Sunday, 31 July 2011

We said goodbye to my brother and his lovely family, after a truly wonderful day on the beach....swimming in crashing waves, BBQ lunch (LOTS of ketchup), ice creams, trampolining, footy and a play at the park.....and a few minutes later I found this forlorn little Thom, still sitting by the gate.
Me: Hey Thom, are you alright?
Thom (whispers): No
Me: Oh, what's wrong?
No answer, but a big sigh
Me: Are you feeling a bit sad?
Thom (whispers): Yes
Me: D'you know why?
Thom (whispers): Jack gone.

We're all feeling a bit like this..... I'll post some lovely happy photos soon, but just need to let this stand for a bit.

Hugs to the Brists.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Weekend Footy

A very special day.
We stayed at my big-little brother's for a couple of nights, and got to go and see Jack, his son, play footy one morning. It's so precious being able to do these normal things with family. And look at that sky!

This is Callad ('Uncle Ad' by Thom) and Eve practising footy skills.

And here's Thom, who spent the whole time on my lap with his 'poorly knee'. He fell over on the way and grazed his knee - one of those awful, oozy ones that Germolene won't stick to. He remembers, even now - when he saw the photo, straight away he said 'poorly knee' and showed me his scar. Poor chap.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Harry Potter's Friend

Eve being the ripe old age of six, we are fully into Harry Potter territory. Mummy and Daddy even got a night out at the cinema last night to watch the last film of the series. It is, as the mum of three small children, rather lovely to have wands to offer as an imaginative alternative to swords, whenever the inevitable sticks are picked up and wielded..... 'Swoosh!' they go, making no bodily contact. Phew......
But to get to the point - one girl, two boys = perfect Harry Pottering play. It's just that Thom, the little one, is Harry Potter, (obviously Eve is Hermione), and Noah is Ron. "I'm Harry Potter's friend," he tells me, with a pride that grazes my heart. There are not many older brothers who would say that, are there...?

Monday, 25 July 2011


There's a new park in Oswestry - I took the boys there a few weeks ago whilst Eve was playing with her best mate from her old school. I love that it is named after Wilfred Owen, Oswestry's most famous, I think. I have taught quite a lot of his poetry, letters and biography over the years, and so feel like I know him a lot better than I did as a grumpy fifteen year old, bored by yet more war poetry in a stuffy, crowded classroom. The park is such a lovely, joyful place. It feels painfully ironic taking my little boys to a place where they have such fun, which is named after a man who was little more than a boy, who died with so many thousands of other boys, in what had become such a terrible place, a hell. When I was still working I listened to Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks in the car on the way to work, and remember arriving at school a sobbing mess one morning, thinking that mothers of boys shouldn't have to teach about the first world war - just too bloody emotive!
So, having spotted the sign on the way into the park, I started thinking, as I watched them climbing so bravely (Recklessly? no. Carefully? no. Bravely will have to do,) how it must feel to see your child go to war. But like a sore tooth that you can't bear to prod with your tongue, my mind shied away.
Then I thought about the soldiers that really ARE still children.
There are still conscripted child soldiers all over the world. They were used in Nepal until recently - it is still being investigated. So, I sat and watched my boys, feeling so, so grateful, so ridiculously lucky to be an English mum. I know our society is not an easy one to grow up in, that there are dangers still, for all kids from all backgrounds but this is one thing I don't face as a possible threat (all though, damn, I am still touching wood). I suppose this is one of the many things I have learnt from ten months in a developing country - the art of being grateful for the luck I used to take for granted.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Greeners on Tour - Himley

I used to go to Himley as a kid, - I think me and most of my friends learnt to ride a bicycle on the long stretch of tarmac you see below. So it was particularly sweet and poignant that Evie pushed herself off, started pedalling and wehey!! (Courtesy of the boys' balance bike in KTM, I think....)

Then we walked up past the ponds and through the woods. I used to walk this way as a teenager, on my own, sometimes, just to get away from the Suburbia. I had to lift Thom up to show him the beauty of the cornfield and the oak tree. His first memories might be of Kathmandu, but I want there to be an 'undercoat' of the English countryside that I love so much.

Here are the three rascals with Grandma and Grandad Foxy, and Foxy the dog. (They used to be known as Grandma and Grandad Toby, but Toby the Jack Russell died a couple of years ago - Foxy is his successor- my kids are very factual, and not very sentimental.)

Greeners on Tour - Still Southsea

Sleeping rascals at Grandma Rosemary's house.

Windy seafront!

Rainy day - one of many - off to the Natural History Museum, and Butterly House with Clare and her two little kidlets.

A much-promised visit to the soft play and a surprise-sunshiney walk home.

(Eve is often teased that she is like Edie in Despicable Me - here she is looking VERY Edie....)

Greeners on Tour - Southsea

Just photos and a few words....... Yes it might be a typically chilly British summer, but they are hardy little rascals.....

Crab-fishing, play-grounding, splash-pooling, eating out with Grandma and Grandad - fantastic.