Letter of the law: toddler style

You can sing, you can talk, you can read, but please stay in bed. It is bed time. Just stay in bed. You can do whatever you want, but I do not want you to leave this bed, do you understand? I love you, good night, see you in the morning turn out to be really stupid words to say to a creative but poorly two-year-old with enough raised temperature to be under-exercised and bored but not enough to be floppy and sleepy.

Still, when I went back in an hour later and found him in the middle of leaning out and lifting a large foam cube into the bed, with everything else that had previously been within arms reach already piled in a pyramid in the middle, proudly presenting it when I opened the door with Mama! It a SQUARE! I really wasnt able to be angry, because if nothing else, for once, he had totally listened and done exactly what Id asked. He had not once left the bed.

It was just that everything else in the room had joined him in there.

Psy what?

Were sitting in the car. Weve been sitting in the car for four hours, and the toddler is getting quite bored of this situation.

We are playing a version of I spy that fits an almost-two-year-old understanding of how things work, where one person names things and then the other people shout when they see that thing.

Yellow sign!



Excellent! Now, what about a red car? First one to see a red car…



Ok, that was possibly too easy. You think of one?

Pupple syne!

There are no purple signs, Doozer. There are lots of different colours of road signs, but not… I mean, there havent been any purple signs, have there, so well be waiting an awfully long time if you really only want to see a… actually thats not a bad idea. Ok! Even though there are no such things as purple roadsigns, the first person to spot a purple sign wi

We round another corner in the forest. Ahead, suddenly, tucked into a small town on the way up the mountain, is a large, purple sign.

Pupplesyne! shouts the toddler, contentedly.

We sit in the front, look at each other, then back at the sign.

PSYCHIC, says the sign, in big black letters on a rich purple background.

An ominous fanfare fills the car.

Well, no, it doesnt, but it would have been cool if it did.

I should carry around an ominious fanfare band for precisely this kind of situation.

Five things: Thursday December 19th

  1. Hello. Hello!
  2. As a small handful of people noticed (and I am very glad it wasnt more, I couldnt stand to think there are many still out there, still checking whether Ive written anything, only to find I havent, still) the blog went down for a while weve got it back up, though it still needs a lot of love and quite a bit of rejigging if Im going to continue to have it, which Ive set aside as a task for my beloved and I over the the Christmas holiday. Happy Christmas, darling!
  3. We have moved back to San Francisco, which is nice for lots of reasons, but mainly, obviously, because the background of the blog is finally correct. Which is clearly among the most sane reasons possible to move your family across the world.
  4. Programmes I have watched on American television and immediately feared for the sanity of humanity: Buying nude (in which nudists search for houses to be nude in, in the nude. And Best Funeral EVER which is precisely as tasteful as it sounds.

5. At the age of almost-two, Doozer has just learned to play the harmonica and is busy composing original works. So far he can play The Really Long Song, The Song The Daddy Likes and The Last Song, Seriously, Because It Really Is Teatime Now, and The Harmonica Is Not a Fork.

Up in the air

I like bridges. The soaring views, the ability to zig zag a city, crossing from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, often completely different ones, lifting yourself up one side, and dropping yourself down in a totally different place, with a different atmosphere and different things to do. I like the way that, as you climb onto the bridge, the buildings drop away, and you get a proper horizon looking down the river, and a different perspective on the city.


I like bridges.

Or, at least, I *think* I like bridges. I like bridges in theory. And so I plan a walk, and it involves a bridge, and I think thatll be nice, I like bridges. And then I go up on the bridge. And then I remember the one thing I dont like about bridges.

Its bridges.

I dont like bridges.


Because come on: theyre fucking terrifying, basically.

Theyre high in the air which is one thing that is terrifying. Theyre over water, which is also a thing which is terrifying. Theyre high in the air AND over water both at the same time, which is the most terrifying thing of all.

They have traffic going over them, whizzing beneath your feet or to one side of you at what feels like a thousand miles an hour, rattling the walkway with ginormous wheels, or suddenly honking a horn and making you feel like it was only sheer luck that the sudden burst of noise didnt see you jump out of your skin and over the side of the bridge (which is, let us not forget, not only really high up, but also over quite deep, terrifying water).

If you are DOUBLE lucky (as I was, on a walk on a recent work-trip to a different city), you will also have a have a train line running over the same bridge that makes you want to hit the deck and lie there, face pressed against the floor until the squeaking and rumbling and shaking stops. And then you remember that the floor you want to throw yourself onto is not only high up in the air (which is terrifying) but also over deep, dark, terrifying water. And that seems FAR less reassuring a prospect.

Of course some people do this for fun. Or for work. With apparently no worries at all. And, of course, those people are insane.

This person, for example, is insane:


It is, once I get up there, all I can do to find a relatively clear looking line, and walk it, as quickly and calmly as possibly possible, using my camera as a barrier between myself and the things that are logically very terrifying (the things about being high in the air and suspended over deep, fast-moving, dark terrifying water, which, lets face it, are not normal states to be in unless you are a seagull. And who wants to be a seagull? They make really bad food choices lots of carbs, untold amounts of saturated fats while eating food out of bins, and make funny noises when they have sex. On rooftops. Seriously, no one wants to be a seagull. Not even seagulls. They all wish they were ducks).

There is nothing much I can do about the illogically terrifying thing (that any bridge, at any time, might just choose any moment to collapse into the water. It just might), but still, if I can concentrate on other things, like taking pictures of that amazing view I knew I would get from up there, or the interesting angles of cables against the stone and try to take my mind off the fact there are teeming hordes of tourists blocking my route back to dry land.


And then I look at the photos after, and I go You know what? Bridges are GREAT! (because they are, you know? They really do have all those benefits to them, the views, the walks, the blah blah blah, they would just be improved by being NOT high in the air and NOT over water, which, now I think about it, would make them more pavements than bridges and oh never mind, this theory has not worked out as well as I thought it might) and then, the next day, plan a walk on a bridge, forgetting until the very second I get up onto the next one that for a person who likes bridges, I really, really dont like bridges that much.

For very, very good reason. Because they put you in a state that no non-seagull person should be in.

But that wont stop me walking across them.


Oh, for the record, Im not great at driving across them either.

But then, neither are seagulls.

So Im going to pretend that ones totally rational.

Five things, since im paying for the desk space anyway

I was planning to use this morning for all the things that were NON worky and involved being at home, but then, due to My Beloved having an inconvenient fever (she said, in her most sympathetic voice) I have had to come to use the office space we pay for while Doozer is at creche. On a day when I wasnt planning on doing any worky-work. And, in fact, was determined not to. So. Hello.


1) Meaning to type cheers, I just signed off an email cheese. I didnt notice until it was gone. Maybe they wont notice.



Oh, who am I kidding? Theyll totally notice.

2) Having to had to forcibly refresh my secondary school learning of algebra, and actually teach myself something about grammar for the first time (it was out of fashion in secondary schools in the 1980s, it seems, and my a-levels/degree didnt touch it either, so while I might know it innately, the amount of actual technical terms I could apply to my english could be written on the back of a postage stamp in fat felt tip), I am now having to remind myself of basic principles of physics that I havent looked at since I first learnt them at 13 or 14. This job Im doing at the moment (for an education company) is being very, VERY educational. To me. I have no idea if any of that will be passed on to the intended parties…

3) I like hot weather. I understand it can be unpleasant in the cities, but if you live by the sea, and there is a nice sea breeze, it really is much nicer. This is why everybody, with no exceptions, should live by the sea.

4) Planning a wedding in two months is good, but a little stressful for someone who cannot make decisions without flip-flopping and considering every single option at least 400 times.

5) Smallcat went missing earlier in the week. I was terrified and upset, thinking what could have happened to her having been an indoor cat for almost 6 years, and an outdoor cat for only the last 4 weeks, she is not the most streetwise or clever of kitties. But she came back, strolling in and demanding food like nothing had happened. And we were pleased, and relieved, and delighted. Although, frankly, I might have preferred it if shed left the fleas she brought back with her wherever it was she found them.

Beautiful songs of love (and otherwise)

My brain started whirring as I walked this morning. I was listening to music on my phone on shuffle, and it suddenly cut in with a snippet from a film, with one character saying The answer… is NO. and the other replying Well why didnt you just SAY that?

And it made me think, as you do, about how you would reject a marriage proposal by mix tape (or playlist, now, I suppose). Because obviously this would be a perfect last track. I always used to like ending each side of tape with a tiny snippet from a film soundtrack or comedy album or, most often, the muppets, and this would be perfect for the purpose, if the purpose was required.

So. a) hello, and b) If you could make three mixtapes, playlists, whatever,

1) one to propose to someone,

2) one to accept a proposal and

3) one to reject a proposal

what would be on them? I might compile them on spotify later.

NB: This is not a subtle way of introducing the fact I am secretly getting married. We are getting married, it isnt a secret, but also it has nothing to do with mix tapes