Tuesday, 7 June 2011

and back to normal

after the visiting swedish contingent. which of course was far from normal. perhaps you'd think, lightning really can't strike twice. in which case volcanic disruption? surely not.

but, after last year's no show due to icelandic geologic disturbance this year i wandered thru to say - you've seen there's another eruption in iceland. sure enough by the time we got them to the plane edinburgh airport was in chaos, bus rides to newcastle were promised but that airport too was closed by the time the bus didn't appear. so we had them for another few days, which was great.

plan a, to deceive the granny, worked a treat. but i can't lie to my mother protested t. no problem, i said, i can. and duly did. the 'wee stop in edinburgh saw the family appear and fortunately she didn't have a heart attack and all was well.

not quite so for mari, this being her first time in edinburgh and her first time in scotland with a new baby. and therefore her first time in a restaurant where they say, no you can't come in here with a baby. and that before the bad coffee! not a good combo for the swedes but good insight for them into why it's the small differences that are so apparent when we're over there. and more strangely, even when we were out and about, there was a marked difference in the attitude shown to minnie between the natives and tourists of all shapes and sizes. we need to really sort out our attitudes to children in this country (a soap box i have been happy to stand on all my own daughter's life!)

nonetheless, having minnie around was highly entertaining, if tiring. additional granny content was even more tiring but once we'd got her packed off back to london town things settled a bit. i'd forgotten how disruptive to normal life a child is! four people seemed an ideal number to cope and by the end of the week mari especially was more than happy to leave minnie with me. jam, not so much, but he has more limited time with her and didn't want to miss anything.

which kind of put a spoke in my plans to introduce minnie to the world of professional cycling but time enough for that yet. what she did like was being outside and flowers in particular. by the time we got home and google translate was reavailable we'd got right into 'this is the red/yellow/white/blue flower' etc. great fun. but equally, as soon as we started speaking swedish to her, despite her being supposedly prelanguage, we were able to access a completely different set of responses from her. as i said to jam, any self consciousness i may have about apoken swedish is now out the window. i refuse to have a more limited vocabulary than a pre school child!

the most entertaining moment of the week came on the last day when jam and mari were packing. minnie was grumpy so we'd explored the garden and surrounds but still something else was required. i know, i thought, guitar. but of course minnie had never seen or heard a guitar and didn't know what to make of it. her expression was brilliant. not quite wanting to scream or cry, not quite wanting to laugh, not knowing quite what being puzzled is. a wee experience machine!

she soon saw it wasn't just one hand that was moving but still didn't appear sure what the sound was. a combo of tapping the sound box and a bit of peek! did the trick. then we tried her with the piano. and again the same reaction! she doesn't have quite the arm or hand strength to hit the keys so there was limited appeal to that so back down the stairs and this time i decided i'd go for the big whistle. how she loved that! (and her mum who immediately stopped all the packing activity!) not only did she love the sound she could grab the whistle and try and hit me round the head with it! so naturally, along with the marmalade, whisky and sundry other things they departed with a small d whistle which i've encouraged both jam and mari to be able to play by the time i'm next across.

and then the house was empty. both of us had plans for the week - t to finish a felt order and me to break the back of a pamphlet i'm working on. we did nothing (i didn't even cycle)! and now it seemed like a rather colourless activity with only a return to work to look forward to. i have not cleaned away the minnie handprints from all of my stuff!

but back to normal we went. i missed claire's starry rhymes night which was annoying and i thank work for, yet again. but once the work shenanigans took a pause we managed to get away up north to, amongst other things, get an eye on some slavonian grebes and some red throated divers. this in the company of some very noisy dutch people - surely the loudest twitchers i've ever come across - so all was well. of course the lack of cycling (and having a proper chef in the house) has created a santa sized problem across the middle of me but plans for the off road coast to coast in three weeks are well advanced so that should take care of that.

but even yet, minnie should be walking soon. we can't wait to see that!


Marion McCready said...

well anytime you fancy doing some babysitting... lol

yes, such a difference in attitude to small children practically everywhere on the continent compared to here. we took sorley to germany when he was two and all the locals were so super friendly towards him not to mention all the family friendly facilities available. when he was around five months old we took him to Skye, it seemed the further north we travelled the less family orientated things were, hard to find anywhere with even basic baby changing facilities. though I noticed things have improved a little when went up to Lewis last summer.

swiss said...

i think lewis is fairly sorted for incomers, certainly at least as far as stornoway goes - no problem in the woodland centre for buggies, babies and the like!

i think i went on elsewhere about the strange (to our eyes) magic of swedish parks. no litter, no drunks or junkies, no torched facilities just lots of kids running around and lots of adults around to keep an eye on them.