I have less than 3 minutes before I have to go out

The tortoise is being a stroppy teen.

The chiropodist who was meant to deal with my hard skin… hasn’t. I am minorly wounded instead.

I had a deeply unpleasant experience with my fridge-freezer delivery men last Friday.

Project Potty has been abandoned, much to the profound relief of all protagonists. We all love Pampers.

Harry’s birthday card is in the post:

I have until approximately dawn on Thursday to make this lovely Lady & Gent a wedding cake. It currently looks like this.


Updated to add:

Well played, period! WELL PLAYED!


Failing to function

Hail, Appliance, and farewell!

Your tenure was brief.


6 + 7 across:

Fridge-Freezer. The crossword clue?

‘Quite large paperweight’.


The finish is nigh

Hairy refrigerator

Meets its Recycler



Lights. Augural drip-dripping

Rain. Fuck and alas.



Smile Please II

Harry will be three (eeep!) in early August, and I am dutifully making him a birthday card to be shown on cBeebies, the UK children’s channel. The links are pre-recorded, so they require the cards at least 4 weeks in advance. I am not nearly as confident as I was about last year’s effort, particularly as I have sub-contracted a major part of this year’s colouring-in to John, who is even less of a Picasso than I am.

It is customary to include a photo of the birthday child, so in proper Groundhog Day-style, I am once again chasing Harry around paparazzi-style, attempting to capture a full-face smile, directly into camera. I’ve had some corking shots and a few that were nearly ok but nothing that really delights the fond maternal eye.

And while I’m killing WordPress stone dead with photo uploads and shouting furiously at the bastard gallery-thing for including the photos below when they don’t belong there… here is something I have already bought Harry for his birthday. I keep meaning to do the wondrous Mel‘s Show & Tell, but I never do, damnit.

It is a vintage 1977 Matchbox Playboot in beautiful condition, and it almost seems a shame to let Harry The Destroyer at it. I have recollections of playing with one as a child, but do not remember actually owning one; my parents, however, swear blind that I did – and, tellingly, were both able to give uncannily accurate descriptions of the contents after some 25-30 years – which I suppose settles the matter. I hope I will remember Harry’s toys as perfectly, but I bloody doubt it; I feel he owns rather more than most non-royal 1970s children ever did by a factor of Ridiculous.

Harry, a veteran of many a party, has sussed birthdays now; he knows he is two, and will be three on his next birthday, although I have no way of eliciting any clues about his concept of time. He knows there are presents. He knows All About Cake, including candles, and has been cheerfully signing ‘Dinosaur Cake’ for a month or more – until we attended a dinosaur-themed 3rd birthday on Sunday complete with Dinosaur Cake, whereupon he signed that dinosaurs were actually scary, and he wanted a Pig Cake instead. This swiftly became a Train Cake, followed by a Digger Cake, a Lego Cake and has held steady since yesterday evening at Tractor Cake. 

Potty update, because I know you care (!): 3 heavily coached hits, rewarded with stickers and a new Fire Engine, 4 misses, including my prized new stolen from parents fabric armchair. He has been a giggly and cuddlesome delight today. Hooray.

Not Even A Sniff Of A Cigar

Today has not gone well. It has been Potty Training Day One. There are twelve pairs of drenched pants and associated trouser-items awaiting my attention (but in an isolated gleam of good news, half a bottle of thin bleach and a 90 degree wash has sorted the washing machine smell) as not a single wee hit the potty, although we did have a turd. Given that Harry is already perfectly potty-trained when his Chap Area is left undressed, I was hoping that he would work out that Underpants Are Not Nappies fairly swiftly. I knew it’d take a good few weeks for the strike rate to rise towards Good – he does have an attention disorder and frequent diarrhoea, after all – but I wasn’t quite mentally inured against the disappointment of 12 consecutive fails.

I had blocked out this entire week on the calendar purposefully for potty training; rather than deal with the stress of lugging porta-potties and clothes changes along everywhere, I thought we’d hunker down, sit tight, and get the sodden part over with at home. My bright and chirpy suggestions of ‘Wee-wee on potty, Harry?’ were met with a brief, impatient shake, and – seconds later – by a puddle. 

By lunchtime today I was on the edge of tears and visibly radiating stress – not necessarily because we were on pair number 6, although that wasn’t helping, but because Harry’s behaviour was just… ludicrous

Harry, for complicated reasons, had an unprecedented 10.45pm bedtime on Saturday, and rose at his usual 6-something-am. He then had a reasonable nap, but bedtime was the sort of 2 hour screamathon I thought we’d put behind us. This evening’s bedtime has been no improvement, and today… well.

I mean, yes, Harry is hyperactive, but we’ve become accustomed to his high energy levels. We’re used to the fact that if we take him anywhere public, there will be no relaxing whatsoever for the nominated parent. We’re used to the fact that if we turn our backs, he has managed to accomplish Spectacularly Serious Trouble & Destruction by the time we turn around again. That’s the Harry we know and love, sure enough, but by lunchtime today, I was actually sweating from the sheer exertion of keeping up with his demented activity, and starting to wonder if he’d somehow got hold of crack cocaine. Or a lot (a lot) of caffeine.

I think his finest moment was the 3 minutes I was on the phone. I could hear him scraping the chair across the kitchen floor, which is always a harbinger of Mess, and when I eventually rounded the corner at speed, I skidded unpleasantly and crunchily in scattered heaps of granulated sugar. Floods surrounded the sink, and a few fluid ounces had evidently found their way into the sugar bowl before he had thrown the whole lot onto the floor. I could hear every ant in Warwickshire strapping on their boots in order to come pay us a visit. Harry gave a guilty start and jumped away from the large cow pat of sugar syrup that he was in the midst of prodding with his toy broom, having quite effectively frosted himself from eyebrow to toes (especially his toes). Of course, I arrived just as his tolerance for icky textures was dissolving and panic was setting in, rendering his clean-up that much more of a goat rodeo.

He scuttled off, and while I was giving the floor a cursory swabbing with the mop – I knew more would be required later – he was, it turned out, busily ripping some of my stock from its cello wrap and adding enthusiastically to the design with biro. This completed to his satisfaction, he evidently beetled into the living room, pulled 20 or so DVDs off the shelf, and proceeded to tear the paper inserts asunder before starting to chew – chew – a picture of Woody and Buzz. When I caught him up and began to replace the DVDs, he hared off outside to commit more chaos.

This was a mere 10 minute sample. All the other 10-minuteses in today were horribly similar, and by 3pm I was obliged to perform my daily ritual of tying him to a chair putting him in his car seat, and going for a drive. Sleep swiftly followed, in which I could cheerfully have joined him. I hadn’t realised just how much my sanity depends on A) him sleeping 10 hours + nap, B) going out somewhere every day and C) not inadvertently sitting in lurking patches of toddler wee.

He blatantly wasn’t taking in a word I was saying to him all day, so in that sense I’m not surprised at the underpants casualties. I’ve decided to try and get his attention a bit more tomorrow, and have just come home loaded up with Hot Wheels, Transformers (Revenge of the Fallen, apparently. I remember when they were Robots In Disguise, but there you go), a nifty selection of emergency vehicles and a large box of wrapped chocolates – all of which are now perched very visibly on top of the 6ft+ fridge, which is the only high place in the house I don’t think – think – he will attempt to make an ascent towards. I make no blasé assumptions, however. The kid is half-spider, half-sherpa, and all devious.

What I am not looking forward to is his wail of indignation when he sees them and I explain to him that they must be earnt with Potty Wee Stickers, although I have also bought a handful of distinctly inferior tiny cars to hand out and head off the worst of the protests.

Tomorrow, I am hoping, will be easier on the nerves. He’s at School Fabulous in the afternoon, so my sanity is unlikely to hover as disconcertingly close to Overturn & Flip Out as it did today.

I think I may be hormonal. This was probably a bad week to pick.

Too late now.

Modern appliances

are shit.

We moved into our house 6 years ago this summer, and bought several shiny new appliances to match the shiny new house we’d just built. (Yes, we. My hands and lumbar region have never quite recovered from lugging breeze blocks about, and picking the builders’ cigarette packets off the floor, despite my pointedly supplying a well-placed bin. I was eventually obliged to withdraw their cake perks as a result.) These shiny new appliances are now turning up their collective toes in unison.

The tumble dryer can only be coaxed into life like so:

or by standing with your finger on the button. (I know it’s June. This is the United Kingdom. It’s pissing down out there.)

Our washing machine (which is actually nearly 8 years old, as I demanded that John’s house acquire one before I moved into it. Previously, he took his washing home to his mother once a week. He was 30.) has acquired a deeply unpleasant old-water smell that taints every load of washing placed inside it. I have scoured comment threads for smelly machines, cleaned everything that can be cleaned, and it has not improved matters one jot. Only blasting with the tumble dryer set to Max banishes the smell from our clothes (see masking tape and wine-cork improvisation above).

John broke the tablet-dispenser whatchamacallit door on our dishwasher within weeks of purchase and never got around to re-fitting the spring, so we have been carelessly chucking the tablet inside loose for years. Recently, the top tray is becoming increasingly divorced from the vital bits of metal that prevent it parting company with the dishwasher mothership, and has taken to crashing – expensively so – down onto the bottom layer of crocks. In addition, during the last fortnight its cleaning of cutlery has become noticeably substandard. Significant smearage has been reported.

The freezer section of our fridge-freezer packed up last Saturday. Astoundingly, considering he had just rolled in from a rural tractor-pull very well lubricated indeed, Hairy ‘Beady’ Hubby noticed that the tiny high-temp-warning LED had lit up, and we were able to transfer the still-solid food to our chest freezer. I rang Hotpoint, who were suspiciously desperate to sell me an extended aftercare package for about half what the machine is worth – per annum; I also rang a local chap who told me kindly that 6 years from a frost-free Hotpoint was all I could realistically expect, and it sounded like the compressor was going. He would buy a new one, apparently.

My parents have a perfectly serviceable and energy-efficient fridge living in their shed for Dad’s fishing bait – that they had in their old house. They moved when I was 2, and I won’t see 34 again.

The silver lining to the fridge-freezer Sadness should have been that, as John and I have hankered painfully after one of those huge American-style muthas with an ice maker and sufficient cubic capacity in which to lose an entire tribe of hairy farmers, we could, if we robbed a bank, upgrade. Except we can’t, coz some monumental fuckwit managed to design a monstrous 5 x 6 metre kitchen in such a way that only a 600mm appliance will fit.


What is’t you do?


EEG result letter: ‘in view of your concerns about possible seizures…’ Ummm… wha? Seizures? I’ve never thought Harry suffered from seizures! He hasn’t had a seizure since he was 48 hours old! ‘…there was no evidence of interictal epileptiform activity or focal abnormality.’

So. Not epileptic, then. Erm… good?

He does still have the occasional peculiar eye movement and associated repetitive movement – my description of this to his Paed is evidently what actually scored him the EEG in the first place – but I’ve generally been of the opinion that he’s dealing with sensory overload, as opposed to a neurological flip-out. Because, you know, I see a dozen kids with these types of issues every day and know exactly what I’m on about. Cough.

Anyhoo. It’s nice to know that something we never thought was a problem… isn’t actually a problem.

We saw Harry’s new Paed yesterday, who is a neurology specialist. She’s rather quietly spoken, which was a bit of an arse, as Harry was tired, stroppy and sounding off at high volume. Consequently, even after we compared I-Missed-That-Bit notes afterwards, John and I are still a bit foggy about one or two things, but in essence it went well, I think. Hard to say, in truth, because I did 97% of the talking. Those of you who have had the distinctly equivocal luck to meet me will have observed that I am a compulsive chatterer when not perfectly relaxed, but given that she wanted to take a very comprehensive history indeed, there genuinely seemed to be an awful lot to tell. My not-so-inner Worrier was delighted to be quizzed so closely, but after reeling through fetal distress, IUGR, NICU, milestones, behaviour, muscle tone, digestion, gross motor, fine motor, eyesight, autism, hearing, hypermobility, sensory, vertebrae, physio, short stature, orthotics, School Fabulous, speech… I was parched. I lost count of how many pages of notes she took.

She tested Harry’s reflexes, which he’s not had done before; he seemed to find being tapped with a hammer both fascinating and delightful. I have a sinking apprehension that his versatile new knowledge will fully come home to roost tomorrow morning when I am dozing peacefully in bed and he pulls his usual trick of utilising my semi-conscious recumbent form as a racetrack / trampoline / ski jump / tyre wall / vaulting horse / crash test dummy.

She had a good listen to what used to be his VSD (Harry had a crashingly loud murmur; his old Paed joked on one occasion that he could hear it from the end of the bed, sans stethoscope. I immediately felt an urgent need to run away from The Joke in order to hide in a dark cupboard and headbang my mortified way to better acceptance and less fear of my 3lb 12oz-born son’s 1cm+ heart perforation. His Watch-Me-Turn-Blue! apnoeic episodes during every nappy change didn’t help). Harry, a stethoscope-owner himself, submitted to this with a frozen, delighted expression – before cheerfully piping up with a helpful ‘Dum dum dum dum dum’.

Eventually we ran out of time. I’ll have to see what the clinic letter says, but for now I think she’s testing his gut (troubled) and eyesight (probably perfect, but never been checked) asap; I should think the physio referral I asked for will happen now, and we’re going back to see her in a couple of months to discuss The Future.

I think… she Gets It. She told us at the end that it might be a while before Harry receives a diagnosis, as there was so much for her to sift through.

I then explained that I had started Googling ataxic cerebral palsy when Harry was 3 months old; that it had always been so abundantly, patently, and crystal clear to me that Harry was Not Quite As Other Children Are. The fact that 90% of my friends and family couldn’t see any issue whatsoever with Harry initially was a relatively minor pinprick, but when health professional after health professional was totally unable to see what I saw and wouldn’t take my concerns seriously, I became savagely frustrated. She listened, and she nodded. I couldn’t hear a word she said, mind you, because Harry was screeching like a black and midnight hag, and we departed.

Providing there is Progress, taking her time while picking out the clinical sheep from the transient-toddler-quirk goats is perfectly acceptable to me; the mere fact that she recognises that there is a diagnosis to give is… enough. It’s enough for now.


Item: The lovely Robyn asked what I had actually intended to post about when Harry’s Mmmum! distracted me, and for the life of me, I can’t remember. It’s been a whole 48 hours, and my short-term memory is banjaxed. I can just about remember that I went to see BeeCee and her delightful little son yesterday, but that is only because the baby is uber-nomnomnomable and BeeCee herself is far too lovely to forget. Apart from that, it’s a total blur, and I do worry that this is the effect of a single late night on encroaching age.

Item: John and Harry had the house to themselves today while I was off selling cards at a summer fete. I think they had a good day: there are three empty crisp packets on the desk, the sweets in the cupboard are rolled up a different way to how I left them, the packet of treat-size Smarties has moved and I think the biscuit barrel may have shifted position. John is a rabid exponent of the magical healing powers benefits of copious quantities of potatoes and vegetables, but I feel the boys drifted nutritionally off-course today.

Item: The weight loss continues, although sadly not in the mass poundage I had originally been aiming at. The norovirus and Hay festival between them caused me a fortnight’s diet hiatus: all I could keep down for days after the tummy bug was crisps and biscuits, and I wasn’t feeling anywhere near chirpy enough to correct my upwards course at the gym for a good couple of weeks. I’m vaguely disgusted that fate laid another dog turd in my weight loss path, but at least I’m not currently losing babies, cold-ridden or confined to the house with a poorly toddler, and all those things have happened this spring. I’m down 19lbs, with another 19lbs to go before I clock up the magic BMI of 29.9 and recieve my fabulous reward of a nice Laparoscopy with extra helpings of Hysteroscopy.

Item: The last item reminds me of when I gave up smoking during Christmas of 2002. I had been living with John since the September and he strongly disapproved of my nicotine habit, although candid enough to admit that he knew I was a smoker when he asked me out lured me to his ramshackle cabin talked me into sitting on his knee met me. I had made vague non-committal noises about giving up – I had already formed plans to drag him to church and then breed, and I wanted to be nicotine-free for 2 years before attempting gestation – but had no real plans to actually kiss goodbye to my much-beloved Marlboro Lights. I caught a rotten cold over Christmas and was physically unable to smoke a cigarette for 36 hours. John, seeing his moment, pounced like a gypsy flogging lucky heather, and turned tenacious. Bombarded with emotionally-charged arguments about how I’d already got the difficult bit over with, and any withdrawal symptoms now would be all in my head, he got me to agree to stop. Having promised to do it: I did. It’s one of my (few) better character traits.

Nearly 10 years on, I still think of myself as a smoker that just hasn’t had a cigarette lately. I haven’t walked on very far from the place in my head where I put my cigarette packet down. I still crave… well, not the nicotine, no, but… the process. The actions. The ritual tap of the cigarette on the packet. The patting of the pockets and the rummaging in the handbag for the lighter. The first delicious draw, and blown plume of smoke. The head rush. The peace and quiet for 5 bloody minutes, wherever I was – staring at the patterns and textures of concrete (which can contain beautiful features when viewed 8 inches off), gazing peacefully over countryside, driving contently in the car with the window half-way down, laughing companionably with friends, huddled under a porch hearing the steady patter of the rain… Yes. I miss my cigarettes.

ANYway, to get back to the Being Reminded thing, as a reward for being a very good girl indeed, John took me on our first holiday: a long weekend in the Lake District. As a life-long avoider of most physical activity, I’ve never been too sold on the admittedly beautiful Lakes; the prominent fellwalking/exercise motif to the place disconcerts me. John, however, had never visited and was keen to have a look. This was in the heady early days of our relationship, so instead of calling him a selfish toad and demanding him take me somewhere warm instead (this was MY addiction-conquering treat, after all, and that was when he still had money, too!) I submitted without a squeak, even when I saw him happily piling all his wet-weather gear into a rucksack.

We came over Shap in a blizzard and the snow was sticking fast; I was beginning to think we should have driven up in a Land Rover. I discovered that John, my darling dear, had booked us into the cheapest B&B the internet could provide, and we were essentially in a garrett (that would not have embarrassed the most self-sacrificing poet) above a rough-as-arseholes pub. There was an ensuite, as advertised, but the dividing wall seemed to consist of a single thickness of wallpaper. As I say, this was still in the early days when being able to hear the detaching of a sheet of toilet paper from the roll (let alone anything… else) from the bedroom was Not A Nice Thing.

It was royally pissing it down the next day, in quintessential British style. John bounced into a shop selling walking equipment like a happy puppy and bought himself a plush pair of waterproof new walking boots, as one of his current ones had apparently sprung a slight leak during a walking tour the previous year. Not having much spare cash at the time, and still less to spend on items I didn’t want, I looked out of the window at the rain. He then bought Ordnance Survey maps at the Visitor Information Centre, and pored over them lovingly. He announced that the walk he fancied contained very little incline, and a nice tarn to look at. Sigh.

Sensing a lack of enthusiasm, and after some expressed anxiety on my part, he lent me the better of his two pairs of waterproof trousers (this was in the days when I could still wear a man’s 34inch waist), a Berghaus top and a waterproof coat. I glumly pulled on my own boots, which were not very good ones, and John, with an enormous rucksack hoisted on his shoulders, bounded out of the village and up the hill.

I trudged behind him, listening to my puffing breath, barkingly interspersed with the remnants of the Christmas cold and slowly-exiting nicotine. We walked up past the snowline – at which point I was (seemingly, although I don’t remember feeling this cheerful. Perhaps it’s because I now appear to have liberated the cosy hat that John set off in?) still able to muster a smile.

A rictus, anyway.

We looked at the tarn. It was… a tarn. I demanded We Go. By the time we were half-way home, my oh-so-very-porous boots, socks and feet were squelchily awash, my lungs felt indescribable, and the January rain was hammering down in increasing bucketloads. I pulled up my hood, and the volume of the blattering raindrops would have killed conversation dead, had I still sufficient breath and good temper to converse. I had not. This next photo does not, as I intended it to when I posed for it, show the rivulets of water cascading off my gloves. It shows enough, however.

So. That was what happened the last time I did something really fucking difficult and was ‘rewarded’ for my achievement. This time, I’m expecting post-operative peritonitis at least.

Item: I have digressed so far from where I started, I’ve forgotten the next Item. See? Short term memory (pause to scroll up and look what word I used before, because I’ve already forgotten) banjaxed.

Item: This one is too much of a biggie to squeeze all my mental to-ings and fro-ings in here, but the time has come when we must make concrete decisions about Harry’s preschooling (3 year olds do 15 hours/week) this September. Our local mainstream primary (elementary) – a lovely school with an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report – have offered Harry an afternoon place. The specialist School Fabulous, where he already attends, have offered him a morning place. I’ve decided that Harry will start 5 (half) days at School Fabulous in September, with a view to moving to a split-placement with the local primary later in the academic year if he is ready.

I could have started him straightaway on a split-placement from September, but our local primary seem a little intimidated by the prospect of a non-talking toddler using Makaton (which they do not ‘speak’), and, although falling over themselves to be welcoming to us, have said that they think he would need a teaching assistant. I’m personally not sure that he would, as Harry can generally make himself understood extraordinarily well considering his lack of words, but I completely understand their concerns. In truth, until Harry has his Multi-Disciplinary Assessment (which is such a mighty Event it deserves capitalisation) then his educational needs cannot be formally established – and he is unlikely, it now seems, to have that MDA before the start of the school year. If I was mad-keen to have him mainstreamed then I would have to kick up to have it sooner – but I’m not. He loves School Fabulous. I love School Fabulous. He stays at School Fabulous.

Item: I had a meeting at School Fabulous last week to set an IEP (in his case, improving communication & social skills) for Harry, now that they have had time to assess him. I quickly realised during this meeting that I have been doing entirely the wrong thing lately in gleefully asking Harry to demonstrate his new prowess with Words to them whenever I drop him off there. I had the definite impression that they suspect we may have been treating Harry like a performing seal – unsurprisingly, given the context of me frequently babbling happily at them. (‘He can say Bye! Listen! Bye! Bye, Harry! No darling, with a ‘B’ sound. That’s better! Bye!) Certainly it was stressed to me (politely and subtly) that pressure to talk can be very counterproductive, and children can withdraw. 

It dawned on me how I’ve been coming across to them, and I wanted to issue robust reassurances that Harry is, in fact, hardly ever put on the speaking spot – except when I drop him off there! – but a sneaky voice in the back of my head reminded me that the videos I’ve shown you lately are essentially putting Harry on a little pedestal and encouraging him to wow the crowd. (You have been excessively kind and sweet, and have been obediently and appropriately wowed!) And it’s fair to say that Harry has been asked to showcase his new Mmmum! ability a number of times – to pretty much everyone I’ve met this week, in fact – but…  yeah.  He seems to greatly enjoy the effect that his words have on us, but he’s also very capable of shaking his head in response to an invitation to do some ‘good talking?’ and walking away, if he’s not in the mood for it. So… still chewing on that one. And thinking twice about how to go about all this.

Item: School Fabulous say that Harry is an absolute delight and a pleasure to have there. (Ann beams, maternal feelings aglow.) His behaviour while with them (which we already knew, and gaped incredulously about) is impeccable. He is, apparently, the best tidier-upper they have. (Ann tries to smack her head despairingly into the wall, but can’t get to it because of all the bloody toys on her floor.)

Item: Harry is entitled to free transport, because we are very rural and he is attending nursery for an established need. The thought of putting Harry in the power of a stranger – and their driving ability – sends a shiver of dread down my back. I don’t even like watching John – not the most attentive driver in the world – drive off with him. A protective mother in general, for all sorts of reasons, I am particularly jumpy on this topic. I drive him to and from School Fabulous myself, and Warwickshire pay me a mileage rate for doing so.

I can continue to do this, but Harry will be doing mornings, not afternoons. An 8-something-am commute to School Fabulous would be an absolute ball-breaker; it’s right on the far side of town and I already curse the traffic. School Fabulous have told me that the way transport generally works for their three years olds (and Harry will be just, barely, three. A young three. A three who should still be two, by rights.) who live out in our direction is that they tend to come in on minibuses with the rest of the school in the morning. At lunchtime, it tends to be individual taxis that brings them home, as, naturally, the majority of pupils are doing a full school day. How this would work with car seats (if it’s not a specialist minibus with appropriate seating, the transport vehicles use your own car seats) I really dunno.

For some reason, I’ve got it into my head that Harry would be safer in a minibus with other people’s kids; the two ladies who drive one of Harry’s classmates to and fro in a minibus (all to her tiny self!) seem genuinely caring and affectionate to her, and to drive at an entirely laudable 20 dribbling mph (this is the only context in which you will hear me place laudable and 20mph together, btw. I watch Top Gear and everything.) There’s probably a fair amount of rationalisation coming into play, too, as I certainly don’t fancy that morning commute. But… County won’t be able to give me any details yet about how they would handle any transport I might want for Harry, because they won’t be able to work out their logistics until shortly before term starts and they know what, where and who they are dealing with. I’m hovering on the edge of asking them to do the morning run – I know Harry’s friend A in the next village will probably want transport, so he’ll likely be on the same bus – and I’ll pick him up at lunchtime.

Item: Three long paragraphs just about a bloody bus. Bet you’re glad I worked out his Which? school for later this year without blogging about it, hmmm?

Item: Nearly 2.5 thousand words is enough for now, I reckon.

Item: Bedtime for Wifey!

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