Monday, September 15, 2014

Thoughts, doings.


Thank you for all of your comments on my (latest) post about the futility of blogging. I swear I don't just write them so I can hear you ask me not to quit. Well, not entirely.  I won't quit, I don't think I can. I've been writing here for almost seven years; longer than I've been married. I'm not saying that I'm more committed to my blog than my marriage, But . . .

(Aside; Ellipsis. Did you know that there is supposed to be a space between each dot? I did not until my mum told me recently. We can put that up there with the fact that fresh herbs can be frozen as the most ground shaking things I've learned from my mother.)

We are just back from seeing my in-laws in France. It was quiet and relaxing and the wine was SO CHEAP, which was exactly what we needed at the end of the summer. The girls spent the week butt naked and discussing boar hunting (“I would hit it with a big stick and see if that deaded it then I would wipe its bum and cut a bit off and EAT IT FOR MY DINNER.” Guess who.) and fighting with their Grandpa over the last peach. It was a real test of his love, fruit vs grandchild, happily for all concerned grandchild won.

Then we went to Glasgow for a wedding. Each time we've been there recently the sun has been shining, we've had dinner with friends and eaten brilliant food; this time at Stereo and last time at Hanoi Bike Shop, (which OMG, GET IN MY BELLY.) It wasn't like that when we lived there The city is buzzing with talk of the referendum and we were kicking ourselves for leaving before we could be a part of such an exciting time for Scotland and as everyoneelse is just starting to realise, the rest of the UK too. (I'm too tired for talking politics in any depth, but this just about sums it up. And this. Wait, and this too.)

Two weeks tomorrow I'm going to New York, all by myself. All. By. My. Self. For a whole week. A whole week all by myself. If I say it enough I might start to believe it. I've been planning it for months but it still doesn't seem real. I'm going to be guest/photographer hybrid at a friend's wedding (a photoguestrapher? A guestographer?) and I'm not sure quite how I'm going to take photographs when I'm crying all the tears. I'm staying in Brooklyn this time. I feel a post about Things to Do/Eat in Brooklyn coming on. I'll maybe limit it to one post this time, not 74 like last time we went. 

Then when I get back it will be one month until the girls turn four. Four is big. The girls are big, so I guess it kind of makes sense. I like them more now than I've ever done. I mean, I've loved them all along (obviously, but you know, the internet . . .) but they finally feel like a joy to be around. Now that they've stopped trying to kill each other (sometimes quite literally). And with that, it's time to get them out of bed. Cheerio. 


*image by Robin Edds/BuzzFeedGetty Images/Wavebreak Media Wavebreakmedia Ltd. The best Buzzfeed page that I've ever seen (Not a difficult category, if we're honest.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Camping in Dorset

The summer holidays are over and I'm about to wake the girls up to send them back to nursery after a looong break (six weeks? eight? thirty two? I lost count a while back). It's been a really good summer holiday actually and the return to nursery sort of sneaked up on me. I have really enjoyed spending time with the girls who are not nearly as trying as they were during the easter holiday, which nearly killed me. It helps that they've stopped trying to kill each other. For a while (about six months) we were woken every day by their fighting before they had even got out of bed and it just continued all damn day, descending every five minutes into screaming, sobbing, hitting and gouging. Thankfully they are going through a truce period and life has become a lot nicer around here. (Notice how I didn't say 'thankfully that has passed'? Mama ain't no fool.)


At the beginning of the summer we took the girls camping in Dorset. Some of you might remember our last attempt to go camping with them; 'a fiasco' would be an apt way to sum it up. This time was better. For a start we let a good two years and two months pass (HAHAHA to our plans to introduce W&P to camping young, for it to be a regular and cheap family holiday, to buying a new tent when they were a year old under the justification that 'it will get so much use'.) For another, this time we were visiting a friend who has land and on that land she has a large, semi-permanent tent with two sleeping compartments - one for each kid. Meanwhile we slept outside it in our three man tent; absolutely no trying to sleep all four of us in one space. It did feel like cheating, I'll admit it. Our friend's tent had sleeping platforms, mattresses and curtains around each bed and a kitchen area... it was far removed from our wild camping of yore. My guilt that we were 'doing it wrong' was short lived though, it dissipated the first night that we put the girls to bed at bed time and they stayed put, and slept! To our credit we didn't use the kitchen area once, we cooked all of our meals outdoors on either a camping stove or a barbecue. 'All our meals' translates to '174 burgers and 68 sausages'. It was a good week. 

The little corner of Dorset that we were staying in was pure heaven, it was England in perfection - fields, forests, rivers, farms, cliffs, beaches, tiny stone houses, villages with twisty streets, fruit farms... there were definite murmurings about leaving London and starting an orchard or a flower farm or a camp site, or pretty much anything that would let us live like this all year long and let our children grow up tanned and wild and free, like my friend Flora's beautiful, funny, wild and free kids, who live a mere handful of miles from where we stayed. A life of beaches and barbecues and axe skills and eating peas, raspberries and (in W&P's case) courgettes straight from the plant.

Here are some pictures. Sorry they're a bit shit, they're all from my phone. I took a film camera with me but the film has been added to the 10 year old pile of unprocessed rolls and goodness knows if it will ever make it to the lab. I suck at photography. 




Friday, August 22, 2014



I think instagram might have ruined blogging. It's so easy and immediate, whenever I think of something that I might want to say here I realise I've already said in small drip, drip, drips on instagram. I don't know that everyone who reads here also follows me there (@caratakesphotos, just so you know), or the other way around, so I'm not actually sure how much I would be repeating myself, but I do know that this blog is starting to feel somewhat... redundant. And yet, I still feel the urge to put it all in one place, to tell stories that are more than just one picture, one caption, to hope for replies that are words, not a dozen small (but undeniably gratifying) heart shapes. I wonder why I care about repeating myself, I repeat myself all the damn time in real life. I tell the same stories, offer the same observations, make the same jokes. If they're funny once then they're going to be hilarious twice, right? My poor, poor friends. I miss what this place used to be, the community, the feeling of having created something. Instagram is fun but it feels like twitter, each picture another drip into the constant running stream of other people's updates, stories, observations, jokes. Earlier this week I had dinner with a group of  seven women, six of them women who I met through blogging, five of them women who have become my primary real life social group in the last few years and of course talk turned to how we had met, when we met, what we used to blog about. It made me nostalgic for blogging as it once was, but also grateful that my social life has (primarily) moved off-screen. One of my friends mentioned how naive we were, seven years ago when we all first 'met'. How we spewed forth our thoughts and our dreams and offered up our lives in total, unabashed detail to the internet, believing totally in our anonymity. 'Those were the days' I thought, and simultaneously 'dear god, we were idiots.' Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this. I think I just wanted to say hi, that I haven't forgotten about you/here/this/whatever it is. That I still want to write and talk and share with you here but that I'm not quite sure how/why/when/what. I'm aware that my blogging has become increasingly about Not Blogging. Which is fascinating reading, I'm sure. I also wonder why I would keep writing blog posts when I've almost entirely stopped reading them. Does anyone read blog posts any more? Doesn't everyone find them almost universally insufferable? Questions questions. In the meantime, happy weekend. (Remember when we used to wish each other a happy weekend every week? And a happy monday? And just a happy happy happy? God, we were annoying.)


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

our brightest lights



'What platitudes then can we fling along with the listless, insufficient wreaths at the stillness that was once so animated and wired, the silence where the laughter was? That fame and accolades are no defence against mental illness and addiction? That we live in a world that has become so negligent of human values that our brightest lights are extinguishing themselves? That we must be more vigilant, more aware, more grateful, more mindful? That we can’t tarnish this tiny slice of awareness that we share on this sphere amidst the infinite blackness with conflict and hate?'
Russell Brand, on the late, great Robin Williams.*

It was with such sadness that I took in the news this morning that Robin Williams had committed suicide. I can't think of a single actor that brought me more joy as a child, who starred in films that moved me as much as Good Will Hunting or Dead Poet's Society in my adolescence. (Or creeped me out as much as that one about the guy working in the photo lab, but I prefer not to think too hard about that one.) 

In lieu of words of my own I ask you to read the above Guardian piece by Russel Brand. It's everything I wish I was capable of writing. I also ask that if you are suffering... please hold on. Please tell someone. Please.


* It still confuses me that Russell Brand is one of the most eloquent, moving voices of our generation. RUSSELL BRAND? The first time I read one of his pieces I thought it was a practical joke. I mean RUSSELL BRAND. Come on.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Creeping on our friends.


7.30am this morning. My bedroom, just awake. Discussing our visitor.  

Ammie: "I'm going to crap on Sophie" 
Me: "NO YOU ARE NOT" 
Ammie: "I am! I'm going to crap on her!" 
Me: "Amelia, you certainly are not." 
Ammie: "I will do it quietly." 
Me: "No you won't, that is not a nice thing to do to people." 
Ammie: "But I want to crap on her and see if she is awake." 
Me: "Ammie, do you mean 'creep up on her'?" 
Ammie: "YES! Creep on her." 
Me: "Okay, go and creep on Sophie."




Monday, July 07, 2014

Stupid Thoughts That End With 'maybe we should have another baby?'





'I have exercised regularly for a year yet my stomach still always looks 3-4 months pregnant. One of these days someone is going to ask me when I'm due. If I were actually pregnant when this happens then it wouldn't be quite so awful.'
'My belly is so wobbly and nothing makes it go away. If I was pregnant and didn't eat much then the baby might use it up and afterwards I would be thin again.'
'I don't love my body. I've never loved my stupid body. Wait, that's not true. I loved my body when I was pregnant. . . ' 
'I miss crafting. It would be nice to make something again. A human something.' 
'W&P are total bastards to each other. Having another sibling might unite them. Or alternatively give them someone else to be horrible to. Either way, they might lay off each other for five damn minutes.'
'I still want to be Mrs Weasley. If I'm ever going to have seven children then I need to up production.'
'I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, if I spent another few years solely dedicated to keeping a person alive then I wouldn't need a plan for a bit longer.'
'My sister-in-law is having a baby any day now. I'm jealous because a) I liked being pregnant and b) she's going to have a cute baby that everyone will adore and I want one too.'
'IVF sucked. It would be nice to get pregnant naturally. It would also be nice to carry just one baby, and give birth just once of a morning, and have just one newborn.'

And then, every single time, as if maybe some part of my subconscious is trying to tell me something...

"YOU DON'T WANT ANOTHER FUCKING BABY. And oh, by the way, YOU'RE INFERTILE*. REMEMBER?"


___________________________________




*I know, I know. I had twins, I'm not infertile. But it took four years and IVF and my inner voice has a flair for the dramatic, okay?

** And then I looked through pictures of W&P's first year for one to go with this post and my ovaries exploded all over my seat and I had to have MORE BABIES RIGHT THIS MINUTE. (remember how cute they were? Before they learned to throw punches.)