Wednesday, October 29, 2014

close enough for horseshoes


That is a picture of horseshoe crabs being drained of 30% of their blood (which the article says is 'not usually fatal'). Sherlock read this to me and then asked me a number of questions I couldn't answer, including 'Why does our blood use iron and theirs uses copper and how can I make mine use copper so that it's blue?' If you would also like to turn your blood blue, I'm sorry, I can't help you.

The barber (this was while we were both getting our hair cut) wanted to know what would make Spock's blood green. I couldn't help him either. Maybe that's why I've ended up with a haircut that makes me look like a deranged squirrel. Sherlock speculated nickle, or a different sort of iron. (His hair looks fine.)

Greg laughed when he came home and then kissed me and then laughed some more and asked if I wanted curry, so it must be bad. Still, curry.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

tomorrow tomorrow

Tomorrow is race day. If you never hear from us again, assume we are still plodding along the track, hours or even days after everyone else has finished. If nothing else, I expect this to cure me entirely of ever wanting to do the Marathon des Sables. But maybe a full marathon next year if this works out without major agony or injury. One that doesn't take place in a desert with sandstorms and no roads and dehydration.

On a completely different subject, classical music. Sherlock's school has been showing them this thing. If you don't live here, I'm not sure that will play for you, so here's a youtube thing about it:




It's aimed at making classical music more accessible to children, which is nice, but I'm not completely convinced that the way they're going about it is...useful? Or possibly I'm just too old to appreciate it. Sherlock likes the music and hates the rest of it, as you might expect. He says they don't need to make it exciting, it's already exciting, people just need to listen properly (for accuracy, imagine those last two words in all caps).

Sometimes I wonder if the weight we put on classical music, classic literature, etc is really a good thing. Isn't art meant to speak to us as we are now? Not that there's anything wrong with the classics, but the assumption seems to be that they're better than what people are making now, and I'm not sure that's true.

Anyway, wish us luck tomorrow! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

under the artificial sea

There is almost too much to cover about Sherlock's birthday trip, but the aquarium was a bit hit. Have some pictures. Here is a queen angelfish to start with...


And Sherlock's favourite, the sawfish...



Some very nice jellyfish...


And some...things. You'll have to ask Sherlock about these as I can't remember what they are. 


Since we got back, Sherlock has drawn a design for a ceiling aquarium that would contain sawfish, so they could swim above him while he sleeps. He dragged someone up here from security who used to work in demolitions and consulted her about load bearing walls and weight tolerances. She says she thinks it might work.

Obviously, he's not getting a ceiling aquarium, but I am slightly nostalgic for the days when I could tell him the ceiling would probably collapse and he'd just believe me instead of calling in an expert. He's baking her biscuits as a thank you. Ten years from now I imagine he'll rule half of London and live in a house made of glass and fish and glitter.

Oh, and one more thing...


I know just how he feels. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

happy birthday sherlock!

Well...we've had cake, we've had sushi, we've had experimental cake sushi made by Sherlock (cake bits flattened out and rolled around icing). And I had a shock this morning when Sherlock walked into our room, announced that was NINE and that in JUST FOUR YEARS he would be a teenager. Then he said he was old enough to make his own breakfast and walked out again.

L and I stared at each other for a little while, three quarters asleep, and then got up to go after him in case he decided he was old enough to cook bacon and burn the kitchen down. When we got to the kitchen, he told us with great scorn that he was just making toast, god, and said it so exactly the way Carla does that neither of us could help laughing.

Sorry, Sherlock. You are old enough to make toast, certainly, and for many other things, and you seem to be getting more grown up every day. It's a joy to have you in our lives. Happy birthday! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

tall ships

You've heard a bit about the trip on L's blog, but here are some pictures...






There was also a bit where kids could put on a climbing harness and climb rigging...which Sherlock loved, as you might imagine. Although he did argue about the climbing harness for about five minutes before he agreed to put it on, on the grounds that he wouldn't have had to if he'd gone to sea a few centuries ago and he'd have been in battles and everything and he bet there were pirates somewhere in the world right now that would let him climb things without a harness, which he didn't need, at all.

I told him that poem-- All I need is a tall ship and a star to steer her by -- and he decided John Masefield was obviously a pirate. Nothing I said could convince him otherwise. Are you sensing a theme?

L and Mycroft and I have heard the word pirate so many times since that day that I think it's lost all meaning for us. Piratepiratepirate. He was so quiet in his room after school yesterday that I went up to check and was shocked to find him doing his homework and not, as I had suspected, making pirate hats for the degus. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

the wedding

I seem to have ended up mostly with pictures of the food, which I'm sure won't surprise any of you. The amount of cheese was... Well, this is only a fraction of it. 


The dessert, a sort of Eton mess type thing:


Post-ceremony ice cream...


Sherlock was very excited about the swords, about getting to hold one, about them cutting the cake with one...pretty sure the swords were his favourite bit. Or the number of people around who were prepared to have mock pirate battles with him using sticks or forks or in one case pieces of cheese. 

There was also a bouncy castle, which we did not get kicked out of. I really thought we might, but honestly there were more adults than kids in it. If you define 'adult' purely in terms of age. It was Spence's idea. I'm not at all surprised. Even Mycroft went in with us for a bit. 

I think both he and Sherlock danced more than we did. There were a number of girls around Mycroft's age who asked him, and Sherlock asked...nearly everyone I think? And danced by himself when no partner was forthcoming. 

And now...it's our anniversary. Seems like quite a nice way to spend it, and I admit I'm very glad L got home in time. No anniversary is ideal when spent apart, but particularly the first one - that didn't seem quite fair. Life isn't, of course, but as Sherlock says: well it should be!

Monday, August 18, 2014

depressing poetry and the garden

Believe It
Joshua Mehigan

Hard to believe that, after all of it,
in bed for good now, knowing you haven’t done
one thing of any lasting benefit
or grasped how to be happy, or had fun,
you must surrender everything and pass
into a new condition that is not
night, or a country, or sleep, or peace,
but nothing, ever, anymore, for you.

... I almost feel like I should apologize for posting that one. Not the most cheerful thing in the world. But it really struck me.

Anyhow. Allotment pictures. The squash is growing. Slowly. The blossoms this year  keep being eaten by something. This is the first one that's made it past the blooming stage, and I feel like I ought to surround it with a small barbwire fence.


And these, finally, are the red Thai beans that Sherlock is so excited about. They're not as long as they're supposed to get, but they're already longer than my hand. And a lovely color, don't you think?



Finally, mulberries. Found while we were out walking. L, is there anything you want to cook with them when you get back, or shall we just piggishly eat them out of hand?


I'm missing my husband already, quite a bit. Sherlock managed to give me the silent treatment this morning for all of an hour for not letting him go with Greg to Ascension Island. Then he gave up in favor of explaining the elaborate cake we were going to bake for his return. He wants it to be shaped like a topographic map of the island...with glitter. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

paris, mainly in the rain

Paris! I actually only have pictures of the Eiffel Tower right now...and to be honest most of the photos we've taken have been of ourselves making ridiculous faces in front of various monuments to send to the boys. Got one back from Mycroft standing solemnly in front of the shop where he works holding an ice cream just out of Sherlock's reach. 

We climbed all of the Eiffel Tower that you can climb... 


I'm quite glad you can't climb all of it. This is from the second tier:

And from the third...


I think we did better than we would have before we started the half marathon training though. Today...rain. Hiding in a church from the raining. Getting briefly naked together as we changed clothes in a church in the rain... And Giverny, very briefly, in between the rain. We'll be home in time for dinner! Probably. Unless we get washed away.

Yesterday, among other things, we did this...


You can see ours a bit to the left of the pink ones. Hopefully it'll be there for many years to come, but part of the Ponte des Artes collapsed earlier this year under the weight, so who knows... 

The other things we did yesterday included a lot of walking and talking and eating, all of which we do at home, but it's different. I've been to Paris before and honestly not liked it all that much - not that I disliked it, but compared to other places it seemed a bit grey. Being here with L makes it seem like an entirely different city. I really can't describe how lovely this trip has been. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

short

Greg's birthday is this week. Wednesday, in fact. I'm reminding him of this because he might want to take some time off. In case he gets a surprise trip somewhere. I'm just saying, it's not out of the realm of possibility. I thought about making it more surprising than this, but I think the destination will be enough.

The boys are going to stay with their mum, or, at least Sherlock is. Mycroft is insisting that he's old enough to stay here on his own. Which I think is fair enough, but that's ultimately his mum's decision, so I'll let them fight it out. It'd certainly be easier for him to get to work from here than from her place.

That's about it from me, except to say that I still have blackberry stains under my fingernails from picking them with Sherlock the other day. They may be permanent.

And I'm adding this in because L just showed it to me... A memorial for the people who died in World War I. Article here.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

quantum

So apparently last year, this biologist did a poetry offshoot of Nanowrimo wherein you write a poem every day for a month. Hers are science oriented and illustrated, and I like them a lot. Link to the article here, and if you look at the end of it, there's also a link to where she's selling the book if you want it. There's also a few more of the poems. Sherlock likes the one about the bees, unsurprisingly. 


In other news, something besides us is eating our lettuce. Rabbits, I assume. Squirrels? Do they eat lettuce? The chard isn't doing at all well either, but I do have five fairly massive cucumbers sitting in the fridge, and there are more growing. Quite quickly. L may run out of things to do with them before the summer's over. (Not like that, I know what you're all thinking.)


The summer holidays are officially here. Sherlock tells me it's BOILING and we need to go swimming immediately and repeatedly and preferably in the fjords of Norway. He also wants to go to Iceland and eat puffins and also bring one home as a pet... L and I have been talking about a trip, but I'm not sure it's going to include puffins.

We went to visit Jo and Lisa and Tadhg, who is amazingly tiny and looks even smaller when L is holding him. He was very quiet and sleepy while we were there, but Jo and Lisa assure us that he cries non-stop when they're trying to sleep, which I suppose is the way of all babies. Sherlock held him for about 20 seconds and then asked when he'd be old enough to eat biscuits or talk. I suppose whichever came first?

And finally here is a thing about Richard III's grave.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

naked with a belt



Tollund Man, for instance, was found with a belt but no clothes. "It doesn't make sense to be naked and have a belt," Frei pointed out.

True... The rest of the article is here and talks about the possibility that they were tossing foreigners into the bog, not in some sort of religious ritual, but as an alternative to burying them with everyone else. But basically no one actually knows. 

And this is an overview of the allotment... 



We have lots of little green tomatoes. Something keeps taking one bite out of each one and then leaving the rest, but there are so many that surely some will ripen...eventually. We have beans and lettuce and a surprisingly small amount of chard, which got a late start. The enormous Thai purple beans show no sign of flowering yet, let alone doing anything else, but fingers crossed. Sherlock is very excited about them (so am I). 

A woman named Mary has a plot a little way down from ours. She has a silverbell tree (currently about four feet tall, but she says they're meant to grow up to thirty feet and that she'll keep it trimmed and good luck to her with that...), a border of cockle shells, and marigolds all in a row. This led to a discussion of nursery rhymes with Sherlock and the implication from L that Little Boy Blue blowing his horn was about...well, you can guess. And also, bizarrely, to Sherlock wanting to read The Secret Garden, once he was assured it didn't have any talking animals or other such nonsense. Not sure how that one's going to go, since it's also distinctly lacking in pirates, booty, and mysterious corpses. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

cucumbers and cats


Cucumber: the first of many. There are a million flowers and quite a few tiny cucumbers as well. This is the first moderately full sized one. Sherlock picked it and did not heed any warnings from me or Mycroft about the prickles all over it. He took them personally. I've seldom seen anyone that annoyed with a plant.

Also, L sent me this...



It's a book...of newspaper articles...about cats that hate cops. I think he's trying to say something about Maf. It's a weak case, considering how often she sleeps on his shoulder while he sits on the sofa. She's cleaning the top of his ear right now, and he's poking her every few seconds before it tickles, but she's determined.

She's doing all right with the dogs - holding her own. Using them as transport and things to jump off of in order to get onto the kitchen counter or the top of the table. I'm waiting for she and the dogs to start working in concert. With her brains and their brawn, I think they could get the fridge open. Then we'll really be in trouble. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

on a boat

Well...we're a on a ship. Sherlock and I and Mrs N and another teacher and roughly one million small children. The sound really bounces around in here when they shriek. As they do when Sherlock insists on telling gruesome pirate stories just before bedtime and acting them out by trying to jump on people like an animated skeleton would. After I put a stop to that for the third time, Mrs N came by to tell me she was so glad I'd decided to come along...ha.

In theory, they're sleeping now. In reality, they're talking in what they think are quiet whispers that adults can't hear, and they're mistaken. Which makes me wonder with some amount of paranoia just how much my parents and teachers chose to ignore when I was younger.

Glad I'm here though. It is fairly warm and slightly dank with a vaguely peculiar smell, but still - we're sleeping in a ship. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

the tennis

Well...Federer's in the final. I wasn't expecting that, to be honest, even though I put him down to win the whole thing in our tennis pool. I thought he'd go out to Rafa in the semis. Now that there's a chance he might actually win the whole thing, I'm bizarrely nervous. I've also done something to my back and may end up watching the final from a prone position on the sofa while avoiding any sudden movements.

I've been at the allotment a lot (that and the back may be related), and things are coming along surprisingly well. Sherlock wants us to plant watermelons, but I think it's too late (?) and also given the planting instructions, they might well take up the entire allotment. Space 6-8 feet apart! Still, maybe next year. Fruit seems to be our downfall (blueberry bush shows no sign that it might ever consider producing anything except leaves).

Mycroft is doing well in his new job, to no one's surprise. We went for a visit and Sherlock did not consume their entire supply of ice cream, although he is now convinced that, having got it once for free, he will get free ice cream there forever. Presumably even when he's grown. I tried to pay for it this time, but the woman who runs the shop thinks he's 'precious and a very polite young man' and since he actually is very polite with her, I didn't want to press the issue.

In other news, Murray's seeing someone, and she's apparently tennis mad. They went and camped in the queue for tickets. Murray said it was a lot like the Army but with less nudity and more swearing. Not sure if he was serious or not. He sent me pictures, one of court 18 and part of his finger and one of someone who had a Federthemed umbrella:



Sunday, June 29, 2014

hawkeye




I feel like L posted this already in the comments somewhere, but in case he didn't, here is Rufus the pigeon chasing hawk of Wimbledon. And if anyone knows who's doing the voiceover, I would really like to know. He sounds so familiar.

One of the first times Sherlock watched tennis with me, one of the commentators talked about Federer's dislike of Hawkeye, and Sherlock was convinced for days that Hawkeye must be an actual person, because who would dislike a computer system, that just wouldn't make any sense, right? I have a picture he drew somewhere of Hawkeye scowling. He had an eyepatch I believe.

We have Mycroft home again with all his things, all over the living room, and all his dogs, also all over the living room (and Anthea, not all over the living room). He said there was no point taking it all up to his room as he'd have to bring it down to wash most of it tomorrow, which I think means he's turning into an actual teenager. Also his shoes have formed a nest with L's by the door to trip unwary newcomers.

And now I should probably get to bed. L and I have been up talking about the op he has coming up, which I mention only as an excuse for being up so late because I know you lot will worry otherwise. It's...not ideal, but nothing too bad. And of course if it goes well, the result will be a very good one, so fingers crossed. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

in the street

First, this:



I was hoping to get this up in time for L to see it at work and hurt himself trying not to laugh, but obviously I didn't make it.

Sports day was good. No serious injuries, no incidents of vomiting due to excess cake ingestion. At least not any that I had to clean up. The way some of the children were bouncing around, there might've been problems in the car on the way home.

As reported in the comments, L lost in the sack. Race. I did all right in mine. I'm fairly sure Sherlock won at consuming the most cake and also at thrusting slices upon people while informing them that he helped make it, which was only slightly true. He did help with the icing the night before. The lemon one with potatoes in did not taste at all like potatoes. It was delicious.

The Army instilled a certain wariness of obstacle courses in me, but one of you said that it would probably be designed for small children and not very fit parents, and you were quite right, which was a relief. The last time I did one, there was mud and icy rain and definitely no cake afterward. This was an improvement.

In tennis news, Wimbledon is coming up, and L suggested doing a thing for that like we're doing for the football, and Becca has kindly volunteered to set us up with something. Don't worry if you don't know anything about it. No one really knows what's going to happen. You can make assumptions, but all it takes is one bad day and the favorite is out in the second round. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

put up a plaque

A couple of pictures from yesterday. The Red Arrows, against a dramatically cloudy sky. They picked a good day for it, didn't they? Couldn't look better against pure blue. 



And then there's this... Floor plaque in a crypt we wandered into. That sounds...not quite right. It was open to the public. There was no breaking and entering involved.


Although Sherlock did say he wanted the plaque for his bedroom. I imagine by the time he's fourteen, he'll want the walls painted black with glow in the dark skulls and posters of Mozart and Nicola Tesla taped to his ceiling. Something like that.

Not pictured: a lot of naked (and occasionally clothed) people on bicycles. If you want to know why, you can check the comments in L's blog, but I prefer it without context. Just loads of people riding bikes in the nude.

It's been a lovely weekend. Back to usual tomorrow, and I have work as well. I'm glad I'm doing this job, and I wouldn't want to stop, but there are times that I dread getting called out, not knowing if it'll  be someone who's had enough vodka to kill a cow or a kid who's done nothing but exist in the same flat as his father when his father's had not quite enough vodka to kill a cow.

I fell asleep briefly last night watching L watch the football with Sherlock, both of them intent, in much the same posture, hunched forward, hands gripping knees. I woke up at their collective  shriek of...I'm not even sure whether it was victory or defeat, I didn't see the goal. Just flailed a bit and fell off the couch. I just feel incredibly lucky sometimes, and that was one of those times, despite being prostrate on the floor with a small cat helpfully licking my hair while Sherlock laughed and Greg asked me if I'd hurt myself...and then laughed. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

desert flowers

Keith Douglas was wounded by a mine in north Africa in World War II. You can read more about him here if you want to. This poem, says the article, was most likely written while he was recovering in El Ballah General Hospital, Palestine, in 1943.

Desert Flowers
Keith Douglas
 
Living in a wide landscape are the flowers –
Rosenberg I only repeat what you were saying –
the shell and the hawk every hour
are slaying men and jerboas, slaying

the mind: but the body can fill
the hungry flowers and the dogs who cry words
at nights, the most hostile things of all.
But that is not news. Each time the night discards

draperies on the eyes and leaves the mind awake
I look each side of the door of sleep
for the little coin it will take
to buy the secret I shall not keep.

I see men as trees suffering
or confound the detail and the horizon.
Lay the coin on my tongue and I will sing
of what the others never set eyes on.

I haven't been out to Red's grave yet this year. Things got complicated with half term and trips and chickenpox and sad little cone cats. I'd like to go soon though. I had meant to tell you a story about him, but it's late and I'm somehow still awake, but only in body. My brain isn't up to much right now. You know those nights when there is no logical reason you should still be awake, but you are? Yeah.

Instead, here is the picture of our blueberry bush that I couldn't find before. No flowers, as you see. It's probably too late to flower now, isn't it? Next year.


We've got kale planted as well and coming up with tiny, oddly shaped leaves. That's a first for us this year and for me specifically. My mum never grew it.

Maf keeps headbutting me with the edge of her cone. Trust her to come up with a way to weaponise it. I think she wants me back in bed with my head in the appropriate spot for her to curl up around it. I'll go and give it another try. Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

cone of shame

Maf has been in for her operation. We now have a small cone cat.


She is not happy with me, but she still prefers to be bodily attached to me at all times. I assume so she can stick her claws in whenever she wants to. The worst was fishing her out from behind the refrigerator today. Claw marks nearly all the way from my wrist to my elbow. She doesn't seem to have done herself any harm in her short time without the cone though, so that's good.  

The allotment is doing well. Here is some chard that the squirrels haven't eaten yet. We're going to have to replant the rest.


Chives... Looking happy and delicious.


Those red beans that are meant to grow as long as someone's arm. Tiny right now, of course, but we have high hopes.


And cucumbers with a frame for them to climb up. We've got some lettuce planted under the frame so that the cucumbers can shade it if it gets too hot.


I thought I had a picture of the supposedly pink blueberry bush from last year, But I can't find it. It's not doing anything yet anyway, and I think it should have flowered by now if it were going to. Looks healthy though. We might have to wait another year for berries.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

puzzlewood

We went to Puzzlewood. Here are some photos which are definitely not ours - they're much too good.








It's really...I feel like the word magical gets overused a lot, but it seems apt in this case. Even shared with a load of other people with children to entertain over half term, it was pretty amazing. Makes you wonder what it would be like to come upon it unexpectedly, alone, like walking into A Midsummer Night's Dream.

That's my opinion, anyway. Sherlock had his own ideas: i.e. it was a very large, green pirate ship, particularly the bridges. Well, obviously, right? There was a lot of stick fencing, primarily between Sherlock and the air, but at one point he called Mycroft's dogs (not present to defend themselves) blackguards, and there was a duel. Invisible flintlock pistols at (nowhere near) dawn, fairly tame piratey insults exchanged...

S: Your mum's...a hopeless landlubber!
M: She gets a bit seasick, that's all. I think that's uncalled for.

I sent the video to Mrs H. She firmly denies getting seasick at all, ever.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

taken over by cats

Sherlock made these while he was resenting not being able to go to the park or to the polls or anywhere else. It's L and I as cats...



  I'm the grumpy one. You may have guessed. You can make your own here. I did one of Sherlock...


I imagine the little spiral is because he's dizzy from seeing how many times he could spin around without falling down, which is one of the ways he  has entertained himself. Fortunately, Mycroft is home now and more less willing to keep him from passing out from sheer ennui. They're planning a trip, belatedly, for Mycroft's birthday. Which may or may not end up happening, depending on time and the scope of the journey in question, but it's looking good right now. Details as the situation develops.    

Mycroft asked me not to make a cat out of him, but he didn't ask anyone else not to. Perhaps an oversight on his part. Just saying.

Monday, May 19, 2014

not too spotty

Sherlock continues tired, not too spotty and intermittently cranky, which is to be expected. He has consumed his entire body weight in homemade ice lollies several times over. I hope L keeps making them all summer. The lemon-basil ones were not a hit with Sherlock, but I love them.

Speaking of basil, it exists in the allotment. Our little non-producing blueberry bush looks happier this year, so perhaps we'll get some actual berries out of it (although Sherlock informs me that most things we call berries are technically droops drupes, but he doesn't know if that includes blueberries or not, and Johnnnnnn stop typing so I can look it upppppp why can't I use your phoneeeeeeee [answer: because of the 38 texts he sent L in a two hour period before I took it away from him]).

We will also have these enormously long Thai red beans:






They stay that color when you cook them, which Sherlock is very pleased about. Most of them that aren't green to start with turn green when you cook them. They also apparently get about as long as your arm, which should be something to see.

I'm going to let Sherlock look up droops now. Talk to you all later.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

adventures at the supermarket

Sherlock and I went to the supermarket today after school. We got the usual: tea, bread, eggs, bacon. Probably more chocolate than any one household should contain. We usually do the produce section last because by that time Sherlock has calmed down enough that he won't want to take every single odd fruit home with him.

I was not counting on giant watermelons.   

(No one expects the giant watermelons.)

I suppose they weren't that big, in the scheme of things, but they were certainly big enough to attract Sherlock's attention, along with the attention of every other child in the supermarket. There were a lot. Of children. There always are when we go after school, for obvious reasons. Which is why I try to go during the day, but occasionally I forget what it's like, and today was one of those days. 

 I'm glad, because if I'd gone during the day I would've missed the sight of Sherlock and five other kids of varying ages standing around the stack of watermelons and gazing in awe as if at their new god.

One of the mothers, looking particularly harried (and her child particularly sticky with some kind of purple substance on his face), told me that he would get one slice and that she was going to fill the rest with vodka and throw a party. In Antarctica.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

happy almost birthday mycroft

It'll be Mycroft's birthday on Saturday. He'll be 16, if you can believe it. I can't. I know I go through this every time one of the boys has a birthday, as if the passage of another year is some sort of once-in-a-lifetime miracle instead of something that happens, unarguably, on a regular (yearly) basis. I suppose, in some ways, time and our ability to perceive it and the changes it works on us and our lives is fairly amazing when you think about it.  

Pretty sure that doesn't give me an excuse to be astounded every single year though.

Anyhow, Greg and I looked into some birthday related things on his day off. I can't mention them here yet, of course, but I'm pretty sure Mycroft will approve. His mum has something in store for him as well-- something that makes me think she has at least partially reversed her position on security following him everywhere, which might be the best birthday present he'll get as far as he's concerned.

I'll try to limit most of the soppiness to your actual birthday, Mycroft, but you're an amazing young man, and I am terribly proud of you.

In other news, work has been mainly things I don't want to talk about here. There has been a decided lack of rats floating around in hatboxes and too many bad situations that could've been prevented. I'm starting to think that all FMEs should have psychological training and seriously thinking about getting some myself.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

paper microscopes



So...that's pretty amazing, right? Sherlock wants one, obviously, despite already having a microscope. He wants one he can carry with him everywhere. I told him I thought other people probably needed them more.

Got an invitation today to a friend's wedding - Spence, I think I've mentioned him here before, thought it was some time ago. I also got a phone call from him.

S: Are you bringing that policeman of yours?

Me: Why?

S: Because I think Jenna's [the bride] mother has a record and she'd probably on the run and he should arrest her on sight. Maybe her father too. And my brother. He might need back up.

Turns out he wanted to elope. I'm not surprised. This is a man who doesn't just dislike his own family but more or less the entire concept of family. I'm a bit shocked he's getting married.   Police intervention may be necessary though. Murray will be there, and there's an open bar.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

monday monday

Greg is not working tomorrow, and neither am I. Both the boys are back at school. Will we have enough energy to do anything besides nap on the sofa? That remains to be seen.

Maybe we can take a ride somewhere. Or a run. We're slightly behind in our training for the half marathon. Although we haven't decided which one we're going to do yet, so I suppose we can't technically be behind, and even if we were, were not as behind as I thought we might be by now.  

Mycroft and Sherlock did some training with me in the park once or twice. Mycroft keeps a steady pace and he's fit enough, but I think he finds running terribly boring (which, to be fair, it sort of is, in a way). Sherlock will run circles around me (literally) and then flop down, exhausted, in the grass. I think the dogs could outrun all of us.    

I was looking at that one in France again. I find myself unable to deny that it is very definitely in the mountains. Up some of them and down others. Also, on a trail and not on a road. Perhaps something different for our first race. Something shorter? Maybe something that the boys could do with us if they want to. Anyhow, it's good to have something to work toward.

Perhaps we could just go to France and not run at all...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

2am wakings with a small cat

Went to sleep with a cat on my head as usual. Woke up with her gone, which was nice. Wearing a fur hat to bed gets a little warm. We're going to have a problem in the summer. I was up for a while, went to make tea in the kitchen.

As I was waiting for the kettle to boil, the cabinet door opened ever so slowly, and Maf stepped out onto the top of my head. She stood there for a second and then sat down and hung her tail in my face. Given she can barely make it up onto the bed, I have no idea how she got in the cabinets. And I hope we're not going to find little piles of cat hair in there now.

Anyhow, we watched some tennis I'd recorded (Federer v Djokovic in Monte Carlo, Federer won), and I thought about things. She probably did too, but did not share her thoughts.

Did you know that Gabriel García Márquez died a few days ago? There's a quote from One Hundred Years of Solitude that I think about fairly often. A person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground. What if you think of it the other way around? If someone you cared for has died in a place, does that mean part of you belongs there? Does part of you stay behind and make a home there? We're supposed to carry the dead in our hearts, but what if they carry us?

I think Maf was probably considering how to bend the dogs to her will and use them as portable heating pads, which makes her far more sensible than I am.

Monday, April 14, 2014

three cats

My husband keeps silently meowing at me. He did it once in unison with Maf and has not stopped since. Says he caught it off her and she's clearly contagious. He appears to be right, since Sherlock has started doing it too.

And climbing trees and climbing Greg and getting his face in everyone else's food, but that's more or less normal behaviour...

We went to the park, well, various parks, looking for frogs, playing free-form rugby with the dogs, and now L and Mycroft are conferring about dinner. L is still trying to meow silently at me, but he makes himself laugh every time now. And me. And Sherlock. And Mycroft looks to Maf for sympathy. They are now the two most dignified people in the flat.

Also I caught her riding a dog earlier today.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

foxes and peacocks


 A peacock from the park, photo by Mycroft. And L sent me one of his cockney fox, for anyone who was wondering what it looked like...


This post is going to have very little actual content, just to warn you. Apart from the pictures. Which I didn't even take.

Sherlock is completely manic about being off of school, bouncing off the walls, sometimes literally. Races with the dogs, playing with the kitten until she is worn out (which takes some doing), dissecting a stick of butter (don't ask), inserting cloves into the middles of all the grapes (you can ask, but I have no answers). Mycroft retreated to his room by two this afternoon, and I don't blame him. Of course, maybe it was tactical, since I did then get a short break while Sherlock sat outside his door and demanded to be let in.

S: Let me innnnnnn.

M: No.

S: Whyyyyyyy?

M: Because.

S: Whyyyyyy?

Repeat ad nauseum. If it was on purpose, Mycroft, thank you. I sat down for five minutes. It was lovely.

Friday, April 4, 2014

maftet


This is Maftet when I found her. She's much cleaner now. She was hiding under a bin. Near the scene of a murder, yes, but not actually in it. Sherlock was disappointed to learn she didn't eat any of the body. The rest of us were relieved. Although if she had, you could hardly blame her. She was clearly hungry. Poor skinny little thing.

I didn't really check her for fleas before I picked her up and tucked her in my jacket. Just got lucky. Maybe she hadn't been a stray for long. She seemed friendly enough. Still does, despite minor damage done to L's hand...

I am definitely not spoiling her, don't listen to him. She needs toys just as much as the dogs do. And maybe if she has a bed she'll be less likely to want to sleep wrapped around my head. I worry I might roll over on her. Greg claims to worry she'll take his eye out in the middle of the night.

She and the dogs are still wary of each other. Deimos tried to play with her earlier and knocked her over. With his tongue. She puffed up and hissed, and they both ran away, Deimos to hide behind the sofa and Maftet to hide on my shoulder. It's going to be interesting, by which I mean painful, the first time she tries to climb me when I'm not fully dressed.

Anyhow, she's in and out and down with Mrs Hudson or security half the day. Greg still refers to her as 'my' cat (or my pussy...), but she's not really. We do seem to be keeping her though.