as the Frozen boots she bought last year.  Remember those? 😉

Thanks to everyone who came to Amber’s Family Party on Saturday – it was, of course, lovely to see each and every one of you.  Especially one or two people who really went all out to dress up for the theme “Barbie Princess And The Popstar“.

But biggest thanks has to go to Amber, for showing enthusiasm and excitement above and beyond the call of duty.  On the day of her birthday at roughly 40 minute intervals, she would suddenly stop, smile, give a little squeal and repeat that she couldn’t believe, A, it was her birthday, and B, what incredible presents she’d been given.

She was completely overcome by everyone’s generosity and thoughtfulness (and by having a Frozen Lunchbox).

Pink Nick with a chicken on his shoulderOh, and here’s everyone’s favourite image from the party: “Uncle” Nick stood outside in his fancy dress costume with a chicken on his shoulder.

Happy birthday, Little Doob

First pic of Amber
Amber Carter, aged about 90 seconds

Six years ago today, this was happening:

“Amber Grace Carter, just under 6lbs in weight, delivered by caesarean section today at 11.23am in Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup.

Both mother and baby are doing exceptionally well.  Dad is rather tired, but would like to thank everyone who’s called, emailed, Facebooked, texted, or simply spoken out loud their good wishes.”

Amber Carter, aged 6
Amber Carter, aged 6

And now, six years later, she’s quite a bit bigger, quite a bit louder, quite a bit smarter, and quite a bit blonder.

But just as loved as she ever was.

Happy sixth birthday, Little Doob. 🙂

Lear at the Network Theatre

Almost 20 years I’ve lived in London now, but the old girl still surprises me.  That’s part of the reason I love her, I guess. 🙂

Yesterday I discovered a wee theatre underneath Waterloo Station!

Network TheatreThe Network Theatre is impossible to find if you don’t have the address in your pocket and determination in your heart. Still, I advise you to copy down that address and find that determination, because the rewards are worth it.

But how to find it?

First, ye must have FAITH to navigate the unpromising looking maintenance road.

Second, ye needeth VISION to avoid the puddles – they’re not exclusively water and they smell…funny.

Third, need ye yet MORE FAITH when you approach the locked security gate.

Fourth, ye must have COURAGE to confront the grumpy security guy, guardian of the access code for the security gate.  Woe betide ye who must ask twice for the access code!

And Fifth, is basically a RETREAD of the First and Second.

Only then will ye discover the lost Network Theatre of the Ancients!

Shakespeare's King Lear at Network Theatre, Waterloo

All this rigmarole’s a bit of a shame, because it’s a nice little theatre, staffed with friendly people selling tickets are very reasonable (just £12 for King Lear last night), and they have a bar, too.

The Lovely Melanie and I had tickets bought for my birthday by Conny – I asked for “Some Shakespeare tickets” and she delivered!  So, not knowing what to expect, we went along…

And it was a fantastic performance.  Seriously.  We loved it!

An edited version of Shakespeare’s King Lear (which I haven’t read), to be sure, but the Lovely Melanie (who has read it) tells me the edited parts were mostly confusing soliloquies by Mad Tom and the play was better off without them.

All the players knew all their lines, could all act – and act well.  If I’d paid four times the price and seen last night’s version on a West End stage I wouldn’t have been the least bit disappointed.

Such a shame, then, that there were maybe 20 people in the audience.  But the play’s on for a couple of weeks, so if you have a free evening tomorrow or next week then go and see King Lear at the Network Theatre.

You won’t regret it. 🙂

’70s Throwbacks

Freddie Mercury

It being half-term this week, the girls are both staying at my parents’ in Swindon.

I was born and grew up in Swindon, a sleepy, safe little town, where not a great deal happens.

So imagine my surprise when, calling my parents on Skype, my children swam into view looking like the ’80s, ’90 and ’00s never happened!

Millie (aged 8) wore some kind of Freddie Mercury-style, purple velvet, cat-suit, crop-top.

Amber (aged 5) had gold hotpants and a tasseled red top that even ABBA might have balked at!

ABBAIt was the funniest thing ever – especially as Millie kept asking Do you like it?

And the funny thing is, yes, I did!

As Auntie Carla pointed out: They’re your girls, Stu.


What’s the point of it?

This isn’t a negative post, that’s the title of Martin Creed’s art exhibition at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank.

We paid it a visit at the weekend, and I can assure you the point of it is to have some serious fun!

Half the air in a given space, a large room full of white balloons that you stumble about in, is the obvious star of the show – we spent 15 minutes in there, laughing and shouting and having a whale of a time.  But the other exhibits are all great, too.

There are painting and sculptures and video exhibits – so many different things that I defy you not to find something you love.

But here are two tips:

One, take the lift.  Seriously – take the lift, you’ll love it! 🙂

Two, there’s an outdoor exhibit that warns you it’s for adults only.  Yeah.  It really is. 😛

Face paintOh, and of course, both girls had their faces painted in the South Bank.

But this was proper professional face painting by two ladies who were better than any face painter I’ve ever seen – and as the parent of two young girls, I’ve seen a few!