Sunday, 12 January 2014

A new blog has begun!

We've sold the house, got mostly out of debt and continue to raise our child in our own inimitable way :-) Think homeschooling, co-sleeping, toddler breast-feeding etc... all those highly emotive things! For more, head over to Cocoon Revolution.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

29 Days Later

In the last 29 days, we have:
Goodbye, MINI!
  • sold the Mini
  • bought a van & a super bike (of the cycling variety)
  • lost and found the van key at Cineworld (that was fun!)
  • sawed a sofa into a bits1
  • visited Hull (and by extension the Deep and the excellent East Park)
  • learned over 30 new words2
  • walked a LOT
  • discovered Tumble Tots
  • got permission to put in a water meter
  • bought a trampoline
  • laughed at "The Boy Who Cried Ninja"
  • enjoyed a Booker prize winner and a delicious book about Unmentionables
... among other things. Mostly, we have been spending money. However, we also have a room that is just leaking boxes full of stuff we can sell. Hopefully ,we actually do it before we run out of money.

Can you find Plate? Because it took me a minute...
I find that I am really enjoying being NOT a homeowner. The more I am NOT a homeowner, the more I question the conventional wisdom of being one. Sure, in 20 or 30 years' time, I wouldn't need to pay rent if I were a homeowner. On the other hand, I may also have maybe 10 years of lucidity before I would have to sell my home to pay for round-the-clock care in someone else's home. It may not even be me I would have to do this for. I am thinking that I need to acquire an asset(s) that would continue to add to the family coffers despite my state of creptitude3.

Oh, and the Dead Car Dilemma was resolved. I wish I had been there. More pics can be found... somewhere, when I get organised enough to sort it out.

1 Well, Uncle N did. FBB filmed it and provided a safe place for Plate to observe from.
2 Of course, Plate learned most of them!
3 Yes, Rich Dad is having an influence on me big time.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Sneak Blog!

We've finally moved in! The furniture didn't fit! The fridge DID fit but we couldn't open doors. So Granddad shifted everything round and now we can. We had an incident involving wet nappies and the laundrette but that was solved quickly. We are living out of boxes and just spent two days trying to find our passports (found!). But we are loving it, loving it, loving it! Our neighbours are lovely, the garden is lovely, the house is just lovely and we are all just lovely!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Mini adventures and the MOVE

... and it is stressful, scary and all those intense words starting with "s".

As we will not have internet connection from tonight for at least "five working days", I thought I'd better get a few words in before then1.

Remember the Dead Car Dilemma? Well, as of Friday, there is now one less Dead Car. And what an adventure that was getting it gone.

First the wherefores: the car in question is a signature edition Mini which FBB had bought a number of years ago. It was a great car: it had a good engine and was in general good running shape. We had a year or so of fun before it fell apart2. The plan was to fix it and flog it off (as FBB had replaced it with our current car which he adores3).

That was about two years ago.

It has since been sat on our driveway gathering weeds, cats and queries from passersby. Now, of course, we had to shift it. A new plan was conceived which still involved getting it fixed and flogged but this time, professional advice was to be sought. FBB asked the Mini enthusiasts around here and was directed to Stan in Sutton4, who was aware of our Mini (as was everyone within a three mile radius it seems!) and recommended that he MOT it first - get the gen on what needs to be done - then decide if it was worth fixing up and flogging. A cost versus worth-it limit was set. A trusted garage5 was chosen, spoken to, and it was decided that the Mini would be moved there on Friday just gone.

Given that it had bald tires, no insurance or tax, and the front was missing, it was decided that a tow to the garage was a good idea. So, Granddad and FBB set off - Granddad doing the tow, FBB in the Mini.

It was all going well on the back road between our village and Witcham when the Mini started going be-dom, be-dom, be-dom quite violently. Crap! thought FBB, the Mini's ripping itself apart! Then a great big CRUMP!, the car lurched to the side and the Mini gave an almighty screech and squealed like a metalworks factory in meltdown! A wheel had come off!

Luckily Granddad had seen where the wheel had escaped to in the wing mirror. They went chasing after it and found it in a ditch. The retrieval was unpleasant to say the least: thigh high grass, chest high stinging nettles and blood thirsty bugs a-plenty. And they had to find the wheel nut that had popped off (in its excitement at finally being moved).

Wheel retrieved, they had started to put it back on the Mini6, when FBB suddenly realised that they were stopped right on top of an ants' nest! Following a flurry of frantic de-bugging, they had to then drag the Mini into a less hazardous lay-by. By then, FBB had to come pick me up for lunch as we were due to collect the keys to the new house and sign the papers and pick Plate up from the childminder's as well. So FBB had to leave Granddad in the lay-by with a supply of water and a promise to be back soon.

Luckily, the rental stuff was easy and as FBB had had quite the morning, we decided to have the best sausage baguette in town as treat7. We got Granddad a the best bacon sandwich in town to take away, picked up Plate (who refused to put her clothes on, a brief tussle was required), dropped me off at work, dropped Plate off with Grandma, went to meet Granddad in the lay-by, dropped one of the cars back at the house, went back to lay-by and finally, towed the Mini to the garage.

All this on the Friday of the our big move weekend. Thankfully it was not an indicator of things to come.

So far the packing has been slow - mainly because Plate didn't want me to pack and persisted in wanting to be cuddled all the time. Eventually I had to sling her into the backpack to get anything done.

However, the our good friend N has arrived today with the van and Granddad has also arrived  and lent a valuable hand. We've got quite a bit out of the house and as I type, they are being unloaded at the other end.

And I shall I stop here because there are more things to be put away, including this computer!

I should be in the new house when you next hear from me and hopefully planning our house-warming parties, which people would be able to walk to! That would be awesome.

PS - but what about the other Dead Cars? Apparently they are being picked up on Tuesday. We complete on Wednesday. Last Minute Merchants are us.

1 No, we were not organised enough to get it sorted in time! Who do you think we are?
2 No, I don't know what's wrong with it. The last time I thought I knew, I got told off. So, if you ask me, it's just broken and it is not easily fixable.
3 But is also sadly now on the way out. Plans are a-foot for its replacement.
4 Twin Engines (?) something like that. Used to be Specter Racing.
5 King's of Witcham, Volvo specialists, MOTs etc.
6 No small feat! Har har!
7 Tea For Two, in the Butter Market

Monday, 6 August 2012

Everything (well, some) went!

Four days till we get the keys to our new digs. Eight days till we fully vacate our old place and leave it in a liveable state.

Are we stressed? You betcha!

Still, we are all healthy now1, we have lots of sturdy boxes2, and we have made a start3: we've given away our old faithful TV (CRT, 4:3!) complete with stand, sold the nursing chair, the mini hifi and a variety of things in our yard (har, har) sale. (Sadly, the Dead Car Dilemma is still dilemmic. However, motions were made today to resolve it.)

Our little yard sale, poorly advertised as it was, garnered us a massive £45 in the two hours we sat waiting for generous souls to contribute to our moving fund. I was quite amazed actually - I was convinced we would make not a sausage.Our thanks to the Stazickers, stalwarts of the Mepal community, our dear friends who are currently enjoying Disneyland, Paris4, and the other Mepal People who stopped by5.

Now we must pack into cardboard 10 years of our lives together. Oh and let everyone know what our new address is. Annoyingly, this requires quite a bit of time on hold, the worst being EDF's endless loop of the instrumental version of Take On Me6. Ugh.

To pep myself up, I am looking forward to our numerous house-warming parties!

PS: Robert Carlyle in Once Upon A Time is utterly superb! I would love to know why a film / miniseries has not been made of a Jack Parlabane story - the one made by ITV does not count - since Robert Carlyle is Jack Parlabane! This one is my favourite.

1 Nice, healthy walnuts.
2 Courtesy of our friends in Cottenham
3 Well, some books are packed. Pfft.
4 What will we do without you?
5 There was one timewaster who gets my blood boiling every time he speaks. He could have at least bought a 50p item for drenching us in his Daily Mailesque invective for the last few years.
6 And there goes my eco creds. I tried Green Energy but it was just too expensive! Must try again.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Exchanged! Balls! Insomnia!

We finally exchanged two days ago with a completion date that we could work to, yay!

The last few days have been a bit strained - what with buyers wanting to complete in less than five days, FBB getting a mysterious but rather painful and scary infection1, work getting increasingly pressured as we approach the end of month frenzy and to top it all off, Plate has now decided that bedtime is 10pm. Oh, I have been a bit stressed lately.

Let's start with our pesky buyers. Aside from boiler challenges which were quickly resolved, on Monday I got an email saying, oh by the way, your buyers would like to exchange on Friday. Er... no. How about August 3rd... and they started piling on the guilt - well, you know to be fair, your buyer came in to do this that and the other, she's already ordered furniture, you know, two weeks between exchange and completion is quite normal, etc etc. I just couldn't deal with it: I was under a fair amount of pressure at work, I really did not need this. So I passed it on to FBB. And boy, did he rise to the challenge. He resolutely stuck to his guns - we are completing on August 15th and that's that. Even if it means risking the sale? Yes, even that2. And it paid off! Exchange and completion in our favour!

The rental is still available, double-yay! and now it's ours. Come mid-August, we shall be living it up in the bright lights of Ely city (stop sniggering in the back, you!).

I'm going to skip the scary infection bit. It's better now but he still needs to go to a specialist clinic at the hospital on Monday. Fingers crossed it's nothing serious.

Not going to talk about work either.

Plate - bless her little cotton socks - is sleepless in Mepal. I think it's the heat. The last few days have been muggy and horrible3. She just would not go down at her usual time of 8 and will only start winding down around 9.30, 10pm. Tonight, she didn't drop off till past 10.30pm. Even daddy was asleep by then! But she's been a bundle of joy nonetheless. She can now say 'teeth', 'ha (hug)', 'kiss', 'cup', 'juice', 'boob', 'book', 'what this?', 'tractor' and from about a week ago, my goodness, 'mummy'! She can just about jump and can do forward rolls with a little help. I haven't actually seen her do it, but she somehow has managed to learn how to put her boots on herself too. Clever girl.

But clever isn't always good. Heart attack time: I was in the front room stuffing nappies and she was running around as she does, when I suddenly became aware that I couldn't hear her. I leapt up and found that the front door was open! Heart pounding, I dashed out into the drive, that the little girl in China who got run over repeatedly looping through my head, hoping that she was on the pavement... and saw her across the road, smiling at me like she'd won a prize4! Luckily this is an extremely quiet one way street and she'd escaped being roadkill. I scooped her up, held her tight, smothered her in kisses then told her off sternly. She did get that she had done a bad thing but it didn't stop her from trying it again. The little monkey had opened the front door and let herself out! Lesson learned. We don't just keep the door shut now, we keep it locked.

Highlight of the fortnight: FBB's dream of being a martial arts teacher becomes a little more real. Last week, he asked his teacher how long he needed to train for before he could teach. The answer: "You already are." He was utterly chuffed and is still floating on that5.

1 Bollock - that's all I'm going to say on the subject.
2 It was physically impossible for us to move sooner than that. Remember Dead Car Dilemma? It's still there.
3 Not to FBB - he loves it!
4 The smile did falter and turn into "uh-oh" when I went charging across the road at her.
5 Well, the thing with the bollock has deflated him somewhat but he's still pretty buoyant about it. Size of a nectarine. Maybe a bit bigger. *shudder*.

Monday, 9 July 2012

A little bit closer...

Today, I had the news that we are *this* close to exchanging contracts. So I am going to risk it for a biscuit1, and talk about the house we are going to rent.

It's a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk to work and a two minute walk to the pub, corner shop, laundromat and, oddly, the gun and hunting shop. It's a 10 minute walk to Plate's 'minder and probably 20 minutes to the high street. It also has plenty of room for the car and for cars of friends on the main road, so the front door opens straight out onto the street.

The house itself has two bedrooms, a reasonably sized kitchen2, utility room, living room, a bathroom that two of us could stand in at the same time, a garden big enough to require a lawnmower and a shed to store it in. I think it even had a little paved area for a couple of chairs.

It has all mod-cons in that it has gas central heating, electricity and running water - sadly, no solar or wind or rainwater catchment, not that modern - and seems like a cosy little home. We liked it at once and saw ourselves living there quite happily.

Let's hope it all goes swimmingly and we'll be sipping our favourite tipples in the garden for our wedding anniversary3.

In other news, I finally captured Plate's inhaler, here in two bits: the actual inhaler and a tube thing to make it easier, ha ha, for her to breathe the stuff in.

Here it is being modelled by Bad Teddy4 because Plate simply will not have it over her face. She'd play with it but as soon as you put the bits together she pushes it away and attempts escape. Our brilliant childminder has given us tips on how to get her used to it, but so far, we've not had much joy. So it spends most of its time in the nappy bag.


We've also started the Big Clearout, by listing some of our bigger possessions on eBay. I'm a bit sad about losing the chair, having spent so many hours in it nursing Plate and rocking her to sleep. I was looking forward to reading to her in it as well.

1 There was a young man from Nepal
Who went to a fancy dress ball.
He thought it would risk it
and go as a biscuit
But a dog ate him up in the hall

2 By which we mean, FBB's fridge will fit!

3 August 18 and it will be our 17th!

4 Because he looks like a gangster bear! Well, to me anyway.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Baby's first inhaler

When I find the camera, I will take a snapshot of the baby inhaler Plate's been prescribed. Oh yes, plague is once more visiting our house.

FBB is bunged up and exploring the different decongestion remedies out there and my poor little Plate has a dribbly nose and a rattly chest.

Monday, 25 June 2012


I haven't written lately because it's been a bit hairy around here and it's been all I can do to keep from melting into a little puddle of panic.

OK, quick catch-up: previously on "Selling a Home..." - the house sold for a good enough price, no one would give us a mortgage1, the Outlaws kindly volunteered to pay off our creditors via CAB2, and we've been looking for a place to rent in Ely.

Ayah. Rental hunting. What a delightful torture that is.

I enjoyed looking in the windows - and Zoopla are great - but lo there was a tiny but oh so significant snag: many, many places we looked at had a "No Kids" policy, which was deeply disappointing. Three out of four places were kid-unfriendly which surprised me. It surprised me more when the reasons given for "inappropriate for children" were "front door opens out onto the street", "no garden" and "it's a flat". Er, so? I managed to survive high-rise living from birth to 20 and FBB lived in a front-door-on-the-street house from one to 20+. Neither of us (nor our neighbours come to think of it, suicides excluded3) had been hurt / traumatised by the experience. Aah! They just don't want to have to deal with kids.

Then there was the size vs location vs parking vs will-our-fridge-fit4 dilemma. 

Finally, the Letting Agents have been... varied. I am partial to one but they didn't have any places to rent that suited us. 

Well, after a fair number of ups and downs, today we found a great little place. The slightly spooky thing is, the family living there seemed like a mirror image of us (dad was at home putting out the laundry with their three-year old, mum was at work, bookshelves were full of the same books as ours - so there were no grown up geeky toys and nary a tattoo was in sight, but you get the picture!)

I'm not saying much more than it's a nice little walk to work, big enough for all of us, the fridge and the car. Until we're in, I'm keeping mum!

1 Which really knocked me for six but a really kind independent mortgage adviser helped ease the pain. I found him through But here are his full details: Huw Tipton (DipPFS), Tel: 01553 764644, Fax: 05603109527,

2 Some creditors were great (Capital One, MBNA), some were so very not (Tesco, NatWest). FBB has decreed a No-Tesco policy.

3 And I am fairly certain they did not kill themselves because they were living in a high-rise building.

4 FBB is very attached to our fridge. We had invested a fair amount of time and effort in selecting and purchasing our box of cool.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

And now we are 40

On Sunday just gone, FBB had his 40th birthday bash! It was meant to be a Disco Picnic1, but the weather rained on his parade2.

Fortunately, a few good friends braved the wet and windy and our little house was enlivened by laughter and good vibrations.

FBB prepared almost all the food by himself. There was tuna and sweetcorn pasta, rice salad with peppers and peas, and a LOT of jelly3. We also laid out loaves we had bought off Ely market but we forgot the ice-cream! Whoops.

Our marvellously talented friend HM gifted FBB with a fantastic Taoist cake4 which was both sugar-free and so yummy, seconds were requested! There is now a little sliver which FBB is eking out for as long as he can stand it.

Plate charmed our guests as usual, despite a slight... argument... over a chair and a little pull-along toy. (It was observed with great insight that Plate "can't talk, but she's trying to!"5.)

Ah, Plate.

People tell me that children start pushing boundaries and throwing tantrums at around the age of two. Plate started at about 15 months. She recently began deliberately flinging food on the floor with great vigour. A firm, "No!" from me cut no ice. When daddy said it, she looked him straight in the eye, then slowly and deliberately dropped food over the side as if to say, "Go on then! What are you going to do about it?" So we have started pushing her chair out to the back of the room and turning away from her. The flinging has lessened but it is still early days yet. Yesterday, she threw herself on her belly, kicked her feet and banged her fists on the floor. Luckily this was at home which made it easier for me not to react. It lasted all of five seconds. Let's hope there isn't a repeat.

My childminder has also told me how she "slaps" the dummy out of another baby's mouth. I wonder if this is a "I want one!" gesture or a "You don't need that!". I am inclined towards the latter, knowing my daughter as I do.

I'm still getting used to saying that - my daughter. I am still pleasantly surprised and amazed that we have a child. It's bewilderingly delightful.

Aside from parties and aggravating children, I just finished "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. What a beautiful, magical book! So full of passion, mystery and love. Although it didn't make me cry, it certainly moved me and the images will stay with me a long while. Definitely a keeper.

1 "It'll blow your mind!"
2 And the Queen's as well I hear.
3 The night before he decided that we didn't have enough gelatine to make enough jelly for everyone, so he rushed to the One-Stop to get some more. Unfortunately, he didn't have cash and they would only take cards for purchases over £5. One pack of jelly cost 48p. Guess what he did?
4 Visit Cake n Bake on Facebook
5 Nik Junior, who will be four shortly. Bless him!