Saturday, 31 March 2012

moving home giveaway

the plan is to move home in 3 weeks from now. the amusing thing, in england, is that you never really know whether the plan to move will actually materialise as planned until about 1 or 2 weeks beforehand: it is legal to change one's mind or drop the offer price at the very last minute and this makes moving home ever so slightly more nerve wrecking than it is in the netherlands (i imagine). it's seriously weird - it results in whole sets of people in a domino of house sales & purchases all handing over keys on Friday at 1pm, removals must happen on one day exactly (forget about decorating before you move in & all that sort of luxury); just imagine: one set of buyers pulls out and an entire chain that has been lined up, keels over - it has a knock-on effect on everyone's move.

the last time we moved, three sets of buyers pulled out of the sale until we eventually managed to sell it to family number four. this time, we're still dealing with our first set of purchasers & keeping fingers & toes crossed. i have expressed an interest in a house at scooter distance from the kids' school but of course, can't be sure it will still be there by the time i hand over the keys to the new owners of our house...

still - today i worked towards moving out. the new house is substantially smaller, so 3 sofas and one armchair went to a friend. our lounge & sitting room are virtually empty. the kids' clothes have been in need of sorting out for ages and it seems to be the limit to pay a removals company to shift stuff we're never going to use. So the kids & i spent the day seeing what fits on their bodies and in their drawers: 10 bags of girls' clothes went to the charity shop and 6 bags of boys' clothes are ready to come to the netherlands in 2 weeks for my friend's benjamin. the amount of clothes my kids have is still ridiculous, all gratefully received mega hip clothes from their cousins but in a sense wasted on us because they're condemned to these flppn schooliforms in this country....

my wardrobe is next. i'm not going to do that now because i'm shattered and a new dvd arrived today, and i feel i have earned an evening of drooling in front of clooney. however - i did pick up my favourite diesel jeans mini dress. i love it - but i don't wear it anymore and it is definitely too nice for a charity shop. what a nice excuse for a give away! the size is small / 34 (i'm 1.58m short, normal build), length just above the knee, and the pictures do not do it justice - it looks really cute on. i will announce the winner on Friday the 13th, so if you would like it, leave a comment to let me know - if it won't fit you, tell your friends :-)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

sound is just vibrating air

this sounded like fun when i found it in the theatre brochure:

'Breaking music down to its bare bones, Calefax's five brilliant musicians show how sound is just vibrating air and how notes can be changed simply by using different lengths of tubing. Take a reed and a mouthpiece. Add a crook here, a top joint there - all whilst playing! Finally, bit by bit, we have an oboe, saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet and bassoon performing together!

Hear an amazing home-made family of 'slide saxophones'. Then, with all instruments complete and in full working order, Calefax perform a delightful 20 minute extract from the The Music Factory, a mimed musical play for children.

A fascinating action-packed afternoon, with time for some questions and answers before it ends around 4pm - plus meet the musicians time.'

fascinating indeed - so i booked, and we all loved it - especially eldest! she even asked them a question from the audience: 'how old were you when you learned to play?' (answer: all older than when she started to learn to play double bass, at 6, so she has immediately grown 2 inches)

and, cherry on the cake: they're dutch! lucky us...

Friday, 23 March 2012

the perks of the job....


post posting note: apparently it's not clear what this is......... this was my hotel room in Amsterdam, what you see at the back is a ~8 person bed that i had entirely to myself. a bit weird, but rather wonderful!

Monday, 19 March 2012

looking after George

finally it was youngest's turn to look after George the Dragon
less scary for him than last time
more educational (he learned to play the guitar, for instance)

most importantly, youngest couldn't stop beaming.
apparently, you only get to look after George if you've done something very special
for weeks, every friday morning, youngest would ask me 'do you think i'll get george today?'
and finally... hurrah!!! :-)

i must have heard it at least 10000 times: mama i cannot believe i am star of the week!!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

keel's diary

a friend gave me Keel's simple diary yellow (vol 1) for christmas. it's great - the date line is left blank for you to complete as & when, and then there are 'prompts' that make you think about your day in unusual ways. for instance, here's one: “your day was (only choose one): calm – overcast – an empty toolbox” or "your day was a) precious b) a nail file c) crushed" and then there are questions such as "who is brilliant but does not have a clue...", to "draw a graph of your life experiences up to this date..." (graph template included on page) or  “where will you be in ten years from now? (make a sketch, a drawing or a collage – or disregard)”.

i've been feeling far too miserable lately to spoil such a lovely book with gloom - so despite good intentions (i even took it with me on ski holiday) the pages have remained empty.

also, our house has been up for sale for about a year & i have managed to keep it mega tidy for all the viewings (read: pile up everything quickly when viewings are announced at the last minute & stuff it all in drawers).

today was the first in a long, long time that i have glimpsed things will be ok despite 'everything'. all sorts of things happened i couldn't possibly throw on the www.

where is my flppn diary?!

Monday, 12 March 2012


Last time I was there, I brought home the best chocolates in the world for oma & opa, who had been looking after the kids. Youngest & Eldest were very disappointed to see the 'treasure box' disappear off to the Netherlands together with their grandparents and I had to agree - they looked pretty amazing.

This evening, I phoned home. 'Do you remember what I promised I would bring you the next time I had to go to Brussels?' They knew I was there, had known for some time that I would be going, but had not asked once. I thought they had probably forgotten. But there it was in stereo: 'Chocolates! Did you bring the heart one? Yeah!'

I wonder whether I'll be allowed any...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


interesting how kids go through phases. for a long time youngest has been keen to test the boundaries. recently, he has been eager to be 'my little ray of sunshine', bursting with energy, bouncing up and down, and on top of that he knows the boundaries & sticks inside them. such a delight!

this evening he asks me 'mama, what do you think was my biggest hurt ever?'

i don't need to think twice. 'when you hurt your toe.'

big smile. clearly that was the correct answer. 

a bit later, i take him to bed. tigger bounces on the bed as usual, and i do my routine 'now be careful, don't jump....... oh!!'


he has decided to dive face flat into his pillow - except he ends up diving face flat on his head board.

poor little boy!! he just lies there very still, trying to recover, holding his tears, being brave. 

when he finally decides he can speak again, he looks up, face as white as a sheet, and asks: mama, do you think this is now my biggest hurt ever?

thankfully there is no blood and, contrary to youngest's claims, no cracked open skull. only a big head bump. i cannot help but smile. 'no, i think the toe incident still wins'