Thursday, 21 June 2007

Precious moments of solitude

I will concentrate on the beauty of one blue hill in the distance, and for me, that moment will be eternity.
Alice Walker "Possessing the Secret of Joy"

Clive lost his glasses on the way to work so to save him from having to wear sunglasses all day long I volunteered to deliver his contact lenses. He was sweet enough to treat me to a nice cup of tea at the recently opened shop. After finishing his tea he decided to take Cat upstairs to introduce her to his colleagues. And therefore I found myself peacefully sitting in the tea shop; enjoying beautiful aroma and light calming taste of Rose White Peony tea; munching on freshly-cooked fantastically rich Triple Chocolate and Nut brownie; looking outside at the brightly lit St Paul’s Cathedral, blue skies and swaying green tree. For the last few days I struggled with trying to figure out how to have more moments like this and suddenly realised that while the weather is good I can occasionally meet up with Clive at lunchtime, give him the Babe to play with for 20-30 minutes and enjoy some solitary time outside during daytime, while they can enjoy currently all too rare moments together.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


Yesterday while cheerfully playing with me Cat said Mama! This could be (and most probably was) totally random noise practice on her part, but it made me feel so ecstatically happy. For last few weeks her hunger/need-comfort cries turned into very clear “Mama” and I was getting convinced that she’ll only scream mama in the hour of need. So it is nice to be acknowledged during happy times as well.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The brightness of Brighton

On Friday we went to Brighton. As usual getting through London took a long time, so we entertained ourselves the best we could. Cat tried to get her socks off – unsuccessfully.

Then she tried to get her hat off – successfully

And eventually she and I slept. By the time we arrived to Brighton I was starving and as some of you know I become very unpleasant and dangerous when hungry. So after registering in the hotel and changing Cat’s outfit, we went in search of food. Ended up in Pitcher & Piano bar (surprisingly they have highchairs) and I finally had a good pub burger, which I was craving for awhile. Despite gloomy weather forecast the sun was shining brightly and the sky was mostly blue, so we took a nice stroll along the beach. My previous Brighton visit was in the middle of winter and I was able to compare the stark difference the winters and summers bring to the seaside town. It is so lovely in summer; there are things sold on every corner (freshly made donuts smelled very tempting), people everywhere and so much light.

Noel was brave enough to wade the water, while we looked in admiration and I wondered if my dad would be insane enough to go for a swim (he usually is). I miss them - my parents. The sound of waves crashing against pebble beach brought memories of our summer vacations at the Black Sea when I was little. It is totally different sound from the one waves makes against the sand.

Eventually we had to go back to hotel to feed the little one and put her to bed. On entering the room we were blinded by the brilliant light and had to close the curtains. They were heavy red one, but the sun still got through them creating Dracula’s cave atmosphere. Cat went to sleep surprisingly easy considering how weird and different the surroundings were. Since it was still very early Clive and his dad went out for a pint or two and I enjoyed reading Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth, which made me interested in visiting French towns of Toulouse, Carcassone and Beziers.

The next day Cat was up at 5 am (*cringe*) so I took her to the beach. There were just us, seagulls and a bunch of praying (? Studying? ) whitely clad Muslims. I felt so peaceful and relaxed and was happy to experience the magic of morning breeze, beach and water.

Once everyone else awoke, it was time for Cat’s morning nap (occasionally I find it amusing how much we manage to get done before other’s day starts). Noel was kind enough to babysit, so Clive and I had uninterrupted breakfast. And then we went to Royal Pavilion. I was happy to revisit it as it is truly stunning inside.

Afterwards we had time to look around the shops and finish buying presents for Cat’s Cape Town cousins. Toby Tiger had lots of wonderful brightly coloured items and now I regret not getting anything for Cat (but we really don’t have any more space for her clothes and most toys were for older kids). For lunch we decided to take the easy option of Carluccio's. And then it was back home.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Things that come out at night

Teeth! Today in the morning I discovered that Cat now has both of her lower central incisors. Poor babe, she was so unhappy yesterday and there are still 18 teeth to go.

We finally made to the baby clinic yesterday and found out that Cat now weights 8.04 kilos.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Food == mummy

Cat finally warmed up to her grandfather and starts smiling whenever she sees him. So he tried to feed her today to allow me to make dinner for the rest of us. Her look of pure confusion was priceless. Sadly he was only able to get one spoonful into her mouth before confusion turned into crying and I had to take over. This makes me think that Clive should feed her on the weekends to get her understand that food doesn’t only come from mummy.

Monday, 4 June 2007

How did this post become about sleep?

The weather this weekend was totally unlike previous one.

When I came to England many people asked me if I was missing Australian weather. And the answer always was no. Melbourne weather is very similar to London - warm and sunny one day, cold and rainy the next. Except in Melbourne it doesn’t change from day to day, it changes from hour to hour. One of Melbournians’ favourite sayings is “Melbourne is the city of 4 seasons in one day”. I’m actually one of those rare people who like London weather (most of the time) as I don’t handle hot weather very well.

My father-in-law is visiting for two weeks so we took him to Geffrye museum on Sunday. It is a lovely museum of English domestic interior and furniture. Friendly staff, stair-free access, highchairs in the cafe and its small size (1-2 hours are enough to see all of it) make this museum a perfect place for visiting with a baby. Their front lawn is wonderful for relaxing on a warm day. Oh, and the entrance to the museum is free.

Today we went to the National Art Gallery. Luckily Noel was happy to see only part of the collection as Cat wasn’t impressed by Art and only lasted about an hour before needing a change of scenery. So after observing the tourists and pigeons at the Trafalgar Square we went back home for a nice long afternoon nap. After all the complaining I did about Cat’s sleeping habits, I have to admit that I got to the stage where I sleep better in the afternoon next to her than at night. Sleeping through the night is becoming a very distant unreal memory as I certainly had to wake up few times at night during the last stages of my pregnancy to go to the bathroom. I’m struggling to remember how it feels to sleep for a long stretch of time since I never really paid very much attention to sleeping – I just slept. So my dear childless friends please savour the tiny miracle of uninterrupted sleep!

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Wise words from Churchill

When I die and go to heaven, I want to spend the first million years painting – so I can get to the bottom of the subject.
Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Woodstock & Blenheim Palace

Since previous weekend was a long three day one we hired a car and went to see Woodstock and Blenheim Palace. It looks like we are under footy curse as we encounter football crowds everywhere we go. This time we came across them while trying to have a quick break at the roadstop just before Oxford. At first I attributed the huge car park queue to the tourist popularity of Oxford. But once Clive got out of the car he discovered that the place was full of footy supporters. The road to Oxford was also packed so we decided to try an alternative route. And on B4027 the sign advertising scones and tea enticed us to stop at the farm.

We had some nice tea with scones, jam and brilliant clotted cream (it was almost like butter) and Cat go to see goats, pigs, rabbits, peacocks and a sheep for the first time in her life.

After checking into the hotel we went for a walk to admire cute buildings and salivate over marvellous items in the antique shops. In return all shopkeepers and many older women on the street admired Cat and tried to get a smile out of her (no luck, she regards strangers with very serious looks and the only sign of how much she likes or dislikes them is how fast her legs are swinging). Eventually Babe got tired so we went back to the hotel for the nap. In the evening she got to try a wooden high chair in the restaurants bistro.

And after she fall asleep I had a good soak in the bath getting high on the wonderful L’Occitane smells. I totally forgot how much I love their products.

The next day started with the lovely breakfast – they serve such wonderful dishes as buttermilk pancakes and green eggs & ham (bread, prosciutto, egg and pesto source). After Cat’s morning nap we headed to Blenheim Palace - the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

The interiors were stunning and the gardens looked beautiful on the photos, but the weather was horrid (both cold and wet) and so we missed out on exploring the outside. Inside I learned few things about the great English prime minister, but one fact struck me the most – did you know that Hallmark used some of his paintings for their greeting cards? I didn’t even know he liked painting – I remember seeing photos of him with the easel, but my mind never registered the significance of it. I think I’ll get a book on him out of the local library as he sounds like very interesting human being (and politician).

Later in the day we went for a drive and stopped to see the Rollright Stones.

Awful weather drove us back indoors and the rest of the time was spent relaxing in the hotel.

The duck monster

Since the Family was somewhat amused by this video here it is for the wider public. Enjoy.