Sunday, 31 January 2010


There has been a bit in the press lately about the Costa Book of the Year winner Christopher Reid. Although Reid himself is no stranger to accolades, his first poetry collection, Arcadia won the Somerset Maugham award back in 1980. In 2007 he edited the Selected Letters of Ted Hughes by Faber and Faber and has published two collections of childrens poetry All Sorts and Alphabicycle Order amongst others. He is also cited along with Craig Raine as the founder of the ‘martian school’ of poetry which describes everyday objects in an off the wall manner.

A Scattering, is a book of poems dedicated to his late wife, actress Lucinda Gane, (Mrs Clooney in Grange Hill) who sadly died of cancer in 2005. A man writing out his grief.

 The Guardian published one as their Saturday poem which I’ve copied here.



I know it’s impossible, but several times

I’ve heard her calling a greeting

Just as she used to, pitching it up

With her own distinctive spin of enquiry

From the first turn of the stairs, as she arrived home.


Once or twice I’ve been to check; mostly I haven’t.

I know she’s dead and I don’t believe in ghosts,

Nor that the house has been saving up

Old echoes as rationed treats and rewards.

It’s my brain, that’s all, turned whimsically ventriloquist.


I’m still taken in by its craftiness, its know-how.

With its psychotechnological sleight-of-sound, it does

What I can’t do: summon up

Her loved voice, perfect in pitch, timbre and inflection.

A variety turn – that never fails to give me a turn.


By Christopher Reid, Costa Book of the Year Winner. Published by Areté Books £7.99

Saturday, 30 January 2010

How to wear a baby

I happened across this cute clip today, on how to put on a baby sling for a newborn. I wish I’d seen it when Erbie was new, I tried a couple of times with a pashmina but ended up with a Baby Bjorn.

Went the Worthing Well?


We went to visit The Grandad during the week in his new rental apartment in Worthing, a converted Georgian villa a stones throw from all the necessary amenities, which to us would be shops, station, seafront, to him is hospital, doctors, station, he is worried about getting ill, bless and I guess being newly single at 70 it’s no surprise. The flat is lovely, high ceilings, tasteful decor, outdoor space, fitted kitchen, a bath, all he needs. The poor man had to buy everything, from knives and forks to sofa, bed and TV; having just left his second wife in their matrimonial house in Spain. He seems happy considering, is a little worried being told he has high blood pressure for the first time in his life probably not helped by the fact he is having to mediate between Belle Mere, his ex-wife (mother of The GR) and us. She still refuses to honour her agreement in fact any agreement and seems happy to prolong the separation (we haven’t spoken since August). She has admitted that she realises now she cannot replace us with her other son’s family in Eastern Europe after trying to spend a family Christmas with them. Second grandson doesn’t speak English, nor does he live with The GR's brother, who now needs a translator to speak to his own son. So the chances of said child building a relationship with his English grandmother are slim. The Belle Mere has missed so much of Erbie already. His first steps, his first words, his first picking up a pen and drawing a line, which has now advanced to circles, his first singing, trying to eat with a spoon, growing hair (a little), it’s criminal. The GR is close to cracking, I’m close to cracking but we know if we do nothing will have changed in our relationship with her, she’ll go back to trying to rule our lives.  The Grandad seems to think he’ll be able to make her see the light, he has got her to admit to herself she wants to keep control of the GR. He’s in his 40’s! The phrase if you love someone set them free keeps coming into my mind but the BM would take that the wrong way too.

More Stripes!

Marks & Spencer A-line cotton drill skirt.

Markus and Spencsius does it again. 9am is the time to go on a Saturday morning - I had the shop to myself and picked up this A-line cotton skirt for £12, and as it was such a bargain, a blue one too, for the Summer don’t you know, although it looks okay with the polo neck and opaques today. Available online here. Sorry for the tiny pic but I swiped it from their site.

Cute little frocks too above £29.50, from their Indigo Collection.

White linen, short sleeved drop waist dress £39.50 from Indigo Collection.

All images © Marks and Spencers

Friday, 29 January 2010

Today I mainly

Made this...

look like this:

Dressed Erbie for my amusement like this:
Having got the idea from this...
from the gorgeous book, Zoo-ology by Joelle Jolivet

Drank these...

It’s water not gin, it rained and Erbie has the tale end of a cold, so we stayed in. The behind the door clutter was getting to me and had to go and The GR being at work all day I had time to potter unhindered. That was the week that was. 

Tired and unattractive?

Is your partner’s snoring a turn off? Here is the solution! 

(This ad popped up on my mail and I felt the need to share).

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hobbs New Arrivals

Image: Hobbs

Stripes have been done to death over the past few years but they are still ubiquitous and I still love them. This window display in Hobbs caught my eye the other morning. We likey.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Forgive and Forget - Not Yet

The GR was perfectly foul yesterday but I’m so simple minded and easily pleased I have clean forgotten about it today. They say forgive and forget, I find quite the opposite true for me. I can forgive but never forget and I can forget but never forgive. Actually that’s not true at all I do forgive and I do forget, it just takes a while, years. Then it is gone, never to be spoken of again, I’m just a bear with a simple brain. Maybe that is it, I am simple, and easily pleased. I don’t get caught up in the complexities of life, I don’t dwell on stuff for too long, I barely look back, a recent attempt shook me to the core. For example things that kept me awake last night:

1. Waffles missing sheets, having read Belgian Waffle’s recent post on losing a laundry ticket, I went over various scenarios of possible retrieval methods without solution.

2. Possible reasons Belle Mere could have for behaving in such a manner. I eventually had to agree with The GR that it was all about control and the relinqishing of. This went on for hours – possible conversations, letters written, emails composed, outcomes, resolutions. So you see when I posted late last year that I had decided to forgive the Belle Mere, forgive her I did but forget I could not, it keeps creeping up on me, seeping into our everyday existence. All the while she is losing out, of course we feel guilty about that too but feel we must stand our ground, or there will be another 8 years of the same. Thank goodness The Grandad has begun to mediate.


I forgave The GR for behaving like a perfect c**t all day yesterday as it is pretty much all Belle Mere related. At one point we were walking over Hungerford Bridge, I had Erbie on my hip as usual, The GR and I were discussing his mother again, he was upset and gets vertigo. A boat started towards the bridge and I stopped in the middle and asked The GR to go ahead so that I could show Erbie a boat going under the bridge and coming out the other side. He called me a c**t and started insisting that I keep walking, I insisted that he not give Erbie his fears and stood my ground. The boat passed underneath Erbie and I waved, The GR huffed off ahead and we met on the South side, where he filmed Erbie looking through the railings at a seagull floating on the Thames with The Houses of Commons in the background.

Later in the day he stropped out because I offered to make him a cheese sandwich, he came back with his tail between his legs and ate a tuna one. I felt like saying a lot of things but held my tongue and after Erbie had gone to sleep said simply: ‘Sorry you had such a bad day today.’ Which meant he apologised and was wonderful all day today, wonderful all day today out at work.



Mummy’s Little Helpers - 10% off at Mothercare

I haven’t blogged much about baby stuff recently, partly because Erbie is such a dream boat we just wander about having fun. I relish putting him to bed and reading him a story, when I turn the light off he snuggles onto my lap for a cuddle before getting into his bed, I kiss the top of his head and breath in his smell, so adorable. People do keep mentioning terrible twos though, oh wait till he reaches the terrible twos etc. etc. I keep phiffing and mumbling under my breath, not my boy, but last week much to my chagrin I had a taster, my little angel suddenly became a noise monkey, he even lashed out and he howled in the morning when I wouldn’t let him get out of bed at 3am, yes 3am. He had had his booster jab on the wednesday and a slight fever for a couple of days after but I didn’t think that could really be the cause, then magically after just over week everything was back to normal, the jab HAD affected him, I’d been warned it may make him irritable but didn’t realise quite how much. This got me to thinking about things that had helped make the first 17 months of mumdumb so manageable.
Here are my top 5

1. Bio-Oil 
Available from most good chemists, £19.99 for a 200ml bottle in Boots. This stuff worked miracle for me and saved me from a single stretch mark. I also use it as an emolient in Erbie’s bath water, which keeps his eczema at bay.

2. Nuxe cleansing water, I went paraben free during my pregnancy and continued whilst breastfeeding, this was one of the products I used. Great for cleansing your skin when you don’t have the time or inclination it removes every scrap of make-up and grim leaving your skin feeling supple and refreshed. £12 from most good department stores.
3. Burts Bees Grapefruit and Sugar Beet shampoo, £9.99. All natural and paraben free this product, kept my hair super shiny and squeaky clean. Worth every penny, it lasts for ages, you only need to use a tiny amount. My hairdresser told me if you use a good shampoo you can get away with a cheap conditioner as they all more or less do the same.

4. Sex and the City DVD complete series boxset, £49.99 from HMV.  
What can I say? We all need a little diversion from time to time, and mine was with Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda. I can’t wait for the next movie..

5. Hippychick child hip seat available from John Lewis for £37.50. 
This means I can walk everywhere with Erbie a short trip to the shops or a long march across to the other side of the Thames. Buggies were not for me, but I understand that it’s not the case for everyone. 

10% off at Mothercare
If however you’re in the market for a buggy, snap up a bargain with this  10% off voucher on orders over £150 at Mothercare running until Thursday 28th January, so be quick.

Pollarding in Primrose Hill

Pollarded London Plane Tree (Platanus x hispanica) in Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill, North London, January 2010

Pollarding is method of pruning back trees to a certain height to restrict their growth, in London it is usually to prevent damage to electrical wires and obstruction of street lights. 

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Silver Charms

I went to the P. Twins second birthday party this weekend, which was noisy, but fun. Two little girls with curls. I gave them silver bracelets for their first birthday and am getting them charms for each birthday until I guess I get bored or they are old enough to tell me they are bored!

I wanted to get this wondeful Eiffel tower charm from Tiffany, a snip at £120! How adorable is that little gold plane at the bottom of the page and look at that silver NY cab...

But plumped for these silver ballet slippers from the ROH shop, equally as cute but missing that extra nought!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Secret Garden

Erbie in our secret garden. 

It’s not really a secret garden it’s St John’s Lodge in Regents Park, but it feels secret!

Friday, 22 January 2010


The Grandad has decided to mediate between Belle Mere and nous, and had a meeting today where it was proffered that the Belle Mere may allow us to purchase half of the flat under conditions to be agreed. It’s a step in the right direction on perhaps a long road ahead, but at least it is ahead.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The truth behind the Belle Mere situation

The art of giving or how very spoilt and horrid I really am.

Along came Erbie, The GR wanted to make a will – just incase, so asked (as a precaution) even though he thought, had been told, had been promised, the flat was his, for 49% of the deeds to be put into our names. This had been an ongoing discussion at the behest of Belle Mere for 8 years at least ‘I should really put your name on the deeds, it’s yours in my will…, get a laywer, find out about capital gains tax for me etc. etc’. She charged us rent for living there anyway so when we ran away to France we rented it out which provided an income for the Belle Mere and The GR. Then we moved back and decided to rent in the West End for a while, which the flat supplemented. Then the Belle Mere decided to move back to London and into the flat. After almost another year of negotiations she produced a printed list of reasons she didn’t want to put our names on the deeds, it was, for The GR, the last straw, we withdrew and silence fell.

If she was a nice, decent person she would have just given the flat to The GR when she bought it (for him) with money she had inherited 15 years ago (so that he’d have somewhere to live whilst studying). She didn’t need the money then and doesn’t need it now. Is she afraid that if she gives the flat to The GR he won’t have to put up with her anymore, the absolute opposite would be the case. It would be such a lovely thing to have done, he would probably do anything for her, which he more or less had done up until the point he realised she’d been stringing him along for all these years. Rewarding his brother’s bad behaviour and reprimanding him for his good. We’d be forever in her debt, and would joyfully put up with whatever demands she made, because of the wonderful gift.

Instead it’s been about the money, the power of it. Holding things at ransome, offering things, then retracting. Making promises one year and denying them a year later. Setting up hopes to dash them. She owns 2 properties outright, and has savings, it’s her money she can do what the devil she likes with it and it seems she will. I guess to some people material wealth is worth more than spiritual. I know which I’d rather have and now it seems just aswell I do.

Now how horrid and spoilt do you think me – no comments please!


The Grandad and Belle Mere are having a meeting on Friday afternoon to try and broker an agreement. 

Here are some clouds:

Rose pink cloud bracelet, €45 from a lovely French website called: Bianca and family.

Cute rain cloud mobile from leptitpapillon online from Etsy.

No nasties here, it’s BPA free baby bottle by the new French company Cloud.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Black Hawk Dawn

Trafalgar Square early morning ©WEM

Erbie woke at 3ish last night and complained for an hour until we all got up at 4ish. ‘Jungle Book’, colouring and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ again, whilst I drifted in and out of consciousness on the sofa. I woke at 7ish and had a filter coffee pulled Erbie’s jeans over his sleepsuit likewise myself and set off for a walk down to Trafalgar Square.

I love a city when it’s just waking up, damp and dirty from the night before and if you are lucky turning into a bright crisp morning. You see so many things when the streets are empty that are usually lost in the bustle of people.

Soho Square was locked so we walked around the North side which is being dug up for Crossrail, past three laughing blokes on the dog end of their night out, and 2 men loading what looked like unexploded WW2 bombs from a pile inside the French church into a white van – (couldn’t have been right?). 

On consideration they may well have been removing WW2 shells, which could explain why all the buildings at the top end of Dean Street have been closed while works are carried out. The GR, Kendal, and I have all been discussing their vacancy... On further checking, there are actual unexploded bomb maps (UXB) and the high risk areas are in red. We’ll take that as read then!

Continuing down Charing Cross Road I saw this street art - a possible Banksy in the gated entrance of a block of flats. 

Banksey? Charing Cross Road. ©WEM

Trafalgar Square after a night of rainfall. ©WEM

Tools of the trade! ©WEM

Trafalgar Square was tranquil but for the tinkle of tiny bells, tiny bells tinkling uncannily like those strapped to the ankles of Morris men, but they weren’t strapped to the ankles of Morris men they were strapped to the ankles of a great dark Harris hawk which swooped down onto the arm of a unassuming man just in front of me. 

Harris Hawk with handler, Trafalgar square. ©WEM

Ha, so it’s true, they do have hawks to keep the pigeons numbers down. I went to talk to him. My she was a beautiful bird, Harris hawks are from the US, he got her when she was young but she was raised by her parents in captivity in the UK. He flies her in the square every Sunday to scare the pigeons away not to hunt them, it is not their intention to kill. The handler told me they make sure of this by keeping her weight at a certain level, feeding her just enough to come back to the fist for more, but so that she isn’t hungry enough to chase the pigeons or as he says why would she come to my fist for a piece of cold meat when she could have nice warm pigeon. The mere sight of her flying round the square keeps the pigeons away. And the square is clear of pigeons, not a one sir. There are several seagulls squawking overhead which he tells me is because they are pairing up at this time of year. He does have to contend with the pigeon alliance who feed them, yes apparently not just mad old ladies and tourists feed pigeons they have their own alliance going round putting down food. After flying her for a couple of hours he takes her home and gives her a small quail and a rat and puts her in her avairy happy as Larry. The things you see when you get up early!

NB: Pigeons are all right by me except the crab footed specimens one usually sees in London have rotton feet from nesting in their own acid droppings, yeah those not so nice droppings play havoc with listed buildings too.

Pigeon alliance feeding Orange Street

I walk back through Leicester Square and like the minature Central Park feel of winter trees against the large cinemas.

Oscar Deutsh’s flagship cinema built in 1937 on the site of the Alhambra theatre. His motto was ‘Oscar Deutsh Entertains Our Nation’ giving the acronym ODEON and between 1931 and his untimely death in 1941 he installed an Odeon cinema in most major towns and cities across the country, bringing great British films and Hollywood movies to the masses.

What’s on? Two films with ladies over 40 - blimey!

Above: Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law at the Empire.

Below: Our Kate.

Chinatown is empty save a few delivery trucks unloading outside restaurants.

By Old Compton Street the walk has had its desired effect on Erbie.


Even Bar Italia is empty...

I walk back through Soho Square which is still locked and see these.

Why do shoes end up in trees like that? 

Soho Square, West side, early morning reflection.

Poster on the corner of Rathbone and Oxford Street (now closed to traffic – more Crossrail).

 Photographer not a terrorist .org poster.

I get home and pour Erbie onto the bed next to The GR sleeping peacefully, It’s turned into a wonderfully clear morning and I’m wired from the coffee so write this!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Dead Man’s Shoes?

Trawling ebay I came across these size 9 original Biba mens shoes. The owner seems to think they may have belonged to a Rolling Stone, apparently they were passed on from the same owner who recently sold Brian Jones’ guitar at auction and is looking for authentication, so if you know any of the Stones or fancy a pair of original Biba shoes see here!

Friday, 15 January 2010

I can see clearly now.

Paul Smith has collaborated with Evian and designed a rather nice bottle with signature stripes available at Selfridges. There are 5 (all the same as far as I can see apart from different coloured tops). I got a pink capped one today because I rather like it and it’s Paul Smith and affordable - £3.99 (expensive for a bottle of water je sais but I saw it as a single stem vase). I know I should keep it as is, i.e full (collectors item) but life is too short!
Evian Bottle © Paul Smith 2009

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

I want one...

Lou Lou mini Louis Ghost chair by Phillipe Starck

I went in Conran on Marylebone High Road before Christmas and there was a stack of mini - yes mini Philippe Starck Louis Ghost chairs in a confection of colours, transparent blue, pink, green yellow, so adorable I was a little overwhelmed  and scuttled away quickly. I’ve always hankered after the full sized version but frankly one thing we are not short of is chairs. They’ve been haunting me ever since (aptly). I’ve just had a look online and they are in the sale - arrrggh credit card itch.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Primrose Hill Vintage Fashion Fair

A vintage fashion fair in Primrose Hill, what’s not to like? There will be refreshments and a plethora of stalls offering their wares from 30’s and 40’s tailoring to seventies designer gems perhaps an Ossie Clark, or a bit of old Biba (be still my beating heart) along with childrenswear and accessories.
Vintage Fashion London, are offering free tickets to the Primrose Hill Vintage Fashion Fair taking place this Sunday, 17 Jan 2010, 11am-5pm at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road, London, NW1


Next time I’m staring at the ball of dust and fluff collecting behind the propped open door, I can ponder on the meaning of life and art. This is what Paul Hazelton does anyway, ‘the result is something quite fragile that dissolves from life’ as seen here in this moth made from under the bed fluff. You can see more at Saatchi.

by Paul Hazelton 2006
Household dust

Erbie new word...


Other nonsense

Quote of the day

‘They tuck you up your mum and dad...’
Anon - after Larkin

“Philately will get you everywhere”

“It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair. 
It’s the hope I can’t deal with”

“Each new friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

‘Come on Dover move your bloomin’ arse’.
Eliza Doolittle