the interrogators

Admittedly it’s taken me several years longer than most of the parents I know but I am now 110% at the point where quite a lot of the time I want my girls to shut the heck up. They were both late to talk, Leah was three and a half before she uttered her first sentence, a melancholic “I’m not happy Mummy“, and I have to admit that I have always liked that this was different from your more usual “hello da da‘, even though I suspect this will be much analysed on some future shrinks couch.
By now they both really know how to talk and do so with a zeal and enthusiasm that feels like making up for lost time. For the past couple of years I really have revelled in their every utterance,  but here’s the thing, for a start there’s two of them and lately they have begun not just asking questions but interrogating and oh boy are they tenacious. And it’s not just my motives which are under constant surveillance (“Why are you wearing that skirt again Mummy?”), it’s those of complete strangers too, (“Why is that man over there going into the shop? Why does he look sad? Is he ill?”). I can never get away with a simple and truthful “I don’t know” because they will say “But why don’t you know?”, then they start their full on nice cop/surly cop routine with one of them suggesting various scenarios, “Is he going to buy bananas?” and the other homing in with a menacing “YES or NO Mummy???” until I cave in and confess to a motive I really have no idea about. Mr Rush Hour and I joke that MI5 are missing a strategy in not employing five year old little girls to interrogate suspected terrorists and spies, we reckon they would be begging for mercy and confessing to anything.

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veg box

This year I’m making my summer window boxes entirely edible and have planted them up with cherry tomatoes, basil, marojam, thyme, alpine strawberries and geraniums, nasturtiums and marigolds, the latter for their petals to liven up a season of salad eating. They have a lot of growing still to do but even so I think they look just as nice as last years more decorative floral boxes and I’ll be able to take them with us when we move.

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Eve and Leah are still deep into their love for the Wizard of Oz, so I hereby declare, by the power invested in me, that today Mr Rush Hour you are King for a Day for outstanding services to fatherhood. Furthermore it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, Chevalier class, is awarded for excellence in entertainment (crowns and miscellaneous headwear) and endurance during the recent rainy half term holidays.

Happy Fathers Day xxxxxx

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I bet you were hoping for a picture of the Royal Barge, or the concert goers on The Mall last night or the flag waving crowds outside St Paul’s this morning but we didn’t do any of those things. There might have been photos of the street party we were invited to or the Jubilee Tea party in a local gallery, but both were rained off and the girls have colds and Mr Rush Hour is recovering from a bug, so instead I bring you our rainy Jubilee weekend makes in the form of the Royal Family made of loo rolls. It rained a lot this afternoon so there is quite a gathering.

Less original but essential for our home based celebrations, there is hand painted bunting and the red, white and blue themed window box is at least doing white and blue.

And of course there were cakes

I’ve been working long hours over the last month settling into my new job so it’s been lovely to have five days of family time.

But a Jubilee post deserves a bit more pomp and circumstance so here are some corgis, in this case in the window display of our lovely local sweet shop  Hope and Greenwood.

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It’s weeks since my last post and so here I am at not yet 6am on a Sunday morning, which I have discovered is the best time for writing – no else is up, there’s no Cbeebies noise and I’m just about rested enough after a Saturday off to feel fresh and focussed. Life’s been oh so busy with a new full time job, a house to sell and a string of other, very overdue commitments.

It’s all good change. The new job is great, or will be once I’ve fully mastered the names of everyone, learned the lingo and acclimatised to rush hour on the tube five days a week. The house, after a couple of months of living in a state of ever ready clutter free cleanliness (I cheated and put about 50% of the girls toys in the loft) is fingers crossed, sold. We’re also under offer on the house we want to move to which has a proper garden but is, as they say, a major project and the thought of living on a building site for six months with a full time job and two children is going to be mightily stressful.

I know we’re lucky and whenever I feel stressed about all this change, I remember the conversation I had with the lady who looks after Eve and Leah after school, who after I grumbled our house was getting too small for the four of us, told me that her flat and family home was half the size. The fact is that living in a tiny house has been fine, the thing about small children is that they only want to be in the same square metre of space that you are in anyway. Plus it’s easier to look after and afford a small house. But lately the girls have been coming home from play dates and yearning for the trampolines and outdoor play houses their friends have. I’ve also now crammed every part of our tiny back yard with herbs, vegetables, flowers and seating and had a lot of fun learning about gardening in the process. Now I’m ready for a proper garden with a lawn and trees and the words ‘raised vegetable bed’ are very exciting words indeed at the moment.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, everyone’s awake and  it’s time to make pancake batter and tea. Have a great Sunday everyone.


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National Trust kitchen

Our Easter plans for beach picnics where scuppered by the rain and cold so instead Mr Rush Hour made us visit every National Trust property in South Norfolk. Once they’d ransacked the dressing up box and visited the tea room Eve and Leah made it clear that stately homes were booooooorrrring. Except the experience has clearly marked them because since we arrived home the kitchen has been turned into a NT property, complete with tea room, officious barrier, portraits, a shop and even a ‘tapestry’ draped washing machine. Eve and Leah are almost as pompous as the real NT Norfolk volunteers and are fond of telling me the kitchen will be closing in five minutes. Nor am I allowed to touch the tapestry in order to put a wash on and the cost of the cakes is really astronomical. All in all its been the most fun rainy day activity since the kitchen became a swimming pool.

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I have been reading Jane Brocket’s Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer which has inspired readings of Milly Molly Mandy and The Wishing Chair at bedtime and making these post boxes, which are a reference to the post system the March sisters set up in Little Women. These were all books I adored as a child and it’s been a delight to read them to my own daughters.

I’m hoping the post boxes will inspire some letter writing for the remainder of the rainy Easter holidays and it made me feel that the ruinous £80 quid plus I just spent on Summer term school shoes has at least had some fringe benefits.

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