Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Photo a Day: 31st July

We are at the final stages of applying for a Statement of Educational Needs for The Boy Child and this morning he and I went off to make sure we had copies of everything we might possibly need.  We're working on the theory that the SEN panel can't have too much information, although we have been warned that The Boy Child will most likely be turned down because he isn't autistic enough...

Month in Numbers: July

Month in Numbers is the brain child of Julie and you'll always find a warm welcome over at her place.  Not to mention entertaining posts about a varied list of topics.
Go on over, stop by and say hello, then come back here. 
2 hours 20 minutes: the time it took for me to donate my 22nd pint of blood ~ next time, make an appointment
10: the amount of times I drove the car ~ the highest monthly total this year
12: the total number of times I got into the swimming pool at the gym
7: the amount of times The Boy Child went to the creche at the gym ~ we call it Holiday Gym Club ~ and it means that I can continue with my exercise routine during the summer holidays
1: the amount of Olympic Torch Relays we attended
99.50: the amount in pounds sterling spent in Costa Coffee on drinks and breakfasts.  How is that even possible?  I need to find a cheaper way of treating The Boy Child.

Olympic Round Up: Day 3

An utterly brilliant bronze for our men in the gymnastics!  Apparently, it's the first time in about 100 years that they've done this well.  Just a shame that a complaint from the Japanese over scoring resulted in the boys being demoted from the silver spot.
Let's hope the girls are inspired today when their team competition gets under way.
The men's diving sadly didn't go to plan, with Tom and Pete coming in 4th, after leading at the half-way stage.  However, the 3-day eventers are in the silver position overnight, with the show jumping to come this morning. There's a chance of both a team and individual medal.
The press is clamouring for a gold and, obviously, that's what we what to see, especially at a home games.  So much money has been invested in sport over the last 15 years or so and it's a natural reaction for people to want our elite athletes to bring home the golds.  Sport is what these guys do for a living, not like the truly amateur days when sportsmen and women held down full-time jobs and trained in the evenings and at weekends.
So come on Team GB!
Do it for yourselves, by all means, but do it first and foremost for Great Britain.
Your country.
My country.
Our country.
Do it for me and the little old lady who lives down your street.
Do it for the thousands of children looking for role models.
There'll never again be such an opportunity to do it on a global stage in front of a home crowd.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Photo a Day: 30th July

This morning at the gym, I managed 20 lengths for the first time.
I still stop between lengths, but for not as long, and my swimming style still doesn't bear close inspection.  The main thing is that I am doing it.
A gold medal for effort, I reckon!

Olympic Round Up: Days 1 & 2

After an amazing and wonderful Opening Ceremony on Friday night, the London 2012 Games got under way properly on Saturday.
And it was a disappointing start for Team GB.  Mark Cavendish, widely expected to take gold in the Men's Road Race on Saturday, failed miserably and then had the nerve to claim that the other competing nations had conspired against Team GB.  Hello ~ these are the Olympic Games ~ it's not supposed to be easy!  Perhaps the cycling team would have been better served by not publicly stating their game plan pre-race.
Happily, on Sunday, Team GB ladies faired much better in their Road Race, with Lizzie Armitstead taking the silver in a dramatic sprint to the finish with Marianne Vos of the Netherlands.
In the Aquatic Centre last night, Rebecca Adlington raced out of her skin in lane 8 to clinch the bronze.  Astonishingly, she swam last night's 400m Freestyle faster than she did four years ago when she claimed the gold in Beijing.
Today's medal hopes lie with young Tom Daley and his partner Pete Waterfield in the Men's synchronised 10m platform and the lads and lasses in the Gymnastics.
Does anyone actually have tickets for the Games?  We were unsuccessful in all our bids and are not happy to see swathes of empty seats at the venues.

Hello Monday

Hello week 4 of the summer holidays.
Hello first full week of London 2012.
Hello to flag waving, being patriotic and teaching The Boy Child to stand for, and how to sing, the National Anthem.
Hello to squeezing in a few visits to the gym in the midst of a busy week.
Hello to a probable second visit to the doctor for The Boy Child.
Hello Speech and Language Therapy review for The Boy Child.
Hello to welcoming the Scottish branch of the family to our home for a week.
Hello to catching up and laughing lots.
Hello to more days out.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Photo a Day: 29th July

~ breakfast out ~
The Boy Child and I have started to attend Family Splash at my gym fairly regularly on Sunday mornings.  Post swim, I treat him to breakfast in Costa.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Photo a Day: 28th July

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
~ The Lorax, Dr Seuss

Friday, 27 July 2012

Photo a Day: 27th July

Sir Chris Hoy, Zara Phillips, Tom Daley, Beth Tweddle, Jessica Ennis, Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton, Mark Cavendish, Rebecca Adlington and many more names as yet unknown to the Great British public.
It's 20.12 hours.
It's London 2012.
Hello world!
Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth.
Welcome to the London Olympic Games. 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Photo a Day: 26th July

And so it begins.
Traffic in Central London came to a standstill this morning, as drivers tried to work out which bits of the road they could still actually drive along.  As for me and The Boy Child, after sitting on a stationary bus for almost 20 minutes, we hopped off and walked the last half mile to our destination.
But still.
The atmosphere in town is amazing.
The sun is still shining.
There are just over 24 hours to go.
Hello world.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Photo a Day: 25th July

Can't go wrong with a Strawberry Cornetto and a bunch of wet wipes for afterwards.
Love how he even has ice cream on the end of his nose.

A River Runs Through It

This morning we ticked off one item from our Summer Manifesto 2012 list ~ a river cruise.  I chose Westminster to Tower Bridge, knowing that The Brainy One wouldn't mind which bit of the river we were on and that The Boy Child would be excited regardless.
 Boarding at Westminster Pier
 London Eye
 Tate Modern and Millennium Bridge
 Shakespeare's Globe
 Tower Bridge and Olympic Rings
 Monument {to the Great Fire of London, 1666}
 The Shard ~ Europe's tallest building
 Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral
 Cleopatra's Needle, Embankment ~ London's oldest monument
Palace of Westminster and Big Ben
Things I/we learnt today:
  1. You can currently no longer walk from A to B without going via Z
  2. London is Games ready
  3. Games volunteers should smile and look happy.  Being hot is not an excuse
  4. There are squaddies (Army personnel) everywhere
  5. They look too young to be away from their mums
  6. I can never have too much food in a picnic if I am feeding The Brainy One and The Boy Child 
  7. Strangers on the Tube chat to you about their son who has the same Christian name as The Boy Child and show you his photo on their iPad.
  8. Ice cream in Green Park is just what the doctor ordered
And The Boy Child's verdict?  
"It was amazing".  

Olympic Torch Relay

 The Brainy One enjoyed the wait
 The Boy Child looked so small
 Plenty of police outriders
A large crowd
A large, unruly crowd; poor lad was completely mobbed

So fantastic to be part of London 2012; roll on Friday evening

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Photo a Day: 24th July

I'm not entirely convinced that the garden thermometer is wholly accurate, but it certainly is a scorcher of a day here.
The boys are currently in the park.
I'm about to tackle the mountain of an ironing basket.
Then it's early supper at the pub followed by the arrival of the Olympic Torch.
A great afternoon in store.
Fingers crossed for decent photos.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Photo a Day: 23rd July

~ waiting patiently for a mango and passion fruit  cooler ~

Hello Monday

Hello to the third week of the summer holidays.
Hello to getting back to exercise.
Hello to The Boy Child attending three sessions of Holiday Gym Club.
Hello summer.
Hello torch relay coming through on Tuesday.
Hello Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Photo a Day: 22nd July

~ the InLaws ~
We were at a family party this afternoon ~ these people are The Brainy's One side of the family.  And very lovely they are, too.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Photo a Day: 21st July

~ The Boy Child's happy to be home ~ 

Friday, 20 July 2012

Photo a Day: 20th July

We took a drive down to the river after supper this evening and had a short stroll along the prom.  The evening light was amazing and I spent a good 10 minutes just looking at the changing shadows.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Photo a Day: 19th July

One of my cousins lives about a 40 minute drive away from my mum's house and as her children finished for the summer holidays yesterday, we arranged to meet for breakfast somewhere in the middle.  She drove West and I drove South and we arrived in the car park at exactly the same time.
Another tick in the column for reasons to leave London.  

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Photo a Day: July 18th

There is a local by-law in my home town and it is this:
Whenever Ruth, a former resident of this town, is in the locality, she is required by by-law to make contact with the resident known to all as Mel. That said resident Mel lives in a smaller town some five miles hence is irrelevant and it is hereby passed in to local by-law that the prescribed meeting place shall be the Costa coffee concession in the bookshop of the town which lies betwixt the dwelling places, temporary or otherwise, of Ruth and Mel.  It is further decreed that photographic evidence be provided of said meeting, although neither Ruth or Mel are contractually required to appear in afore-mentioned photographic evidence.    
The main purpose of this by-law is to reassure readers of the online diaries, hereby to be known as blogs, of both Ruth and Mel that all is well.  The two named participants of this by-law may subsequently use their blogs to publicise said meetings.    

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Photo a Day: 17th July

~ fish and chip supper ~
The Boy Child surprised me by asking for fish and chips and I was happy to oblige.  Fish and chips done well are superb.  And as it happens, there is a newish restaurant cum take away in my home town.  Here in the North, we refer to fish and chip shops as The Chippy.  It's a catch all description and also covers those fish and chip shops that also sell Chinese food.  I know, don't ask, I think it's absolutely a Northern thing.
The Big Cod (what a great name) turned out to be spotlessly clean and excellent value ~ under £10 for two portions of fish, chips and mushy peas (also a Northern thing) and a portion of fish bites with chips, plus two cups of tea and an orange squash.
And that's another tick on my relocation list ~ much cheaper to eat out than in London.  Yesterday's cinema trip also scored highly, coming in at £14 for the three of us.   

Monday, 16 July 2012

Photo a Day 16th July


Hello Monday

Hello to seeing Ice Age 4: Continental Drift at the cinema.  The Boy Child is very excited at the thought of it.
Hello to helping Mum to straighten her house.  She has been out of it for 8 weeks, as major work took place.
Hello to walking 2 dogs daily.
Hello to having coffee with Mel.
Hello to catching up with cousins.
Hello to thinking about Dad on Thursday.
Hello to daily adventures involving buses.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Photo a Day: 15th July

We visited my aunt and uncle this afternoon; The Boy Child's great aunt and great uncle.  My uncle is 10 days post op from an aortic heart valve replacement and it's wonderful to see him looking so well.  Occasions such as these make me wish that we lived much closer, such as round the corner.
If you look closely, you can just about see the top of his scar.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Photo a Day: 14th July

This afternoon's weather was the other end of the spectrum to yesterday's weather.  Determined to make the most of it, I rounded up my family, including two dogs, and dictated that we should go to the seaside.  I grew up in a heavily populated part of the UK, but the hidden gem was always how much countryside and coast line we had on our doorstep.
The Brainy One was astonished.
The Boy Child was delighted at the prospect of ice cream.
The Granny smiled, having seen it all before.
The dogs ran around like puppies.
And me?  I thought about the cost of housing and the whereabouts of good secondary schools.  

Friday, 13 July 2012

Photo a Day: 13th July

~ in car entertainment ~
We headed 250 miles North West of  London today for a week with Granny.  I'm appalled to discover that the weather is even worse than at home.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Photo a Day: 12th July

~ The Boy Child met up with his American friend for a play date in the park ~

Move More, Eat Well: June


June was the month where I introduced swimming in to my exercise routine.
I went to Zumba seven {7} times.
I took the pooch on twenty {20} one hour walks.
I went swimming five {5} times. 
Twice on my own and three times with The Boy Child to Family Splash.
On my solo visits I swam 12 lengths.
No matter that I stopped a lot.
No matter that I was in the slow lane.
No matter that my swimming style leaves a lot to be desired.
I did it.
On the 23 June I signed The Boy Child up for his own Junior Membership ~ for £10 a month he gets two sessions of Family Splash each weekend and up to four hours a day in the gym’s crèche.
There is also the option of 1-on-1 swimming lessons for him, alongside a week long crash course in August, which I have booked.
I’ve noticed in the last six months that my mindset towards exercise has completely altered.
I enjoy Zumba classes, paddling up and down the pool and walking the dog.
I miss them when they don’t happen.
And that tells me that regular exercise is now very much a part of my daily life.
And that’s a good thing, right?
Five things I'd like to learn or be doing in the coming months:
1) Improve my swimming ability
2) Recognise that going to the park with The Boy Child counts as exercise
3) Try to visit the gym four times a week, plus Family Splash
4) Stop feeling guilty if The Boy Child goes to Holiday Gym Club (his name for the gym's creche)
5) Automatically thinking about where exercise fits in to my day
No numbers, as usual, but a cute photo of The Boy Child in the changing room.
How was your month for Moving More and Eating Well?


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Photo a Day: 11th July

A lot of The Boy Child's books come with an audio CD.  He likes to listen while reading and turning the pages when he hears the cue.

Sunflowers

My friend Deb has been posting about her sunflowers (see here and here) and when I told her that we were growing sunflowers as well, she invited me share a post with her.  Unfortunately, life got in the way and I didn't get back to her.
Shame on me.
However, the sunflowers in our wet and soggy London back garden carried on doing their thing and this week we have flowers.  To be exact, we have two flowers.
 The tallest of them reaches my chest.
 At this stage, they remind me of thistles.
 The lower leaves are way past their best, but no matter.
There you have it ~ London rain versus Arizona sunshine ~ it appears that sunflowers don't really have any preference to locality.
The Brainy One also planted sunflowers in the front flower bed.  However, he forgot to mention that he'd done that and I subsequently pulled them up thinking they were weeds.