Monday, 26 November 2007

comparatively speaking

Looking after a baby is much like working in the Entertainment Industry. You are tired all the time, you are constantly trying to please someone else who doesn't explain adequately what they want and screams when you don't deliver, there are long hours, patchy sleep, randomly spaced meals, people being sick at odd hours of the night and some of the time ear defenders would be helpful. You just don't have anyone grown-up to share any of it with.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

of sisters and rayburns

We were supposed to be going to Somerset this weekend, but we called it off because B was starting to fray at the seams a bit about the amount of work he had on.

This was a Slightly Bad Thing from the point of view of Ma and Sister-Natalie, because they both had really un-get-out-of-able things to do on Saturday morning and B and I had arranged that we would look after Pa whilst they were out. Pa can't be left, you see; he shouts continuously if he's left for even ten minutes and he needs help with even the most simple things. He still can't walk, or even stand independently and two carers are still coming in four times a day to lift him, dress him, toilet him, get him up and put him to bed.

So, we both felt bad about not going. But B was so stressed that we felt it was our only option; he has been getting stomach pain severe enough to prompt him to get a doctor's appointment on Monday morning.

Despite all their own issues, Ma and Natalie really rallied round for us, yet again. Natalie offered to meet me half way yesterday and take Leo for the weekend so that B and I could sort ourselves out. This would entail roughly a five hour round trip for her; and given that she and I haven't had the most comfortable of relationships over the last, well, two decades, was a pretty nice thing to do. Although she did point out that it wasn't me she was keen to see, it was the baby :).

In the end we decided not to take them up on their offer, both on the grounds that they had loads on themselves; and that actually, B finds hanging out with Leo quite relaxing. Instead, we worked until 2.30pm yesterday and then broke and went out for lunch in Welshpool. And then we did the same today and spent a couple of hours up in the garden. B has pretty much got done all he needed to be done; and that really wouldn't have happened if we'd gone away. As Jackylhunter pointed out, time is often B's Flexible Friend - and this was really a case of full head = no ability to think, plan or even make tea.

If you can't make tea, then you are STRESSED.

Natalie and Ma seem to have made out okay without us - they got a friend to come in and look after Pa for a couple of hours this morning. Natalie helped Pa with his toileting before she went out - it's something he gets really anxious about and she was very nervous about having to deal with it. I think you have reached a threshold in maturity when you have to help a parent wipe their own bottom.

On the phone earlier this evening:

Me: I'm just ringing to see how things went and how you all are.
Natalie: Situation normal really. Ma is skinning six rabbits in the kitchen and Pa wants the commode.
Me: [snort]
B: That's going straight on the blog you know ...
Natalie: [resigned and dry] I'm going to start my own blog I think.

I am really pleased that after all this time we are getting on better. It is partly down to B and partly down to Leo. I am not taking anything for granted about how Natalie feels about anything, but I am really enjoying it.

Now I am going to nag B until he climbs in to the space under the stairs and gets out another gallon of Apricot Wine. Then I am going to drink some Apricot Wine. And then I am going to bed.

Tomorrow I am going to plant some garlic, visit some friends and potentially go and meet a chap who restores rayburns in order to convert our two Rayburns Of The Mind* in to an Actual Rayburn.

* I bought another stove, a Rayburn-Analogue and it turns out to have a broken door-catch. I am in negotiations with the seller to pay for repairs. But I am also in negotiations with a chap who lives close to us to part-exchange both Rayburns Of The Mind for a functioning one.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


B: You know when I said that I had two hours work to do this afternoon?
Me: Yes?
B: Well, strike that. Make it six.
Me: Why?
B: I didn't take in to account doing a nappy change, him being sick after having a feed, doing a poo and then having really bad wind.
Me: Would you like some tea?

Thursday, 8 November 2007

in brief

B's been away for two nights - only one more to go. I have no idea how single parents manage this on an ongoing basis - I am exhausted.

Tomorrow, Leo and I rendevouz with B at his parents - we are staying with them for the weekend. I am desperately hoping that Kate will volunteer to look after Leo for a night so that I can get some unbroken sleep. His reflux is not a great deal better and he keeps his feed down much more successfully if I only give him small quantities - say three ounces at a time. This means that he wants feeding every two hours during the day - although at night for some reason (do not question, just give thanks) he seems to be taking more and it's not coming back up so much.

Banana Cake recipe here. Go on, go for it and then tell me what you think. I didn't add the zest.

We still have half a wall in a pile in the middle of the small living room, as part of the process of turning it in to a kitchen. There is grit everywhere. We are hoping to get it done by mid-winter. I have my doubts.

Blogging is severely restricted at the moment, due to Life getting in the way - I'm annoyed with myself - even if I have the time, eg, now, my brain is so cabbaged that I can't construct a coherent post. And if I drop in on other people I can't think of anything sensible to leave in the comments. Please tell me that this phase won't last for ever?

Also, I recommend NOT carrying a gallon and a half of sugar solution, two beehive crown-boards and a smoker up to the top of the garden and then lifting the top off the beehives on your own unless you want to feel as if your womb is falling out. I won't be doing that again.

Now, I'm going to make Christmas cake. All the ingredients are in a big pile on the kitchen worktop and I am determined not to leave them there until January, which was what happened last year.

Friday, 2 November 2007

research opportunity

At what point does banana cake become walnut cake with bananas?

I have to admit to not being a big walnut fan - and that was even before one of the Montgomeryshire Domestic Sluts described them to me yesterday as 'pickled rat brains'. But the recipe said add 2oz of walnuts, so that's what I did. Plus four bananas. That's a LOT of the pesky things - but that's okay, as we HAD a lot, slowly going black and squidgy on the windowsill and acting as winter quarters for all the fruit flies in the world.

And to my uninitiated, naive self, the ratio of bananas to walnuts seems plausible.

But ... no.

The cake tastes kind of bitter. Wierdly bitter. Not at all banana-ery. In fact, a discerning person would describe it as, well, walnutty.

Which begs the question - should it be Banana Cake? Or is the lack of any kind of walnut reference in the title misleading? Today I have eaten the rest of the thing (purely as a research exercise) and I am still unsure. However, I am so obsessed with it (you think about the most peculiar things whilst feeding a baby at 3am, trust me), that I am prepared to put some funding in to a trial to gather consumer opinion.

On Sunday, I will make another cake. If you email me your snail mail address before Monday 4pm, I will post a reasonable-sized piece of cake out to you so that we can have some sort of consensus later in the week.

In other news:
  • This week we have taken forty pounds of honey off of our beehives. That's loads - certainly our own personal annual supply of honey, so long as we don't get Tempted By The Dark Side in to making mead. I've got some photos and will do a 'this is how it went' post later on.
  • Leo is still sicky as Mr Sick The Sick Boy, but he seems quite happy in between throwing up. And you soon get used to smelling vaguely of undigested formula, don't you?
  • Ooooh, and I got two new hens. Of which I haven't taken any photos yet because they haven't come out of the house at a suitably photogenic moment.
  • The Great DIY Plan has hit a slight hiatus - our Rayburn has a crack that may potentially leak Lethal Rayburn Gases in to the room and kill us all in an unsightly and inconvenient manner. Advice I have taken from Rayburn Experts leads me to believe that it will probably work out cheaper to buy a whole other Rayburn on eBay than repair this one. Eeep. In the meantime, our living room now has a pile of bricks at one end and I am watching various eBay auctions for free-standing kitchen units like a hungry hawk.
For now, that is all.

Oh, except, continuing apologies for my blogroll still being knackered - I need to strip the addresses out of Blogrolling and shove them in the template manually, as blogrolling appeared to be slowing everything down to glacial speeds; but that involves having my head together for about an hour and so isn't going to happen until B is at home and Of This World simultaneously.