Strawberry Yumminess

I’m not much of a cook, though my baking isn’t bad.  Tonight, however, I made a really gorgeous pudding of much awesomeness.

(sorry about the terrible English – I’ve been reading my blog’s spam filter again and it’s affected me hugely.  In fact I’m still giggling)

Anyway, it’s enormously simple, so to ensure my rubbish memory doesn’t prevent us from scoffing it again, here it is!

strawberry and cream dessertMoray Minxes’ Mess

  • Rip up some trifle sponges
  • Sprinkle over some sherry
  • Add a wee dollop of strawberry jam (about half a teaspoon)
  • Drop over some sliced, ripe, room-temperature strawberries
  • Dollop on some whipped cream (double cream would be nice, too, but I find it a bit heavy.  And I’m too chicken to, with my gallstones…)
  • Fold it up a little

Obviously I omitted the sherry for the minxes and instead let them add some sugar sprinkles.  For egg-allergic Mini Minx, I swapped the trifle sponges for a rusk.  Though given that she’s sleeping very fitfully right now (teeth / eczema bugging her…) I maybe should have left in the sherry!

baby eating strawberry and cream dessert

Cream..! Gonna eat it, gonna wash in it, gonna rub it in my hair!

I Say I Say I Say…

As the eldest sister of 4 brothers and 2 sisters, I’ve heard a lot of bad jokes.  Usually the same ones, over and over again.  Like the perennial favourite 1st joke of gleeful little kids: “Knock knock – who’s there? – Dr – Dr Who? – Haha, you said it”.

Maxi’s been telling rubbish jokes for 2 years now, and the occasional good one remembered from Gigglebiz.  Now it seems it’s Midi’s turn to start experimenting with jokes.  As far as I can remember, here’s how the conversation went:

Midi: “Why did the cow cross the road?

Me <with a sinking heart>: “I don’t know, why did the cow cross the road?”

Midi: “Cos it went onna pavement, and it need some lovely green grass, trip-trap trip-trap, march march march, I love you cow…” <whitters on like a spam post on a blog for a bit>

Me <impatiently>: “Is that the funny bit yet?”

Midi <pauses whittering>: “No, not yet.  The cow goes moo, moo, moo and then it has a milk and then it…” <resumes 3 year old stream of consciousness>

Me: “…’And then it goes to the moon’?  Is that the end now?”

Midi: “Yes”

Me: “Should I laugh now?”

Midi: “Yes”


Midi screams in fright and jumps a foot in the air, then giggles.  I’m evil.  I’m also fed up listening to rubbish jokes.  Maxi knows the drill now – if she tells a funny joke, I laugh; if she tells a rubbish joke, she gets tickled.  Either way, the Trout wins 🙂

Talking of jokes, I had Mini tucked under one arm the other day as I tipped out the hard contents of her nappy down the toilet before chucking the nappy in the bin.  As I hit the flush, Mini blew effusive kisses goodbye to her poo.  Strange child.  God help us when we start potty training.  Oh pants, that’ll be in only a year’s time… <faints>

General Minxiness

Just a bit of an update post, really.

Mini Minx is now proudly standing on her own 2 little (long, thin, banana) feet for up to a minute at a time.  If me or The Boss don’t see her standing tall, she’ll shriek till we look over, then beam with delight as we cheer madly.  I predict that she’ll take her first steps by the weekend.  Then I will need eyes up my bum, as she moves so blooming quickly, and usually towards the nearest point of danger.  She can exploit potential minxdom in anything she finds, that child…  She still only has 2 proper teeth and one just poked through.  Her hair is still a strange colour (ginger / brown / blonde / see-through), and she still enjoys being wrapped.  We’re getting fast at strapping ourselves together so I can do things with both hands (separate her sisters from a fight, clean up mess, put out kitchen fires, that kind of thing…).  It’s not so much that she likes being close to me – it’s so she can pull my ears and rub banana / baby snot in my hair and down my neck.  She knows fine what she’s doing – she usually giggles just before she rubs some mushy substance where it really shouldn’t go.  Her favourite song right now is “Eyes, Nose, Cheeky-cheeky, Chin” and she claps along to anything with a beat.  Tantrums aren’t far away – she got really frustrated yesterday at not being allowed to ‘help’ me change her sisters’ bedsheets, so yelled through clenched gums, buried her face in the sheets, and pulled her head back with the sheets between her gums/teeth.  Biting in frustration?  Already?  Oh hell…

We had ice cream cones tonight after dinner, pressed into chocolate sprinkles.  Just as Mini sank her 3 teeth into hers, The Boss remembered that brand of ice cream had egg in it.  As he whipped it away, to Mini’s indignant protests, Maxi commented kindly: “Gosh, I hope R isn’t going to get another egg infection!” 🙂

Midi Minx has taken a bit of a stretch.  A few weeks ago her feet were a 7H; they’re now 8H.  I’m looking at her latest new shoes and wondering how the hell she can walk in them without falling over – they’re like flippers.  I ordered absolutely everything Start-rite did in an 8H (both pairs!), so Midi plumped for her favourite ‘Meg shoes’* instead of the cute red ones with butterflies and sparkles on.  Still, the cute red ones had a sole that’s so much wider than the already-wide shoe that, never mind flippers, she looked like she was wearing snow shoes!

*So-called because they’re black and look like witch’s shoes to a 3 year old (‘Meg’ as in Meg, Mog and Owl)

She’s now in the same nursery room as Maxi Minx, and is suddenly quite happy to go to nursery again.  (I’m not sure I am – she returned home on Friday with one hell of a big bruise on her vulva that the staff obviously hadn’t noticed occurring, or they’d have mentioned her falling of the play equipment.  Surely?  Thank goodness Maxi is a spot-everything tell-tale).  She’s just had yet another ear infection, and her speech went very murky for a bit.  For the first time, too, she managed to say to me, “Say it louder, Mummy: I can’t hear you!”  My heart sank, as I’d been speaking quite loudly and clearly to her, but on the other hand I was very proud at how well she can now articulate her needs.  Though right now her needs usually involve requiring a Mummy-huggle every time my hands are full or I physically can’t. 

Midi made a chocolate bird’s nest for Easter, but calls it her ‘Eagle’s Nest’.

Just as the Earth’s magnetic poles have and may (allegedly) suddenly reverse, Maxi and Midi have suddenly reversed their fear polarities.  Midi, who normally knows no fear, got scared climbing the steps to a slide.  Maxi, meanwhile, swarmed over tall cargo nets, steep ladders, fast roundabouts.  Her usual scaredy-cat wail has gone.  I asked Midi if she wanted to go on the big swing with her sister and their friend.  “Nooooo”, she replied, “It makes me bery sad.”  Eh?  Why?  “Cos it does”.  Oh.  “But this chute makes me bery, bery ‘abbeeeee!” she grinned gleefully*

*translation: she was very happy


orange fake funny teeth

Shouldn't have dodged that last dentist appointment...

So it was time for the kids’ regular dental inspection.

Maxi was registered with a dentist from the month her first tooth popped through, and I’ve tried to keep to a regular-ish dentist trip every 6 months ever since.  When we brush the minxes’ teeth at night, we call it ‘Mummy/Daddy being Dentist’.  All in a bid that the girls grow up used to calmly going to dentists, that they see it as a routine maintenance check.

Since our 3rd-last house move, I’ve not been able to get the girls or The Boss with an NHS dentist (one of the very bad things about moving so regularly).  However, I’ve reasoned that you can’t budget for your health, so I find the money each time and usually manage a smile as I part with my cash.  Yesterday’s visit, though, had me silently fuming.

I tried making a check-up appointment a while ago (when Midi Minx was still 2, so at least her check-up would be free), but seemingly they had none where I could fit all the girls and The Boss in consecutive appointments last thing in the day.  Apparently each appointment takes 15 minutes.  Fine, so I had to wait a few months.  The kids were looking forward to it for days and were quite excited because I’d done a real marketing job on it.  We arrived in plenty of time, to an empty surgery.  We waited 7 minutes, then were all shown in at once.

The dentist had an absolutely appalling patient manner: quiet to the point of being surly, disinterested, and almost afraid of the girls.  No surprise then that they reacted in kind, and refused to sit in his chair and be poked at.  I worked my own magic and persuaded them to come out from behind me after maybe 4 minutes.  He put a mirror in their mouth and counted their teeth.  That visual inspection took 20 seconds (max).  I’m sure he would have seen if there was anything amiss with their teeth, but even so… that quick squizz cost me £54.

He was back in civvies and jumping into his fancy car before the surgery door closed behind us.

Call me a rabid old communist if you must, but I think preventative health care should be free.  Fixing it should be chargeable (as to whether flat rate, all the market can take, or means tested, I’ve no special preference), but check-ups should surely cost nothing?

One last thing: one toy in the waiting room and a reel of stickers does not make a dentist or dental surgery ‘child-friendly’!  I’ll be taking my perfectly-toothed kids elsewhere in future.

My Rhubarb Has A Growth


Rhubarb flowerI bought some reduced rhubarb last year in a fit of gardening frenzy.  I got distracted by 3 little minxes, going on holiday, and generally living my life, so forgot to plant it.  Then our cat Daisy decided that the leaves made a nice place to sit and sun herself.  So it was inevitable that the stalks all broke off at soil level, in the pot.  I was so grumpy with myself for wasting the £3 or so on a plant that I was too lazy busy to plant (again!) that I just left it on the patio, as a daily reminder to myself to Pull. Your. Finger. Out.

Around 2 months ago, I noticed a pink growth in the pot.  I didn’t dare to hope that the rhubarb had resurrected, but as time passed, the growth turned into a little stalk here, another little stalk there, and the central ‘pod’ kept on growing.  Assured that the rhubarb was, in fact, alive, I planted it in a suitable spot in the garden and threatened minxes and Boss that if anyone touched it, they’d feel my wrath.

Obviously our garden mole / vole wasn’t listening, and decided to tunnel up through the rhubarb roots.  It’s been doing this by our baby apple tree too, but that doesn’t seem too unhappy, giving off some beautiful blossom.  So I’ve just warily watched.  A bit like our neighbour opposite the road – she has the most wonderful, beautiful, spectacularly flowerful garden that Mini Minx waves to every morning when she wakes up.  The poor woman is watching the mole hills slowly appear in a kind of creeping death, heading straight for her gorgeous greenery.

Anyway, the rhubarb pod turned into a kind of cauliflower thing.  Was it flowering?  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  But a quick Google later, and I discovered here that rhubarb does indeed flower, and that the pretty flower has to come off!  Apparently they flower when extremely stressed and likely to die.  Yep, that sounds about right, living within 100 metres of minxes and cat.  So I took photos, just in case my executionery has killed the rhubarb once and for all.


So I was having a bad hair day.  No, a really bad hair day…

Normally I get my hair trimmed every 18 months or so because I really don’t enjoy going to the hairdressers (too many dodgy cuts in the past).  I’d had it cut into a short bob before Christmas, though, on a whim.  Then, I’d warned the girls that I was going to get it cut and even showed them photos of me with a short bob before going to the hairdressers.  I’d thought they were prepped.  (After all, I remembered being shocked and hurt and horrified when my mum had got her long black hair cut shorter when I was 6 or 7).  Midi blinked at me, then asked for some apple juice.  But Maxi took one look at New Mummy and burst into tears.  It kind of takes the shine off ‘new hair happiness’, eh?

So on Bad Hair Saturday, with my hair a total grown-out mess, I didn’t expect the hairdresser to fit me in as soon as I called for an appointment.  I didn’t expect my mouth to merrily say, “Cut it all off”, when I only went for a trim.  I didn’t expect to be reassuring the hairdresser that it’d be ok and I’d not regret it. I didn’t expect to be pretty chuffed – the amazing woman managed to cut off all my grey hair!  Still, I texted The Boss on the long walk back home: ‘Brace yourself, it’s v short’.  Unfortunately he didn’t get it in time.

On seeing my short hair, The Boss blinked hard a few times.  Mini Minx didn’t know whether to smile or cry.  Maxi’s face was a picture – proper slack-jawed saucer eyes.  Midi giggled and declared, “You look like Rachel’s Dad now!”  Maxi sniggered and agreed.  And that was that.  They were all fine with it.

I updated my profile pic on Facebook and received loads of messages from my friends praising my new look.  I shouldn’t be so shallow, but their compliments made me feel very special and lovely.  If any of you are reading this: thank you!

But now I need to know – who the hell is Rachel’s Dad?!

Maxi Cake

Maxi has more blooming birthdays than the Queen, and more cake!  I promised her a birthday cake on her birthday, one to take to nursery to share with her friends, and one for her birthday party this Sunday.

The nursery one was very easy: one square sponge made with 2 eggs; cover with marzipan; top with a packet of strawberry-flavour icing (made up quite stiff and smoothed with a hot spatula); edge with some white chocolate buttons; decorate with 2 tubes of pink ‘designer icing’.  Oh aye, and plop on el-cheapo Christmas cake board.  I edged it in 5 long stripes because my poor fingers just weren’t strong enough to do anything else, and my cabbaged brain couldn’t think of anything more exciting than long lines of a box.  And it hid the marzipan joins.  A plus: the kids watched agog for 20 mins as I icing those lines. A negative: I didn’t half get annoyed when Mr ASDA pitched up with an early delivery halfway through the icing. (photo deleted)

Her birthday one was to be a butterfly cake.  ‘Easy!’ I thought, ‘I’ve seen loads of videos on YouTube’.  So Tuesday night after dinner I made a standard, nice, tall Victoria Sandwich, with thick strawberry jam and buttercream in the middle.  So far so good.  I thought I could get it cut, iced and decorated by 2230hrs, tops.  So, at 2100hrs I cut it in half.  Um, the jam is starting to ooze.  Then I cut it into kind of off-set quarters to make 4 wings.  Oh God, now the tops are sliding off!  So I panic a little and call on The Boss for advice.  Why, I don’t know: he is to Cake as I am to Stir-Fries – neither of us can do them.

However, he pulls a blinder: roll out the sugar paste icing and use it to coat each ‘wing’, holding it all together.  Genius!  But the first problem is that I can’t roll out the icing – it sticks to the rolling pin, my fingers and the mat.  I start to get all prickly and stressy and yell to The Boss to crack open another box of icing sugar and to douse me in it.  I plaster one wing in icing sugar and cover it in pink rolled-out sugarpaste icing, furiously patting and shaping it to the cake.  It rips.  I smear the edges together.  The jam oozes out the bottom like the blood my murderous mood wants to spill.  I wipe it up with a finger.

“Help!  It looks bloody awful – the edges are crappy and cracked and rubbish!” I wail.

“Well, why not roll it in something else.  Dessicated coconut?  You’ve got loads of that”, he suggests.  And we do – sacks of the stuff.  I don’t know why, as no-one likes it.  I request a pasta bowl and coconut to roll a wing in.  Wow!  This might work!  It’s looking pretty cool, the creamy-white coconut against the baby-pink of the icing, with the top left completely coconut-free.  Damn.  It’s all fallen off.

“Use sugar water!” urges The Boss, in answer to my wordless, wide-eyed plea for help.  So I slap a pastry brush of icing sugared water all over the cake, trying hard not to let all the pink icing slide off.  It holds a little more coconut, but still looks more like a case of icing-with-dandruff than a proper covering.

“More coconut!” I demand, and The Boss pours 2 more bags into the bowl.  Ah, now I can really press it into the side!  I set up a tidal wave of coconut onto the floor.  Oh crapiola, what a disaster! Never mind, get the wings onto the plate… pants.  The plate surface is smeared with jam, the lovely pink tops of the butterfly have started to set with big mislaid coconut bits and gouges in them.  Ah, who cares, I’ll cover it up.  But with what?  And what am I going to do with half a ton of dessicated coconut on my clean kitchen floor?!

The Boss suggests making grass.  I look at him like he’s lost his marbles properly.  He smiles, fetches some blue and yellow food colouring, a big plastic box, scoops up all the coconut from the floor, puts it all together and shakes madly.  “Well, no-one can eat this blue food colouring stuff anyway, so who cares?” he says.  He wants to cover the plate and the jam smears with the green coconut.  Genius!

It’s now 0045hrs, I’m emotionally exhausted, vow never to do anything harder than a round Victoria Sandwich ever, ever again, and swan off to bed, ideas of decorations to hide the wing-tops swirling in my head.

Here is the finished concoction, that Maxi was absolutely delighted with (thank goodness): (deleted)

Sleep: none

I feel I need to make a short apology.


There.  Thank you, goodnight.

Sleep Deprivation

A fresh-faced 28 year old (ahem) after 45 mins sleep all night (truth. And it was broken, at that)

(Sorry, walked into that one).  My posts are worse than usual and I’ve still only drafted my Orkney ones because I’m not completely on form.  Mainly because of extreme sleep deprivation.  Petri Dish Prime (Midi Minx) caught a cough that she spread to the entire family, whilst hers turned into yet another ear infection.  So Mini is waking up through the night unable to breathe, dehydrated and wanting to feed; Midi is waking up in pain and feeling rubbish and wanting Mummy-huggles; and Maxi Minx is waking up all alone and feeling lonely, so wanting Mummy-huggles.  End result is that I’m not getting a whole lot of shut-eye.  Which makes me a right crabbit bitch.  And I don’t want to deluge my blog with Posting of Evil Vitriol (unless some sod really deserves it…).  So I’ve basically been unwell for 5 solid weeks now.  Nice start to being 40 😦

Oh yeah, and it’s not just the minxes who’re keeping me up – at 0045hrs the other night, me and The Boss finally went to bed, having finished making a cake for Maxi’s birthday.  And I’ve signed-up to do my very first craft fair in a fortnight, with not a lot of stock.  So updating my blog has had to take a bit of a backseat, which I hate, because I use it as my internal safety fuse. 

I can tough out a basic lack of sleep, and have been doing for years.  But when it’s severe (less than 2 hrs sleep, broken, the past 3 nights, and around 4hrs a night the rest of the week before), then the short-term memory loss it induces is what I really struggle with.  That, and short-term memory loss 😉  Seriously: that, and losing the ability to be flexible.  I think the most frustrating thing about my wee life just now is not being able to do a single task from start to finish, and lack of sleep stops me being able to keep hold of all the uncompleted threads in my head to make sure I go back and finish them.

Let me give you a daft example.  The other day I needed to hang out a washing.  A mucky family of 5 who all have bad colds means I’m doing 14 washloads a week.  Simple!  My washing machine is a few feet from the back door, which itself is only a few yards from the line.  But I had 3 minxes to sort out.  I could have parked 2 in front of CBeebies and one in her playpen, and kept nipping in and out every 30 seconds or so.  But from experience something inevitably happens on one of my trips back to the house, so the washing remains unhung.  So, I decided to get them all out in the garden to play for a bit so I could eyeball them while pegging wet washing.

I got 2 towels hung.  Mini won’t stop crying in her buggy because she’s being a cling-on, so I go to comfort her before the neighbours ring Childline. Go back, hang one tea-towel.  Mini sounds like she’s being murdered.  Go back and give her a kiss, then a different toy.  Peg up a flannel.

“P says I’m an old lady!” whines (3 year old) Midi about her sister, Maxi.  I ignore her, so she rubs her snot-encrusted nose on my jeans.  I yell at Maxi and ignore Midi some more.  She demands a Mummy-huggle and launches her 3-stone self at my shins.  I stumble and step a muddy foot on a was-clean-a-second-ago bib.  Chuck it in the direction of the washing machine.  Back to the washing.  Midi’s now poking at Mini, who’s screaming again.  Separate them.  Peg up a towel.

“I got bogeys!” screams Midi.  Mop them up with spare jeans-pocket-tissue (standard issue to all parents in the maternity unit, I think).  Wipe hands, pick up another tea-towel.  Flap it at Mini to make her smile.  Get a watery one.

Hear the front door bell get rung 4 times and the door get hammered loudly.  Drop tea-towel in fright, thinking someone’s needing help, yell to Maxi that she’s in charge, check gate is locked, run to the front door.  Bloody postman.  Too breathless to shout at him.  Accept package.  Chuck package at the kitchen table, race out to the garden.

Find Midi trying to eat some tulips.  She’s having a tentative lick.  Go over and yank her away.  Propel her in direction of scooter.  Retrieve tea-towel from mud.  Chuck at the washing machine.  Wave to howling Mini.  Pick up flannel.

Spot Midi poking at some newly-planted seeds.  Yell at Midi, give her a mini kite, stomp back to crying Mini.  Realise Maxi’s nowhere to be found.  Quick search shows her back in front of CBeebies.  Decide to leave her there for a sec.  On way back out the phone rings.  Cursing, leave it to answerphone, because that’s what answerphones are for.  Reaching the back door hear the message being recorded faintly and realise I need to take this.  Race back to the phone, but they’ve already rung off.  Curse again, and run to the garden.  Midi’s picked 3 tulips and Mini’s still crying, and the first 2 towels have blown off the line.  Into the muddy bit.  Swear a bit more loudly than strictly safe, stuff the whole basket of washing on top of the machine, give it all up as a bad job, retrieve 2 outdoor minxes, grab a chocolate mini roll as a thumb-sucker substitute en-route to the living-room, and glower through a comfort breast-feed for Mini.  Little teething minx bites me.  Consider crying.  Decide to have another chocolate roll instead.

I’m convinced that had I had more sleep I’d have coped with that particular waste of 35 minutes a lot better – example, got the bloody washing out in a oner, ignoring all other distractions!

Post Office Goats

Thick Glass Lenses

Woman behind me in the post office queue

Meh. Idiots.

I had a parcel I had to post today. It had to be today. It had to be big and awkward. I had 3 little minxes to corral, an inbound mother-in-law, a house like a bomb had gone off, birthday cakes to make, presents to wrap, cards for the girls to write, a poorly Midi, a probably-sickening Mini, and an overly-optimistic attitude that I could cope with it all. And it all started with those fatal 2 words: “I’ll just…” (doesn’t it always?)

I noticed I’d parked the car squinty (ok, it looked abandoned after a carjacking, it was so badly parked).  My mother-in-law would never be able to park beside it.  I figured that starting it up to move it back then forward would be an appalling waste of diesel.  “Och, I’ll just nip down to the village to post the parcel, then it’ll be worth starting it up to move it”, I thought.  It was a gorgeous day, all 3 minxes were well-fed and rested, so I figured they would either be ok to come with me or if I could park right outside, then they’d be ok in the car for 30 seconds.

Well, I could park literally a yard from the door and would be able to see the car from the post office counter.  There were a lot of people milling around outside the door.  The girls were all quite happy to sit in their seats and wait.  So I made the decision to keep them strapped in their car seats, lock the car and be literally in and out, as I could watch them the whole time.  I told them The Plan, grabbed the parcel and nipped in.

Well, I say nipped in.  The people milling around the door were blocking it with their silly flappy jaws and stupid dogs.  I think I trod on one dog as I manouevred the step.  Normally I’d apologise, but you know, shouting: “Excuse me!  Can you let me past, please?” and being ignored makes me a bit cross.

So I marched to the counter and waited behind another goat.  Again, normally I’d think ‘Bless!’ in a well-meaning but patronising fashion about his general slowness and need for detailed instructions just to function (“No, Billy, you need to put your special number into the machine… this machine… here… look, these buttons…right put your money in your wallet… that’s it”).  Today I impatiently waited the extra 15 seconds by staring and waving at the minxes.

An old woman sidled up behind me, looked me up and down with a sneer, looked again at my parcel (it was about 2ft x 2.5ft x 6″), then stepped over it and me.  She carefully turned her back on me, stuck her bottom out, and did a side-shuffle so that she was now standing right in front of me.  I tapped her on the shoulder.  She lifted her shoulder but didn’t turn round.  Not having any of this, I gently but very firmly took hold of her elbow and turned her round.

“Excuse me, but I am waiting in the post-office queue, and I’m before you,” I said quietly, giving her an unflinching and unapologetic eyeball.

“Oh, I thought you were just standing there!” she blustered.

“No.  I’m blocking the aisle, and this parcel here that you stepped over and kicked is about to be posted”.  I tried to convey a tone of reasonableness, with a hint of ‘don’t make me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’

There wasn’t really anything she could reply to that, so she stepped back again.  I guess I couldn’t let it lie, so I (probably nastily) added, “Normally I wouldn’t mind, but my kids are right there and I need to get back to them right away”.

Perhaps this was why the counter assistant was so curt with me, as payback for not being nice to little old ladies bullies.  She frowned and flatly said, “It needs to go on the scales itself.  Put it this way”, and motioned for me to stick it on its side.  Well, that was never going to work – the scale was a little tiny square and the laws of physics (gravity) stop putting you being able to balance the few inches of a 2.5ft side of parcel on it. “It has to stand by itself!”, she trilled, almost hysterical.  Wow, I thought, this is really getting to her.  The postmaster came out and decided to help.  I gave it 3 seconds.

“Guys, if you turn it thisway and put it diagonally, you get most contact with the scales, that’ll work”.

I got a scowl from the counter and a screech of, “But now it’s touching the glass!”

I shoogled it a bare centimetre sideways, and couldn’t help a jubilant, “Ta-da!” as it wobbled, but held its own on the scales for 3 long seconds, enough for a weight to be assessed and all hoops to be jumped.

“That’ll be £12.67!” she hissed.  I swear she smirked when I fumbled putting my credit card in the right way.  Damn – I may be a bit of a balancing magician, but I’m a right chip and pin Luddite-duffer.

I legged it out the shop as fast as I could, and pushed past the milling goats.  My God, I think they’d bred in the meantime.  There were certainly at least another 25 dogs (ok, ok, there were 3 there, total).  I got in, praised all 3 for being so good and patient and not moving except for waving back to me.  Mini was crying a bit, and Maxi wasn’t looking too happy.

“Our ears hurt.  A car alarm kept going off” she pouted.  Oh pants.  No.  Surely not?

“What, ours?” I asked, thinking that there were no other cars nearby. “But I didn’t hear, and I was right the other side of that piece of glass”, pointing to where I’d stood, maybe 3m away, tops.  I’d definitely not heard the car alarm go off, but Midi corroborated Maxi Minx.  “But what did all the people round the car do when the alarm went off?” I asked, exasperated at said people, who were now leaning on the car and making themselves quite comfy in their gossiping, despite me turning on the engine to get ready to drive off.

“Oh, they kept talking, but louder”, said poor Maxi.

Nowt like auld fools, eh?  I don’t *think* they were deaf auld fools…

And the moral of the story to me is: Never, ever leave your kids in the car, even for a second.

Maxi Minx

This time 5 years ago I was lying awake, absolutely bricking it about my forthcoming Caesarean.  13 April 2006 was my due date anyway, and my induction had failed.  I’d no idea I was carrying a little girl.  I’d no idea that she’d turn my entire life upside down.  I had no inkling of the depths to which I’d love her, nor of the chaos, fear, bewilderment, fun, love and joy she’d bring.

Over 60 months I’ve watched my sunny-natured baby grow into a loving, warm-hearted, kind, clever little artist.  It seems fitting that the sun shone on her birth day and has done on every birthday since.

Happy 5th birthday, my darling P.  Me and Daddy hope it’s as special and lovely as you are xxxxx