Sunday, 20 January 2008

Two children, two kittens and three ducks

Two children, two kittens and three ducks - these are my dependents; solely my dependents at the moment as my husband has been working abroad for two weeks. I can feel very sorry for myself; in all this foul weather I've been on my own with two hyperactive boys, wind and rain lashing incessantly against the windows, flood waters rising on the lane outside. And I'm six months pregnant. But I feel proud - I'm surviving. I've just about kept it together with the children and I've not even cried yet.

I've been more worried about the animals. Symptomatic of my obsessive traits when things get out of control, I found myself cleaning the duck house out during the storm last Friday. Their house had flooded and I was worried about them spending the night on wet, freezing hay. So I put on my wellies, hat and coat, shovelled the muck out and put clean bedding in, drenched myself by torrential rain so that I had to strip to my underwear when I got in.

Thank God for CBeebies; my children were safe and content in front of the fire. So I turned my obsessive concern to the kittens, fussing around their house to make sure it was a dry haven in which they could spent the night. A very sensible and supportive friend of mine suggested that of all my dependents, the ducks were probably best able to survive the weather alone. But my father taught me to always care for the animals first and I knew I'd not sleep that night unless I was sure they were all safe from the raging elements.

We've been to Sunday School this morning and it reminded me how important it is to get out and mix with other families. At 7.05am I felt tired to the core, despondent, tearful and was contemplating driving off and leaving my children who were spitting cereal at each other across the table. Arriving at Sunday School I realised that other families have just the same amount of problems and inconveniences, and felt ashamed for my self-pity. This morning Sunday School and my wonderful supportive friends there, restored my sense of perspective so that I am now able to face another wet, windy day as a single mother with renewed vigor.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Great excitement - I am published in The Telegraph. An article which I have written about the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan has been published in The Weekly Telegraph and is on-line at

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Zagazoo by Quentin Blake

For those of you with young children who enjoy reading stories with an adult undercurrent, I recommend Zagazoo by Quentin Blake. A couple receive a baby in the post and are enjoying its fun until it turns into a squawking vulture. It becomes a rampaging elephant, filthy warthog and angry dragon until it turns into a large, hairy monster which keeps growing. The parents are exhausted and despairing, their hair starts going grey. Then the monster becomes a polite young man...

Reading it tonight it struck me what a perceptive parallel of child rearing it was, although one which was difficult to explain to my inquisitive four year old who wanted to know why the baby kept changing into animals!