Saturday, June 29, 2002

Watty hums:

"Oh, it's such a perfect day / I'm glad I spent it with you..."

I've spent the day with the formerly spotty younger son. We went and played in Hyde Park, and had lunch in Kensington Gardens. There is no sensation finer than sprawling in the park, with an almost-two-year-old on your knee, allowing him to feed you Pringles while he talks nonsense to anyone passing by. Conor and I spend much less time together than I would like, so I'm overjoyed (and overtired) by today. Afterwards we trekked out to Heathrow and went: "Ooooh, planes!" a lot.


Thursday, June 27, 2002

Watty enthuses:

I may have mentioned this in passing before, but:
Danny Baker is a radio genius. Where else in the world might you find Emo Philips, Clare Grogan and the chance to be Fred Astaire? I laughed until I almost crashed the car....

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Watty scrambles to catch up:

OK, here's the thing - I haven't done a depression index for weeks now - the reason being that I have been almost entirely symptom-free in all that time. This is, as you might imagine, enormously encouraging. One of the oddest side-effects is that, for the first time in my adult life, I have fingernails. Now this is a really weird one - I had noticed before now that my nails tended to grow (that is, I tended not to chew them into oblivion) when I was relaxed - usually when I was on holiday, or some such. But they never lasted once I was back in my normal routine, and feeling any kind of stress / whatever. And stress is what I would always put it down as - but now, I think I know what it was. Of course, now they're growing and for the first time ever I can tap them menacingly on tabletops - not that I particularly recommend this habit - I don't even want to trim them; I want them to grow and grow. There's something superstitious about it; perhaps my depression will come back if I prune my source of strength. I broke a nail the other day (I broke a nail!) and I was distraught, but I'm successfully growing it back.

Of course, maybe I've just finally grown out of biting my nails.

Thanks to the above, I Pilged on Saturday with real enthusiasm. This was my fourth time, and all the usual nonsense prevailed while I just basked in it - I notice, to my astonishment, that I can cope with hectic social situations, including meeting and chatting to people I barely know - and although slightly more beer was consumed than is technically good for me, I suffered no ill-effects, thanks to the all-pervading sense of joy and fun. And thanks to the lengthy journey home.

One additional Pilg thing - I had the overwhelming wonder of overhearing some of my prose being quoted and praised around the table. I'd quite like to experience that again....

And then, the next wonder. On Sunday, Cameron and I went shopping - our family has carefully arranged for birthdays to occur in clusters, and we had lots to buy - and in order to have all the shops we needed close together, we went to Brent Cross, which is a 35 minute drive. Now, I have tried not to force things upon my chilldren - I reckon that they'll appreciate things better if they discover them for themselves - but this was too good an opportunity to miss: I asked Cameron if he would like to hear a story, and put on 'Peter and the Wolf', quite prepared to turn it off again if he objected. But he listened. He listened quite intently; he spotted the bird whenever the flute appeared; he sat in silence (Cameron! Silent!) as the story unfolded; he asked why the wolf ate the duck; he didn't want to get out of the car before it ended; he enjoyed it. And I won't push it; we'll listen again when he wants to hear it, not when I do. I love being a parent. Mostly.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Watty surfaces briefly:

I have a few things to catch up on; including a pilg; and to not much surprise really, I have no time to do it. But I'm still here...

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Watty sighs:

Chicken Pox redux: Hold that optimism. This morning, he's spotty again, and at least one of them is that nasty, crusted, fluid-filled blob which we remember and love so well. There is a chance that this will affect my ability to pilg on Saturday, but I hope not... Work. Really ought to do work.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Watty says:

What I did at the weekend:
Our annual day off together on Friday coincided with reasonable weather, so we went to London to look at... this. It's fabulous. Beautifully and thought-provokingly presented, it really opens up areas of both artists which might otherwise be overlooked. It also features some of their greatest works, some of which I have longed to see for years. Go and see it, I implore you. We did other things, too, including being entertained by the fountains at Somerset House. There aren't, however, enough hours in the day...

Then on Saturday, we did something which is becoming a tradition - a sunset flying display at Shuttleworth. Evening flying in the summer is just so damned civilized. The boys love it, because it's all quiet and sedate, but there's enough going on to keep them interested. Plus, they get to stay up well past their bedtimes.

And today, it's been, in the words of Cole Porter, 'Too Damn Hot'. Stop me before I ramble on about stripping off again...

Oh, and Conor's got chicken pox. We think. At least we've all had it now, and there won't be the trauma of last time, when Cameron managed to hava a mild dose, but infect his pregnant mother with the most virulent, offensive, fluid-filled things you've ever seen. Not a fun time, I tell you.
Stop press: just checked on him, and they seem to be fading. Maybe he doesn't have the pox...

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Watty chunters on:

Well, what about all those things down there I was going to ramble about? Try these for size:

  • Barbecues: No idea what I was going to say. Must have been insightful.
  • Clothing: OK, this comes from socks, really. The point at which, for me, the year starts to look up is the day when I can stop wearing socks at home. As soon as it's warm enough to be able to wander around outside in bare feet, I'm off, and so are most of my clothes. 'Most', however, ought really to be 'all' for those few days (weeks if we're lucky) where it's properly summer. But there are conventions, aren't there? What if the neighbours see? They shouldn't be looking in, says I - I do refuse to close curtains or cover up when changing in the privacy of my own home, and I will certainly shower with the window open in the summer, because it's a shower room, not a steam room. Should anyone peer in at my somewhat unshapely near-as-damnit 40-year old body, well - lucky them. Or not. Almost serious point here - we Brits (and not just us, but I speak only from experience) are dreadfully hung up about our bodies. Poor self-image is one of the things which underlies my depression, and I only realised it the day I strayed onto a clothing-optional beach. Eventually, I realised I was normal, and since then have been entirely casual about nakedness - I shall try to encourage the boys not to be hung up, too. I don't know what it does for the neighbours, but it does wonders for my mental health. And anyway, what is the point of wering something - anything - which can only make you hotter and more uncomfortable in the summer?
  • Tiredness / sleep The caffeine experiment has been a great success - I have had only one 'bad' day in nearly four months, but I'm tired all the time. Bone-achingly tired. I do sleep better now than when I first stopped caffeine, but it's still not enough - I need to think of something which will raise my level of alertness, especially at the end of the day - without filling my system with chemicals. Exercise is probably the answer.
  • Lactose Just a passing note that the diet appears to be helping Cameron (I won't go into details, the boy deserves his privacy)
  • The kilt: doesn't fit. I have the number of a kiltmaker in Hampshire somewhere (Yateley, I think - or is that Surrey?), and I have to bow to the inevitable: I'll never be 24 again, and neither will my waist; but it won't grace the upcoming pilg. Maybe next time. Still, it will save me from those who cannot resist checking to see if I'm a true Scot... (see above for possible clue to that)
  • World Cup: We went to the zoo down the road on the day of the ENgland - Sweden game. It was quieter than it might have been on a warm day, but it was surprising how many children in England strips there were. Surely if they are interested in the football they could be allowed to watch it instead of being dragged around the zoo? On such sensible compromises are stable families built, surely. But having all the games in the morning is irritating and is detracting slightly from my enjoyment. There's no point in me whining or being hemispherist about it, but I miss the warm late summer evenings of '94.
  • The Story: is almost done - I've written half of the next chapter, and I'm confident there will be only two more. Thing is, part of me doesn't want to finish it - I'm torn between seeing if I can do a convincing ending, tying up the loose ends and so on, and realising that it's done, and not knowing if I will have the energy or enthusiasm to do it again. It's taken over a year so far, which is not wildly productive for 30,000 or so words. I know that if I wanted to try to do it properly, I'd have to make a lot more time, and be a lot more discipined about it. For example, I should be doing that instead of this. *sigh*
  • The Golden Jubilee Just a small thought - I may have been somewhat cynical and mildly uninterested, but my children have lived through (and may just remember) an event which will surely show up in their grandchildren's history books in the way that Victoria's various jubilees did in my parents'. I don't know what that means, it just is. But I quite enjoyed the bit I saw of the classical concert.

Ah, well. Enough of this nonsense...

Monday, June 10, 2002

Watty says:

Another week seems to have slipped by. Hmmm.

So, my excuse this week is - we had no hot water for two days. The boiler went out on Thursday. Yours truly replaced the thermocouple on Thursday night, but I couldn't get the pilot to light afterwards - turns out I had dislodged the electrode, and in any case the gas jet pipe was clogged (which is why it went out in the first place.) Could we get an engineer on Friday? Apparently there was some football match or other, so no-one was working. At all. Got someone out on Saturday, who took all of 8 minutes to repair the problem and relieve me of nearly £80. Harumph. Still, at least we can have showers again.

A side effect of the lack of hot water was that I had the opportunity to be naked at my place of work on Friday morning. Which is not something I would normally recommend to everyone, but was a most curious experience. I should explain - we have a shower room here, for the use of those who - actually, I'm not sure who it's for: people occasionally go for a run at lunchtime, and one or two have been known to cycle in in the mornings, but it's not heavily used. Still, even though it is behind two locked doors, it was very strange to be disrobing in the office. More thoughts on nakedness will follow, if I can get my act together.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Watty makes a list:

I have thoughts on all of the following to post here. I might even get round to it someday...

  • On barbecues
  • On wearing too many clothes in the summer
  • On tiredness
  • On Lactose
  • On the wearing of the kilt
  • On going to the zoo when everyone else in the world is watching the World Cup
  • On almost getting a story finished
  • On sporting events in inconvenient timezones
  • On the Jubilee (I know, but...)
  • On sleep. Hang on, that's more a case of doing than writing about
I shall return...