Monday, 14 April 2014

The bubbles! The cake! The shrieking! There there. All better now.


It’s the start of the school holidays. I take the Bairn to the nursery attached to my work, treat her to a cheese sandwich in the canteen and show her the delights of my office. There’s a swivel chair, a PC on which you can type in hilariously massive 72-point scale, and there’s a telly. But what’s this? It doesn’t get CBeebies! The other options including CNN and BBC Parliament do not find favour. Let’s face it; I’d never get any work done if I knew I could have Mr Bloom’s Nursery and Katie Morag bopping away in the background.
The Bairn safely passed baton-like to Wife-features, I make a last-minute dash to the shops for a particular toy and a card with a 5 on it. After the fourth or fifth card shop I begin to panic. So far none has had any such cards. Plenty of 4s and 6s though! “More than just books” proudly screams a poster in the window of a bookshop. I dive inside brimming with positive hopes. There are a limited number cards. Some 4s, some 6s, no 5s. Arg!

Eventually I find one, in a toy shop. The choice of numbered cards is mainly between pink and glittery with princesses galore or black and blue with violent superheroes. Thankfully I find a red and mousey compromise.

The essential birthday toy is purchased and placed in a large plastic bag. I shove it on a high shelf when I get home, only for the Bairn to spot it and blurt out what it contains. The bag material is basically transparent. Sigh. Why in the name of Satan’s toenails would a toy shop put purchases in see-through bags? Someone at corporate HQ must be having a right old laugh to themselves.  


To Haddington, the nerve-centre of East Lothian, for a briefing on the forthcoming European elections. (22 May, election fans.) I plan to take a gander at the count. Outside, after the briefing, I’m met by a rather ominous sign. My millionth puncture this year. A friendly counterpart from a rival political party gives me and my bike a lift most of the way home. I give the bike a good talking to later that night in the shed.


The Bairn turns 5. It’s almost overwhelming thinking of everything that’s happened in a relatively short space of time. Buggies, high chairs and cots have been built and dismantled; cars have been bought and sold; jobs and houses have been changed; small fluffy toy pirate cats have become integral to our lives. It’s been a whirlwind.

Amid the frenzy of life I do enjoy the occasional moment of zen. It can sometimes be the glint of sunset on the Forth as the number 44 bus sails home along the coast road, or those few seconds in the morning between opening the Bairn’s curtains and her leaping out of bed, when all you can hear is blackbirds in the garden. Today I again notice and smile at the discovery that the time between appearances of the green man on the crossing between our house and the bakers is the same amount of time as it takes to buy six morning rolls and a custard slice. I still look both ways but have never had to wait.


Hooray for QMU. The uni’s plans for a wind turbine were knocked back by the BANANAs lot at East Lothian Council (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody) but a Scottish Government reporter has overturned the decision. Maybe the climate clowns at the council will stick a couple of revenge coal mines in its development plan to balance things out.  


It’s the end of the working week and I look to Sweden with envious eyes, as a six hour working day is on the cards for some employees. I’ve blogged before about how much I enjoyed Daddy Mondays when I worked a four day week for a few months when the Bairn was tiny. I do think we need to get better at finding the right balance between working and spending time with our families, friends and ourselves!


Lord Robertson of Port Ellen warned of a cataclysm. I wasn’t really paying attention to the context of his stand-up routine (I assume that’s what it was) but guess he was referring to the aftermath of a party for five year olds. The bubbles! The cake! The shrieking! There there. All better now.


To the playing fields for a game of hoopla with the Bairn, her gran, a hula hoop and some rugby posts. On the way back home I notice some graffiti and from a distance assume it’s rude. Upon closer inspection however… Well, we do live in the Honest Toun.

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