Fruity Sprinkles

Midi and Mini were out of bed and eating breakfast before Foster-Dirty-Stopout-Cat got back home this morning (0700hrs). I appear to have broken Maxi from last night’s cycle ride, though: I had to wake her up at 0830hrs. I can’t remember the last time she slept past 0600hrs, regardless of the time she’s eventually fallen asleep. Midi’s throat is no better. So with 1, possibly 2 minxes ill, I checked the met forecast and suggested places to visit.

strawberry punnet“I absolutely do not ever want to visit a boring old stone circle”, kiboshed Maxi. Oh. That’s 10 planned outdoor trips put on hold till next week, then… I checked the weather: gorgeous. Checked the fridge: empty. Time to go pick some stobbies (strawberries) then!

I like going to PYO fruit farms. Well, I like going to them when the memory stobby pickersof the last visit has faded. In my head I imagine the minxes patiently selecting Grade 1 ripe, delicious, perfect fruit, then gently plucking it and carefully nestling it in a punnet, to be eaten daintily later. The reality is me furiously trying to keep 6 clompy feet in between fruit bushes (as opposed to *on* fruit bushes) and 30 little fingers desperately grabbing at anything remotely red-coloured, whether it’s a fleck of red on unripe green, or a smear of red amongst hairy, mouldy white. *Usually* said unsuitable fruits are jammed under normal fruit, to lurk there until after they’ve been paid for, or occasionally shoved into defiant little mouths, despite me indoctrinating them that this is stealing.

stobsI keep going back because if you go at the end of the season when the fruits are scarcer and it takes longer to pick, then you get an hour’s outdoor activity that engrosses them, and a (paid for!) healthy fruit snack at the end, for less than most soft play centres and the like.

Today, it worked a treat! I didn’t see the minxes eat a single stobby, and they mostly picked brilliant fruits. Even if they were a weird mix of apple- and currant-sized…

gooseberryAfter filling a punnet each, we walked to the other side of the farm to find and pick gooseberries. Despite directions, we struggled to find them. Well, I can recognise lots of fruit bushes from a distance, but gooseberry…? And we were all a bit mislead when we reached the red gooseberries first. Yep – red. Gooseberries. Who knew?! We merrily set about picking a large handful for The Boss. It took me a fair while to realise that I have no idea at all whether a gooseberry is ripe or not. Hmmm. We’ll see if he complains…

Midi really started to flag (sore throat still), so we walked back to the car. Well, we *were*, till she spotted the go karts and zip wire, and raced off to have a play. Maxi played happily with her, and Mini raced around the 2 storey fort with me.

Don't get a job designing garden furniture, darling

Don’t get a job designing garden furniture, darling

After half an hour of racing and climbing and sliding and zipping and trampolining, the haar rolled in from the coast, so we set off for home. Nice and sunny here! Maxi made herself a strange seat in the garden and read in the shade. Despite being Calpolled to the eyeballs, Midi decided to be extremely obstinate and awkward. I’d just had a great time (!) shoving a week’s summer shop into our little fridge, so found it a doddle winkling my 6 yo out of her tv seat and shoving her out the door to the library. Where she suddenly turned into a whirling dervish.

sprinklerI wonder if the change in mien had anything to do with me promising to unearth the sprinkler…? It was such a hot day and our front lawn was yellow. Living in Scotland, there’s no hosepipe ban here, so I let the kids jump around the sprinkler on the front lawn as I moved it all over the place. There were very few rules: Don’t Get Mummy Wet (never broken – they know the fun will instantly end), and Don’t Sit on the Water Jets (broken every 10 seconds).

I meant to cook up a tasty, nutritious dinner, but let the girls scream their heads off for 45 minutes instead. When The Boss got home and could help keep an eye on them, we bunged pizza in the oven, corn-on-the-cob in the microwave, got the kids to shell peas (hey, that counts as a craft activity! 10 bonus points!) and ate outside. Picnic dinner was followed by cherry and yogurt pudding, then being allowed to play in the garden till 2030hrs because they were playing together so kindly and quietly.

But don’t go thinking that the day ended on that note of sisterly bliss: 10 minutes ago Maxi was threatening to kill herself because Midi wouldn’t return the library book that she wanted to read. One thing this household is never short of is hysteria.

Muddy, Grumpy and Tired Troutlings

“This is the best Mummy-Daughter Day EVER! Yoohoo!” hollered Maxi as she shot past me on her bike. Yessssssss!

We’d spent the weekend mostly being confined to a house or car (visiting much-loved relatives in Liverpool all weekend) and didn’t get back till midnight on Sunday, so today (Monday)’s been a bit of a washout. After The Boss went to work, we got up late (0830hrs), then dawdled around till the double appointment at the GP: Maxi now knows how to take care of her ingrowing toenails; Midi has one grommet left in; she also has a blood-shot eye that’s not apparently caused by anything sinister. Bonus.

We did a quick emergency food shop then blasted through the library. The poor librarian! Before we go in, I always try to calm the kids down and caution them not to barrel in yelling, but every time they last about 10 seconds before exploding in a 6-handed whirl of book-grabbing excitement. When we trogged home, Mini had a 20 minute ‘quiet time’ reading her library books in bed while I made lunch and did a mountain of laundry. Midi reluctantly helped me make up some naan bread mix. We left that to rise while we had an hour blowing away the cobwebs at the swing-park before dinner. The Boss made gujarati beans as soon as he got home from work while I drank some Lovely Cold Wine grilled the naans to go with the chicken-curry-from-a-jar.

Midi’s throat is still sore and her cough is no better from the weekend, so she and tired-out Mini got an early night with The Boss while I took Maxi out for a spin on her bike.

What a lovely evening! The Boss had given Maxi some bike lights for her bike that she footered around with happily. Being able to see her gleaming head and tail lights definitely encouraged me to let her go off further afield without me hovering over her: good for us both! I strode along in the dappled evening sunlight as Maxi chattered away merrily, enjoying the luxury of being able to pedal at her own pace and whizz through muddy puddles. When I reassured her that clothes clean up and not to bother about a few splashes, she zoomed through the mud with more glee. Attagirl!

Alas, our hour of fun came to an abrupt halt when we returned and a sobbing Midi threw herself into my arms – The Boss hadn’t told her where we’d gone, and she’d been regretting her constantly scowled “I wish you were dead, Mummy!” every time she loses her temper. I stroked her hair while the poor wee thing sat in my lap, describing how her head gets “muddled up” when she loses her temper, and how words come out that she doesn’t know she’s saying. She’s certainly my most tempestuous daughter. And her temper is completely from me. God help us both when she’s pubescent and I’m menopausal!!

Nursing Deja Vu

Still not much sleep – Mini was in and out of my bed all night long. I had to wake her at 0830hrs, so she wouldn’t end up ‘jet-lagged’, and I was so tired that I cancelled all my plans that involved driving. After yesterday, I banned the TV going on at all today. Perfect baking day, then!

Midi and I made a huge Dundee cake to take to some relatives. “Well, we nearly live in Dundee”, reasoned the ever-logical Maxi. That was fine, but I miscalculated how long it would take to bake. Alas, it meant lunch would be nearly an hour later than usual. Och well, that would give me lots of time to make home-made houmous and naan breads, and chop up some veg for dips.

While I was faffing around with that, the minxes decided they were fed up with loom-band crafting and drawing and wanted to run around the garden for a bit. Excellent! I coated Little Miss Alabaster-Crisp-In-10-Seconds in sunblock, nagged them all to put on sunhats, and insisted that they wear sandals or shoes. Four times I told Mini to “put something on your feet!” and asked her sisters to help me out by sweeping the sharp stones off the pathways and grass and back onto the gravel-bed things around the house.

In perfect synchronicity, the washing machine, oven and dishwasher were beeping at me, demanding attention. I ignored the 3 little humans demanding attention and went in to remove a cake from the oven, whack the grill onto ‘Nuclear’ and put the naan breads under it.

I watched the heavy, metal oven tray warp and twist under the fiery grill. Good grief… The naans puffed up and toasted beautifully. I put the first 2 under a tea-towel and got the 3rd under. Just as Midi came rushing into the kitchen yelling that her sister was bleeding.

Mini hobbled / hopped in to the kitchen, fat drops of blood dripping off her big toe. I turned off the grill and searched in vain for somewhere to put the stupid oven tray. Nowhere (the table was covered in loom bands and paper; the baking and cooking dirty dishes were on every other surface). I sat her on a stool and grabbed a square of kitchen roll. I gave her toe a quick check for foreign objects then pressed the piece of roll to her toe.

“Midi, come over here and be a nurse: press this onto Mini’s toe for a few minutes. Don’t let go. Not too hard. Hold her heel up high for her. Gently. Right. No-one move!”

Then I spent the 5 minutes it took the blood to stop finishing the stupid naan breads and trying to remember where I’d hidden the steri-strips. I was sure I’d not seen them when I’d patched up The Boss’s finger. Mini told me she’d trodden on a stone on her bare feet. So all those warnings and orders to put the shoes on were for nothing. She screamed blue murder when I cleaned up her foot in the bath. She shrieked at the Germolene. She roared when I made a steri-strip out of a roll of leukosilk. She sobbed at the sight of the Omnifix coming out the cupboard. All patched up and kissed better, she pouted that she still didn’t want to wear sandals and that her toe dressing wasn’t good enough to be able to run around outside on in bare feet.

Give.Me.Strength.

Still, it gave me the opportunity to shower praise on Midi for being a lovely nurse to her sister, and to Maxi for helping me clear the kitchen right after lunch (they liked the naans and veg, but hated the boiled eggs and houmous). Lots of days I get fed up with my own voice nagging and scolding.

I am the contrariest kid on the entire planet, and don't you forget it!!

I am the contrariest kid on the entire planet, and don’t you forget it!!

I hauled 2 huge garden tubs-worth of weeds out the lawn-edges, then I hoovered a beach-load of Orkney sand out the car, and used 3 buckets of water and Flash to wipe down the inside. It was truly minging! And I’d cleaned it thoroughly the day before we went on holiday. I tried to let Midi and Maxi loose to clean the outside of the car, but got irritable and bossy as I saw the time to dinner ticking down and they’d managed to clean a single car door window. Mini wanted to clean her scooter, but did a George (Peppa Pig’s squeally brother) whine at not being allowed near the hose. She pretty much whined or squealed the rest of the afternoon and evening.

I think we *all* need an early night. I need to be alert to properly enjoy seeing sunny, happy Mini once more!

How To Train Your Minx

It’s amazing what you can get little kids to do with the right bribes.
(No, that really doesn’t read right at all, but I’m not going to re-edit it again and again!)

I waggled the carrot of “A Very Special Treat, so amazing that you’ll scream behind your hand when I tell you” at them this morning. By lunch-time, not only had they gotten dressed and eaten breakfast without argument, but all 3 minxes had tidied the living room and their bedrooms, Midi had hoovered up the popcorn I’d made them and they’d dropped, and Maxi had wiped down all the dusty surfaces. Wow, wow, wow! They got an interim reward of glittery nail varnish on their fingernails, which delighted them all.

As we ate baked potato dinner at 3.30pm, Maxi said over a wrinkled brow: “Mummy, I think you’ll have to tell me what the surprise is: you know I don’t like not knowing what’s going on”. So I whispered to her: we’re going to the cinema to see How To Train Your Dragon 2. She punched the air. I think she was pleased.

I’d been bursting to tell them since I decided this morning. It was rubbish weather. It was Wednesday. I’m still an Orange customer. The 3 just go hand-in-hand: Orange Wednesday 2-for-1 film tickets. The Boss and I have been loving that offer for 9 years, now. And like last year, I’m trying to juggle the days around to save as much family fun as possible until the weekends or the evenings so that The Boss can join in, too – I remember what it was like being a full-time working parent, missing all the big day-time events and feeling like the other parent is having all the fun. So: cinema in the evening it was to be!

It was a right faff booking the tickets over the website, though: it would only let me have 1 free ticket, not 1 free adult and 1 free child. After a lot of footering, I figured I’d be faster making 2 separate bookings. So I did. But then discovered that you can only use your Orange code once. And that you only get 1 code. Doh! One emergency call at work to The Boss, new code received, and second booking made. Next time, I’ll just do it at the cinema and save myself the stress and 50p per person booking fee!!

So, we drove into the shopping mall in Aberdeen early enough to fetch The Boss a drink and sandwich (he was meeting us straight from work) and drift to the cinema. On the way from the food bit to the cinema bit, we bumped into our next door neighbour, her daughter, her mother, and the family from round the corner.

The Boss met us in the foyer, his little face lighting up in the biggest beam I’ve seen in years when I handed him some scooby snacks to keep him going through the film – bless!

The film was fine for 20 minutes, when suddenly the projector went off. Everyone looked at each other and pointlessly up at the projector space at the back of the room. The Boss got up and went to find a member of staff. He came back, saying they knew about it. After 5 minutes, the side-lights went on and the soundtrack finally stopped. Oh-oh… ominous! A staff member came in and addressed the audience.

“We’ve had a power surge”, he explained. It had caused the huge projector bulb’s systems to protect it and put it into power-save mode. It couldn’t be overridden. It would take a few minutes to warm down then switch back on. They’d start the film again as soon as they could. “If you’ll excuse me zooming off now, though”, he apologised: “I’ve got 9 other screens to tell the same thing!” and off he strode. We all settled back with a few audible ‘Ooooo, what a nice man!’s and amused ourselves cheering and booing as the screen size changed, the film found its place again, 1 minute before the cut, and the soundtrack finally started up. So it was perfect – we hadn’t missed anything, and even got a quick 1 minute refresher.

The film was great – we all really enjoyed it. Lots of the audience also seemed to enjoy Midi and Maxi’s reactions to the film, too. They both have very infectious giggles, especially Midi. The man behind us laughed only when Midi made one of her rising, maniacal giggle-shrieks.

Midi the Viking

Midi the Viking

**film-spoiler**: it’s a PG rating. In hindsight, I think Mini (4 yo) was a bit young to properly enjoy it, and even my own little Viking, Midi (6 yo), found some of the suspenseful bits a little too much. She wasn’t too happy when Stoic died, either. I wasn’t massively happy with Cate Blanchett’s strangely mangled accent, either. She’d done a fine English accent in Elizabeth I, that she’d famously based on Margaret Thatcher. But her ‘Scottish’ accent was a bizarre hotch-potch of Irish, American, Yorkshire and Highland. Quite strange. And not dissimilar to the sound made by Russell Crowe’s accent coach **end-spoiler**

At the end of the film, we were all handed tickets to watch another film for free. Bonus! Hooray! They didn’t need to do that, so we were all delighted.

On a happy high, we stumbled into Pizza Express, where they do 2for1 offers on Wednesdays, too. It was heaving, so we were really lucky to get a table. It was sooooo loud! My hearing is terrible, and I really struggled to understand our very busy and kind waitress. It took a fair few minutes for me to get that “dobbles” was “dough balls”. I think I may need a hearing aid… Dinner took 2 hours, but on the bright side, that meant that 2 out of 3 kids slept on the way home (in a strange role-change shocker, it was *MIDI* who gabbled all the way home!

Chop-chop, Busy-busy, Work-work, Bang-bang

After finally getting the kids to bed by 2200hrs (don’t judge me. Besides, all 3 were out of bed, screaming their heads off by 0700hrs), I had a lovely bath and settled in for an early night.

It never works like that, though, does it? Lovefilm had sent us one of the Breaking Bad DVDs, so me and The Boss decided to compromise between a much-needed early night and a much-wanted DVD-a-thon. So we watched one episode. Afterwards, The Boss stumbled into the bathroom for a quick teeth-brush before sleep.

I know I’ve moaned before about his love of decorating Every. Single. Empty. Surface. in the house with Stuff. I spend hours clearing a surface (I like empty surfaces); he immediately takes a few minutes to cover it in rubbish. Anyway, when we came back from holiday, the windowsill of the bathroom was empty. By the time he went in to the bathroom to clean his teeth, it was covered. He knocked over a glass bottle that he’d dumped on the windowsill, and tried to snatch it before it fell. Unfortunately, he grabbed his razor – which he’d also dumped on the windowsill – and sliced the top of his finger off.

It took about half an hour for the bleeding to subside and for me to stop mocking him. Within that, it took about 20 minutes for me to remember that, actually, he’s really, really rubbish around the sight of blood, and that maybe he might faint. The remaining 10 minutes were spent bickering about what kind of dressing he needed. He favoured the sliver-thin, invisible, tiny plaster; I preferred the monster dressing-and-bandage, topped with a tied bow, cartoon-stylee. Given that it really didn’t want to stop oozing blood despite over 10 minutes of direct pressure and holding above his head, I won. I swapped the bandage for sticky Omnifix instead, though, because I’m a truly loving wife and actually feel really sorry for him.

So neither of us has had much sleep. Again. As for a possible tetanus injection requirement, I think I might as well phone and book a GP for an entire morning to sort us all out: all 5 of us need to see a GP for various bits and bobs that really aren’t urgent at all, but probably shouldn’t be ignored. Wouldn’t it be great if I could count up all the issues that I need to discuss with a GP, and book a corresponding number of adjoining appointments with one GP, ship the zoo along to the surgery, and get it all over and done with in a oner?!

Ah well, tomorrow promises to be a better day

sunset over houses

Tonight’s sunset

Post-Holiday Blues

It’s our first proper day of the school holidays here – the previous 7 days don’t count because we were all in Orkney again, having a fantastic time. I did bring the laptop with me, intending to write lots of blog posts both here and on the outdoor blog, in real-time. Alas, my in-laws led me happily astray: I spent my evenings drinking Strubarb cocktails washed down with Wychwood Ginger Beard, and chased with peanut butter pretzels. And blethering nonsense. So: back home with a bump.

Mini Minx is on antibiotics and so her sleep is still iffy (when was it ever not?!): she came into my bed 4 times last night. I’d gone to bed really late (0100hrs. Oops) because I’d spent all day driving so wasn’t tired enough to sleep. End result – today has felt like swimming in treacle. Never mind – we had to hang around the house anyway because the hire car after The Boss’s accident was to be picked up at some random point during in the day. I spent the morning ploughing through laundry, while the minxes went goggle-eyed over 100 episodes of Horrid Henry. Midi’s read so many library books in this year’s Summer Challenge already that she chose to take out a DVD for 2 weeks for free as her prize.

I'm bored, Mum. What can I doooooooo?

I’m bored, Mum. What can I doooooooo?

In a half-hearted attempt to keep the girls active enough to stave off DVTs, I made them come into the kitchen for their snacks and water individually. I really wanted to be a Good Mummy and turf them outdoors for fresh air regardless of the drizzle, but today I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was also too distracted on the laptop, helping one of my brothers book flights, train journeys and a hotel from the other side of the planet (bank problems – Bank of Scotland have been categorically rubbish with him, not sending bank

Not brave enough yet to pull out that good old holiday standby: paint the stones

Not brave enough yet to pull out that good old holiday standby: paint the stones

cards, not returning calls, hanging up on long calls, etc.). We did manage a swift run round to the library, but because the hire car people didn’t show up till mid-afternoon when it was already raining heavily, we got no other outdoor time.The afternoon, therefore, was much like the morning. Except I managed to corral them into doing something creative for a few minutes – I printed out a sheet of paper each with a big empty square on it and the title “The thing I enjoyed most about my holidays last week was when I …” followed by 5 lines of dots for them to write on, and draw in the box. I’ll tell you what they wrote when they finish!

Oh yeah, and I discovered that the best way to keep them out of my hair for a few minutes when I really need to concentrate is to play classical music. I discovered that all 3 really hate Verdi’s Requiem: when I played it they ran from the room howling, with their hands over their ears. And Maxi finds ‘Abide With Me’ (from the soundtrack of the film 28 Days Later!!) “creeps me out”. I guess I need to find Classic FM on the radio dial then, eh?

child in viking horned helmet

She’s bored

Anyway, the general lack of exercise means that it’s my own selfish fault that the girls are not sleeping tonight! Midi has wrapped herself in a blanket and is lying across the threshold of Maxi’s bedroom, like a bright pink spotted Ancient Egyptian mummy – I think she’s trying to see just how long her big sister stays up at night; Mini is scuttling back and forth, demanding to be tucked in, and victoriously waving the Hello Kitty toy that I threatened to throw away if she wouldn’t eat her roast chicken (my comfort food); Maxi, meanwhile, is happily reading today’s library books (Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt).

child in horned viking helmet

… and so’s she

Tomorrow I hope to get more than a token few minutes sleep and to get the poor kids out and about. They have a play-date arranged with a wee girl who’s in the same nursery class as Mini. I’ll need to run some energy off the older ones first thing, then, before we walk round. And I guess tidying their upside-down rooms just won’t cut it:

(Me: “You are to tidy your floor up tomorrow morning. Look, it’s so messy that I nearly fell over, coming to give you a Goodnight Kiss!”

Midi: “But why, Mummy? Because it’ll take us such a long time to mess it all up again. What a waste of time!”

Me: <thinking> Huh?! Um. Right. I agree. But only if the window faced the back garden…)

The library has a competition on tomorrow afternoon, but I quite fancy checking out some of Aberdeenshire’s Neolithic monuments after a week of touring Orkney’s, instead. I’ll put it to Minx Vote after lunch, I think.

Paranoia and Gore

This week is mostly being brought to you by the word ‘paranoia’. Meh!

The past 2 weekends we’ve been camping in East Lothian and having a wonderful time. However, because I write in a paper diary when I’m away from home and blog about outdoor exploits elsewhere, I don’t repeat it all here. However, I’ve been moaning far and wide about the ticks we picked up on a short one-hour walk in some properly enchanting woodland.

embedded tickLike any ex-Lyme disease sufferer, I hate the little buggers. The Boss and I carry out tick checks on us all and carry nifty little tick hooks. We’ve been teaching the minxes about tick safety without going overboard. Well, on 15th June we found this one in the nape of Maxi’s neck. I suspect (hope) the pink marks around it are from initial flicks in case it was a piece of dirt. I took the photo while The Boss fetched the hook, and it was really to document it just in case Maxi gets ill – I can prove she had a tick-bite. Tick removed, I reassured my hysterical little 8 yo that she had the smallest, tiniest, don’t-even-waste-time-thinking-about-it chance of getting ill, but that we’d check for rashes anyway for a few weeks.

Well, she’s not had a rash, but the past 2 days has been complaining of a constant low-grade headache, stomach-ache, and generally feeling a bit ill. Her neck lymph nodes are swollen. She mentioned it this morning and throughout the day. It’s easy to get paranoid, but I need to remember that it’s the end of term, kids are tired, there are lots of viruses doing the rounds (chicken pox is rife right not). If she gets joint aches, a stronger headache, or more flu-y symptoms, then yes, I’ll be thinking that it’s Lyme. But for now, I’ll just fret for a few days until she’s better or she’s seen the GP.

sharkThink that tick was gruesome? Try Midi’s mouth! That second little incisor finally wobbled out on 23rd June. The Tooth Fairy left her 2 very shiny 50p pieces with cool backs that she promptly spent on a sherbet fountain. Tsk…

More paranoia: I get a bit nervous when The Boss is late home from work. The roads he drives certainly have their fair share of people who (think they are) immortal, can see round blind corners, can drive waaaaaaaay past the speed limit ‘safely’, can drive within an inch or so of the bumper of those of us who are merely mortal and drive accordingly… ach, you get the picture. Anyway, the day before yesterday I noticed he was a bit late. Right then, the phone went. The Bat-Fone. The landline that only ever rings for official things. I thought, well, it can’t be too bad or it would be a knock on the front-door from 2 hat-less polis. And yes, The Boss had had an accident.

Don’t panic: no-one was hurt. He’d been tootling along the back road home when a van decided to cross *right* in front of him without looking. The Boss threw out the anchors and figuratively braced for impact (his fingers never left the steering wheel – I think he left indents). Luckily, his little car can barely hit 50mph going downhill and with a tailwind, so he stopped very quickly. Even so, he hit the front of the van, knocking the van’s bumper and numberplate about 10-15m. The airbags didn’t go off, so it wasn’t high-speed at all. When he stopped shaking enough to get out, he found his driver door barely opened.

The van driver’s first words were: “You were coming at some speed!” The Boss charitably thinks he was perhaps attempting sarcastic humour; I cynically suspect him of being in this situation before to have such a practiced and ready line… After exchanging details and retrieving bits of car and failing to get any witnesses (the old man behind the van who saw everything absolutely refused to “get involved” and drove off), The Boss limped home. Shaky. Thankful it hadn’t been any worse. And possibly thinking what confessions he could get out the way that night using his joker card on his very-glad-he’s-still-alive wife ;-)

After that, it’s not been a problem, really. The van driver talked to his insurance company and admitted full liability. Yes, it was kinda obvious that it was, but I’m still grateful that we didn’t have any arguments or awkwardness. The Boss decided that rather than deal directly with the other man’s insurance company that he’d talk to his own insurance company (Direct Line). Good move – they’ve been brilliant. Today a nice man in a tow truck arrived to pick up the car and take it away to be fixed. A lovely lady from Enterprise came to drop-off a hire car. Honestly, if felt like she was awarding us a prize or something, it was such a pleasant and trouble-free handover. We’ve no limit on mileage or time, and she’ll come pick it up when we have the car repaired and returned. Fantastic!

In the meantime, I can tease The Boss mercilessly on him having broken more cars than me. And feel very, very thankful that he’s here, fully intact, to be teased and tormented.

Well, actually, he’s not ‘here’: right now he’s off mountain-biking in the Back of Beyond, making sure the stresses of work and the week in general are pedalled away. He always tells me roughly where he’s going (in the hall we have a brilliant OS map centred on the house that our friends gifted us) and we always agree a time that if I’ve not heard from him, I’ll phone for help. Sometimes I’ll follow along with Endomondo, but that usually just increases my paranoia that he’s lying injured by the side of the road, because it frequently ‘sticks’ or loses signal. Meh! Better just to remain un-stalked, I think.