Father’s Day, weekend redux

Had an odd Saturday, on the one hand – excellent as I got to meet one of my favourite humans; on the other sh!t-house because of a poorly managed night out that left me in the middle of a room on my own staving off anxiety. C’est la vie.

On Friday night Osher Gunsberg shared on Instagram he was whizzing into the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, and was doing a signing in the Atrium at 12:30pm on Saturday. I told Hubs I wanted to head into the city to get my book (re) signed, as I’d brought a signed copy from Booktopia.

We headed into the city to watch Archie play hockey, his last session of the season, which means no more running by the Yarra for me on a Saturday for a few months. But I  spent a half an hour there doing the VA thing, supporting a project I’m passionate about. We drove into the CBD proper from South Yarra; driving past Melbourne Football Club training in a park, watched by fans from the sidelines. No extra security in sight, you can’t imagine any club in the Premiere League doing that.

We parked up, and went to get coffees from one of the coffee shops in the Atrium. I ordered a croissant for the boys to share, and a pear and almond friend for me. Both came out cold, which we weren’t expecting (#brrrr), but they were tasty. The boys headed off into the city to a model shop, I sat on a chair and started to read Osher’s book. I’d been saving it since I knew I’d inhale it, and I must say it’s been a PITA having to go to work and do stuff.

Then suddenly there he was. I’ve got an odd relationship with him, he’s a major party of my life, even if he has no idea who I am. I’ve been listening to his podcast since he was still living in the USA, so we worked it out that was five years. I think I was also the only person in the queue who doesn’t watch the Bachelor(ette), if anyone tries to get anything other than sport or cartoons on our TV at home – good luck.

Osher was as sweet and as gracious as he is to his guests on the podcast; he came round the other side of the table to meet us, when I got my phone out to take a photo, whoever was with him (his manager Lauren maybe?), offered to take a picture. For a nanosecond, I hesitated, then put my arms right round him and leant my head against his. We talked some more, he signed more in my book and after saying ‘Give my love to the girls’, I kissed him and left so other people could get a chance to spend some time with him.

I would so love to talk to him for hours though. It’s not like my schwarm for Tom Hardy or George Clooney; it’s more like how I feel about Stephen Fry, Oprah, Cmdr Hadfield, Brené Brown or Mel Robbins.

—o0o–

In the evening, I’d been invited to an 80s night at the RSL with some of the school mums. I brought my ticket from someone I’d never met and arranged to meet people in the foyer at 7:30pm. I arrived to find no-one waiting, and when I posted in the event on Facebook, I then found out that two separate dinners had been organised without anyone asking if I wanted to join either of them.

Okaaaay.

One school mum rescued me, introduced me to a friend of hers who arrived shortly after me and went back to finish her meal. We made small talk, two more people arrived that this lady knew, but I don’t follow the VFL so a lot of the conversation I watched. We went upstairs, I stood there while we tried to work out where to sit or stand, as there was nowhere free.

Texting my running buddy that as it was Father’s Day, I wouldn’t be able to meet with her as we normally do on Sunday mornings; having said that I then messaged ‘I’m not sure how long I’ll be out for. I’m standing here like a lemon with no one talking to me‘ As I typed it, my anxiety bubbled up and within three minutes over the text conversation, I was out the door and heading back to my car.

I wouldn’t mind, but I’d been updating Instagram stories with my exploits as I was so excited about going out with new people. Sigh. Bless her heart, she checked in on me first thing in the morning to make sure I was ok.

I was ok once I got home and talked it through with Hubs. We sat up in bed and read together like the old married couple that we are; I’m currently on American Wife, which is frickin amazing.

Sunday morning we were up and at ’em, outside of bacon and eggs and on the road to Werribee Zoo, we got there early, arriving in time to hop on the first bus heading off on the safari at 9:50. Archie wanted to show Hubs around as Hubs had never been there before. We got up close to the animals, walked round the African part, had a coffee and were out the door in two hours flat. Perfect timing as it was getting busy as we left, we had parts of the zoo to ourselves, talking the whole way round. We saw so many birds too it was wonderful. From Superb Fairy Wrens, to honeyeaters, eagles, kites and little Red-browed finches who look like they’re wearing superhero masks.

I also have perfected poached eggs, I think I’d done them once or twice before this weekend, but Archie and I did some serious YouTube research, cracking the eggs into a tea cup is the way to go folks. It’s amazing how you can learn stuff online so easily now.

Bring out your dead (again)

Hubs and I had a new experience today, we both went to the GP together. He’s been off sick with a chest infection since Tuesday last week and was not getting any better. I had to go back for some blood and a CT scan results. I’d booked my appointment late last week after I called the surgery for my results; but when Hubs was still in bed after Peanut and I got back after being out for six hours, I hopped online and made him an appointment at the same time. Best laid plans, he was in and out on-time, I was over half an hour late going in.

This was after waking up late too. Talk about a Monday :)

Hubs first, he’s had a chest x-ray today, and changed antibiotics. He’s also been signed off until Wednesday this week, back to work on Thursday morning. Officially the longest time he’s had off sick since I’ve known him. Proper man flu.

Me, I’ve got no structural issues thank goodness, however when I got my bloods done my white blood cell count was raised and then CT scan (which was the following week) also showed inflammation and congestion. My ears are also crackling, so I’ve still got sinusitis.

Peanut, thankfully is cruising along, no coughs or sniffles, which considering the amount of infections going around this winter is amazing. I’m aware that I’ve just hexed us now.

In other news, in no particular order:

  • I had an RDO on Friday, took myself off for a float, which was blissful. Then to the Richmond IKEA which was less so, aside from the bunfight it is to get in, the café was really short staffed, only one coffee machine was working and it was chaotic as a result. I should have driven down to the Springvale one, but thought that was crazy as I was already half-way into the city. After getting stuck on Hoddle Street (new and improved and widened, natch) I might as well have…
  • We had our Mothers’ Group ‘we have turned seven’ party yesterday (Sunday). All but one family were there, which was amazing. Instead of presents, we all chipped in for a trip to a massive play centre, and a good time was had by all.
  • I’m back to bullet journaling.
  • Peanut gravely told me that he doesn’t want Ickle Baby Bot bath bombs from Lush any more, he’s too old for them now. We brought Big Blue, Yellow Submarine and an orange one I can’t remember the name of. instead. He walked round the whole store, sniffing and investigating everything.
  • With Hubs in bed, Peanut and I have been to the cinema, zoo, the party and round the shops to give Hubs the time and space to sleep. Like most seven year old boys, if he’s cooped up for too long he gets cranky. It’s been a busy weekend, but we’ve had the best time. I love hanging out with him. We did 5.75km round the zoo, chatting away. He leant over to me in the movie (Incredibles 2) and said ‘I think we ought to get an ice cream Mama’ I agreed with him so we snuck out, snuck back in again and I wiped his face afterwards crying with laughter.

I am going to blog more often, I’ve missed you guys!

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

Yesterday’s run of 13.5km, or 8 and a wee bit miles was the hardest run I’ve done. Ever. Whatever comes up for me in my running journey, it’s gonna have to go some to beat the two hours I was out and about yesterday morning.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Run the Rock is a well-respected, well-attended run in country Victoria, organised and supported by Sole Motive. A fabulous company that support smaller, quirkier runs; The Harvest Run in the Yarra Valley is one of theirs. Kath and I had a great time with that run last year, (it also persuaded my GP that I had a problem with asthma, the gentlest of slopes defeated me, since then and a medication change, I’ve progressed in leaps and bounds).

Race bib collection opened at 7am, the half-marathon started at 8:15am, my race left at 9:25am. The joining instructions were clear, road closures in place from 7am. I booked a hotel room in nearby Woodend as I was not getting up before 5am to get up and ready to drive an hour so I could get in before the roads closed.

Then things started to unravel. Kath, my running buddy, messaged me on Wednesday, she’d came down with gastro and her daughter started vomiting that night as well. Thursday I checked in on her, she was still in bed, I asked Hubs if he wanted to come up for the night instead. Hubs asked Archie if he wanted to go on an adventure on Saturday morning?

On Friday Kath confirmed she wasn’t going anywhere fast; we threw some things in a bag and all headed to the motel after work, driving in rush-hour traffic, watching the sun set and chatting. We dropped our bags off at the motel and went for out dinner, finding a great pizza place nearby. Archie was ready to eat his arm off, they were flat-chat, by the time we got pizza, Archie was climbing the walls and on the verge of a meltdown. When he blood sugar dips, he’s feral. Just like his mother.

After we’d eaten we headed back to our room for the night, we all had showers, went to bed and got up before the alarm went in the morning. Mainly because Hubs and I had the weirdest, vivid dreams all night long. I can’t say either of us rested really. I got everyone packed back up while the boys had breakfast. It was cold, windy and spitting with rain when we left.

Mount Macedon was hiding behind clouds, the wind was picking up, and I was very grateful for my extra layers as it was a balmy 8c when I got dropped off at the Hanging Rock Racetrack. Due to the winds, the course was changed, we couldn’t Run the Rock any more, on account of low flying rocks. I collected my bib, then sat on a picnic bench, eating my breakfast while wrapped in a picnic blanket and trying to stop my paperwork blowing away.

I called Kath, people watched, dropped my bag in and like everyone else huddled under the marquees that were threatening to blow away. I warmed up as best I could, but knew until I started running, I was stuffed. After one last wee, we lined up, and trotted off. The wind blew my breath away, it took me 3km to warm up and get under cover of trees so I could run, breathe and feel like I’m enjoying this. Then, frabjous joy, Jac appeared out of nowhere. The pair of us shrieked with joy, ran, hugged and caught up on three years over 3km. We kept each other going, chatting and laughing with each other.

The course had now turned into trail running, which I do not do. I’m so clumsy, I prefer roads, at a pinch – grass, and will put up with footpaths in parks. Jac headed off as I needed to walk down the hills so I didn’t fall arse over tit. A girl has got to know her limitations.

It was now more than spitting. It was rain.

Then hail.

Then the rain started to come in sideways.

Then, despite the road closures, some fuck knuckle decided to move out a sheep transport articulated truck. Right in the middle of the runners. “Fuck you, I’m a truck”.

I was so cross I instagrammed a story, on my already damp phone, which pushed my phone over the edge and it gave up on me and shut down. I’d found my stride by then too, I felt strong and was consistently hitting 7 and a half minute KMs. The truck was the beginning of the end.

Did I mention the rain? And the wind? And that I was now soaked to the skin? With no way of contacting anyone? AND no Hugh Fraser reading me Poirot?

I was well grumpy. There was literally no way out but through. I ran, walked, ran a bit more. Peed behind a tree. Ran a bit. Walked a bit. Swore a lot. Complained to anyone who listened that this ‘was not fun’. Professed undying love to the CFA and volunteers handing out drinks and encouragement.

I got to the end, I didn’t even bother running over the line; I just wanted to find Hubs, Archie and get dry. I did make the lady who was handing out medals laugh, as I lifted my sodden jacket up to show my bib. I went to collect my bag and managed to miss Hubs completely who was waiting with a bath sheet, one of two he’d brought when the weather he and Archie had been in turned in his words ‘Biblical’.

I went to the bathroom, hands purple with cold and tried to wiggle out my wet clothes enough to pee. This was when I nearly started crying, I had stuff in my flipbelt I did not want to drop on the floor, but didn’t have the movement in my fingers to get lycra off. I also had dry clothes in my bag, but couldn’t cope with the thought of changing in a tiny stall with no room to move.

My phone thankfully switched on, I found my family and Hubs wrapped me in the towel. We walked to the car, found another toilet block with bigger stalls and as I was a bit dryer and with a bit more circulation, I got changed.

I can honestly say that buying those towels was up there with him helping me have a shower the day after Archie was born.

There was a coffee waiting for me in the car, another towel that I doubled up and spread over my legs. I put my heating on to 27c and thawed out. When we got home, I had a hot shower and got into bed with the duvet, a blanket and a hot water bottle. I emerged at about 3pm wanting cake.

That was a lot of work for two samples of a pre-workout drink.

Out of the war for attention

I’ve not posted before about this, simply as life has been crazy-busy. However the world is quiet and an opening gambit to the conversation wandered into my head today, which is usually a sign that I need to write it out.

Here is said gambit:

This month our family received a mild ADHD diagnosis for Archie. Six months of interviews, appointments, tests and questionnaires were funnelled down to a half-hour long conversation in a small breeze-blocked room, in an almost impossible to find building on La Trobe campus. A diagnosis arriving on a train too late to make a difference to this school year.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being fidget-bottom to 10 being someone who cannot sit still and charges around like they’re on speed, Archie ranks between 2-3. Low. So low that on some tests, he didn’t even reach an ADHD diagnosis. So low that he will probably grow out of most of the obstacles he’s facing now as his processing awareness increases. So low that with the help of some routines across home and school, (the new school year starts at the beginning of February here), and supplemented by breaking down instructions into smaller chunks, it’s manageable. We’ve talked with the school and are heading in to see his new teacher early in the term.

We’ve already begun making changes. Hubs and I no longer listen to the radio or podcasts when we’re trying to get Archie to concentrate on anything. Before we get out the car when we’re shopping, we talk through what we need to get, where we’re going, ask him to choose what shop is first. We talk through in the morning what each day will roughly look like and what he needs to do to help us out. If there is too much going on, Archie goes into passive mode and just tunes out. He’ll sit there quite happily watching the world go by, this can be because he has done something to his natural conclusion, or because he’s got too much in his head and can’t hold on to any more. One suggestion from La Trobe was if Archie can do something ten times, making him do it twenty times will. not. help. him. Processing auditory instructions is also hard work for him. Therefore, if you ask him to take his shoes off, put them away, empty his bag, get changed and choose a snack after school <overload of information going in> <switches off>

So instead we do, ‘Archie shoes off and away’.

Then, ‘Empty your bag buddy’.

Then, ‘Do you want to get changed?’

Then, ‘Do you want ham or cheese with your biscuits while I get dinner ready?’

In the morning he has four things he needs to do. Get dressed, eat his breakfast, clean his teeth and do his reading. Then he can play, or watch or have the iPad for 10 minutes. It’s taken a while, but we’re now at ‘What do you need to do in the morning before you play?’ stage and he will remember. He won’t always agree with it, but he knows that these things have to get done first, despite what he wants to do. Archie has always been busy, he didn’t want to sleep in case he missed anything. He also used to take himself off to the book corner at Kinder when it got too much and too noisy for him, he can regulate himself and his emotions well. If he’s interested in something, he will follow that trail to the nth degree and not come up until he’s done, or he’s hungry.

Our bright as a button, walking encyclopaedia of dinosaurs, volcanoes and marine life; our noticer of bugs, shapes in clouds; the boy who can recall playgrounds he visited when still a toddler, our boy who’s got a memory like an elephant, now has a label attached to him.

My parents (known as Aged Parents after Port and Starboard’s father in Coot Club for as long as I can remember) and I have often joked about how I bred my brother as penance for me being such a horrible older sister towards him. P was exactly the same as Archie, one thing Aged Ps have stressed already is that the reports written by school and the psychologist are already trying to get Archie to conform to others. To sit down, shut up and take his lessons on board while not disrupting others.

On a FaceTime call this week over Christmas with Aged Ps; we managed to interrupt Archie, he waited patiently with his mouth open and then calmly finished his sentence. P used to do exactly the same thing, thirty odd years ago. We all had a giggle about it on the call, then we discussed how we could ensure our happy, vibrant, chatty boy remains so. Doesn’t get all his fizz drained out of him, doesn’t become apathetic and switched off at school. Hubs and I both want Archie to be inquisitive, challenged, strong, resilient and independent. When he struggles with things now, we ask him “What can you do?” not what can’t he do. We tell him “You’re a strong independent boy, let’s figure this out”. He said to me yesterday,”You’re a strong independent Mama, let’s figure this out!”

Indeed!

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Fur babies

I had a very lazy morning today. We were woken up at before 7am, but I stayed in bed until about 10am. Dozing, wafting, whatever you want to call it, I was out of it today.

Waking up, WhatsApp said I had a notification from Mum. “Branston has just passed away, very peacefully on the floor by the bed.” As soon as I read it I rang home; stoic at first, then as I told her about my ‘phone call with Bec yesterday, I started weeping.

It’s not just about a cat, it never is. As Dad said just now when we talked on FaceTime, they do leave footprints on your heart. Cats choose you, if they don’t want to live with you or your family – they’ll toddle off and find someone else who suits them better.

Chief Brody chose us when we went to the cat rescue, yelling at us until we got him in the carrier and home. I am very much his human, but he sleeps on Archie’s bed most nights too. I chose Doctor Hooper from kittens needing homes at work, but his personality was too domineering to live with CB who is very skittish (as he was sixteen weeks old when we got him, we have no idea what his history was before he was left with the cat rescue). Doctor Hooper in the end was re-hoomed to live with Ruby, a friend’s daughter. His first night home with them, now renamed Taco, he slept in her room and has been an integral member of their family since.

Branston was one of two cats I’ve not re-homed from a shelter; I was on a wait list for kittens and thought I’d missed out on this particular litter. However, another lady who was going to choose two didn’t call back. So I got a phone call, “Can you come over today to choose your cats?” I didn’t hesitate and whizzed over. Branston and Pickle. Branston pure tortoiseshell and Pickle, one of those big, fat white cats with blobs of colour on. I wanted kittens because ex-husband was in the army in the UK and we would be likely to move around a lot. I wanted them to be resilient and come round with us.

We lived next door to a couple with Borzois, one day Donna asked us to keep the cats inside until she’d let the dogs out because they wouldn’t go into their garden as Branston was out there wanting to play with them. She was still a kitten, this teeny, tiny thing scaring dogs who stood level with my waist.

Pickle was a lot like Chief Brody, a bit skittish and more than a bit stupid too. She’d climb trees then couldn’t work out how to get down them. We moved house but she didn’t cope with it, she started weeing everywhere, in the end we surrendered her to a shelter where they’d already got a lady lined up who wanted an indoor, loving cat. I do wonder how she got on, and if she had a happy life?

Branston was cheeky as. She was so little when I got her she’d curl up in a six-egg carton to sleep. Then when she was too big, she’d push the cardboard around on the floor because it sounded good. I took them both to the vets for their initial check after they’d been home a week. They got given a treatment for worms, fleas and ticks. With gunk in her ears and eyes, and dribbling white medicine the look of indignation she gave me was one I can still see now.

I’d let them out in the morning, call them in before I’d left for work and quite often would miss the bus I’d want to catch because Branston would be off and away, running like a rocking horse up the alley behind the houses. But if I gave up on the game of getting her back in and leave her out, I’d be greeted with angry yells when I got home.

One days she came in and was ill, so sick after she’d vomited, she fell over sideways. Picking her up in a towel, we took her to the vet where she was put on a drip. For two days I was a mess, but she came home and was fine. We never did figure out what it was that caused it. When dickhead and I went to Cuba for a holiday, Dad moved in to the house for two weeks to look after them both as the cost for a cattery was more than our holiday. Branston and he bonded then, when dickhead and I separated, I went to live with Mon Bears, who had an indoor bunny. I asked if Aged Parents could have Branston for me until I sorted myself out.

By the time I had sorted myself out, Branston was definitely my Dad’s cat. She adored him, following him around the house. It was on his side of the bed she passed away today. When he was ill in hospital last year having surgery for bowel cancer, she would sit in the window and wonder where he was.

But for me, my overriding memory of this cat was her gregariousness. I’d never known another cat like her. Ex-husband’s brother was a mechanic, doing a mini-service on our car on a visit down to us, I sat on a picnic blanket talking to them both. Branston sat beside me, as a car drove past, she’d go back to the house, stand in the door way, then come back to sit beside me on the blanket. When you stayed with Mum and Dad, you’d wake up in the middle of the night for no reason, then see the cat looking at you, ‘Yow’.

The last few years of her life, she got a pet-passport and went camping with Aged Parents, she loved it. In and out the caravan all day long. She would appear on the table when I’d talk to Aged Ps over FaceTime. When I walked in the house in March this year, I called “Branston!” she came down the stairs and looked at me in disbelief then started singing with joy when she saw me.

If you’re thinking about buying an animal for your family for Christmas, think about the time investment it is, whether you really do want that cute fur-ball until the end. Think about what it will feel like at the end of their lives. Fifteen years Branston was with us, Pickle was with us for three. Fluffy (because she was), Beaky (another tortie who looked like an owl), Sooty (black all over) and Susie (black and white, occasionally black all over after she’d been asleep in the coal hole) were members of our family for between five to twelve years too.

I’d have them all over again, my life has been all the richer for them.

Finding the beautiful

I’ve written before how Douglas Adams’ books are woven through my cultural history; form part of my Englishness that will never completely leave me, no matter how far away from there I live. One of my favourite quotes from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is:

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

I’m sitting up in bed, listening to the rain and hoping tonight will be a much more comfortable night’s sleep now this little hot spot of weather has broken. As I collected Archie from school, the rain started. Big, fat, heavy drops with that heavenly fresh smell from the first few minutes of it hitting the pavement. High in the clouds above his school, and our house, thunder crackled. For the next hour we alternated from panic to tears, eventually putting his ear defenders on (last used for our visit to the airshow).

He struggles with loud noises, always has done. If the radio comes on too loud in the car, he recoils in pain, so you can imagine what thunder does or feels like for him; particularly when the storm is parked over our house.

I didn’t like thunderstorms when I grew up, although not for the same reason. I slept so deeply I didn’t know where I was when I got woken up, and any noise would scare the be-jeepers out of me. (My site wants to correct that to beekeepers, which if I was writing about Eddie Izzard, I’d allow. Cake or death?)

Anyhoo, I know that trying to get Archie to calm down is not going to happen by telling him to. You just have to sit with him and ride out. That old empathy thing again.

While he was sat on my lap, all hot and sweaty, fingers jammed in his ears, I asked him about his day. What had happened in assembly? Did you sing the Australia song? (as in our national anthem?) He said yes and said they were also singing Christmas songs, but that he couldn’t remember what ones. We talked about anything and everything. Hubs then found his ear ‘muffs’ and he ate his dinner wearing them.

We checked the radar and talked through what the colours meant on the screen as the storm moved over Melbourne. After we’d got his ear muffs off, one random final rumble caught him unawares. He picked his ear muffs up and smacked them back down on his head again.

I will do ANYthing to help him get over being scared of thunder, as I remember how it ruled my life. I didn’t sleep with a window open in my room until my 20s. I can remember getting into bed with my parents, because sometimes only your Mum will do. Tomorrow morning, we’ll watch this little video on storms again and talk through again about how well he did with putting his ear muffs on at the end of the storm.

The irony? The fairy at the bottom of the garden? Archie loves lightning. Loves the shapes it makes in the air. Loves watching videos of storms.

Where did you find the beautiful today? For me it was the postal vote result, a collective breath of relief went through the office today. I didn’t realise how hard we had been holding our breaths until 10am.

 

Round two of antibiotics…

…and I’ve graduated from a Swallows and Amazons to a Poirot (After the Funeral). Small, but not insignificant progress, as I’ve not been able to hold a train of thought in my head for days on end now.

Chief Brody has been like velcro since I took up residence in the spare room, only leaving my side to keep up with his social networks. Thankfully we’ve not had a mouse brought in this week to feed us.

Hubs and Archie had a birthday party yesterday; at an outdoor adventure golf, not an indoor play centre, as that would have push Hubs over the edge. I took Archie to get the present on Friday afternoon and it nearly broke me. I collected him from school, walking up the hill instead of driving as it’s always chaos – coz that was sensible. We then got stuck in the school traffic for 20 minutes on a 5 minute drive to the plaza. I had to puff up the slope from the car park and as we got into the shops, BossMan called me. I answered as he never rings me unless he needs to.

By now I was feeling faint and sweating like I’d been on a run, (he said later he could hear how stuffed I was in my voice). I explained where I was, that I’d ducked out to get a present with Archie, we talked over the latest crisis at work and he made me laugh till I coughed so we concluded the conversation. I went to get some more cold and flu tablets, Archie and I headed up to K-Mart where he chose what he wanted to give as his present and we got back in the lift to go back to the car. I was leaning against the glass wall, (sheer bliss at it’s coolness) when I got talked to (I always get talked to). “The weather is a bit like that isn’t it?”

I shut the conversation down with ‘I’ve got bronchitis’ leaving the lady making the ‘o’ face like a fish out of water. The man in the lift with us winked at me and grinned. I left a hot and sweaty outline on the glass. I drove home, got Archie a snack and sat on the couch under a blanket as I’d now gone cold while we watched a DVD.

I just felt tired out at home, so I thought I’d be ok ducking out for half an hour. If the traffic hadn’t been so bad, it would have been just that but an hour was too much for me to cope with. Lesson learnt.

On a brighter note, Archie has been ploughing through the original Morph cartoons with Tony Hart on kids youtube. He was a bit non-plussed when I said that my form teacher at high school had gone to art college with Tony Hart, but was more impressed when I told him I’d had a picture in the gallery on the program. I’m trying to get a video of him laughing at Morph, Chas, et al, because it’s a glorious six-year-old giggle of pure joy.

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