Monday 23 March 2009

Dancing in the Station

At the train station in Liverpool, T-Mobile (a UK mobile phone company) did this great commercial unbeknownst to the daily commuters. They practiced for 8 weeks late at night at the station. On January 15th, 2009, with hidden cameras and 400 dancers at 11:00 a.m. their plan was put into action.

Wish I had been there!

Saturday 21 March 2009


She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead."
- A.A. Milne

Thursday 19 March 2009

When I Grow Up

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This photo is of me selling a shovel.

Mrs. Warrington

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Channeling Free Speech

I am a fan a free speech. It is a basic tenet of freedom and many people today are living in countries where free speech is a right denied.

But should there be limits?

Yesterday a few protesters appeared at a homecoming parade given to honour the British soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan. The protest was limited to just a few and I hope the cheers of the hundreds drowned out the jeers of the few.

Soldiers are following orders and display tremendous courage under the most difficult of circumstances. They are far from home, away from their families and friends. Their lives have been under threat every single minute of every single day they were away.

There are appropriate means in which to protest a war. There are places to go to demonstrate your dissatisfaction with the current policy. There are politicians to write to. There is a better way to exercise your freedom of speech.

This is not it.

Today, a similar march took place without incident. Thank goodness. I would hate for these men and women to think for one second that we don't appreciate every thing they do to ensure more people can enjoy the freedom of speech.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Mother of a Chorister

Before he went to bed, Sebastian insisted I promise to post to my blog the announcement that he has been offered a place as a Probationary Chorister beginning in September 2009 and let everyone know that I am now the mother of a chorister.

He is rightfully quite excited about his achievement and I couldn't be more proud. He displayed more composure than his mother did during the daunting experience and he can hardly wait to get started. I, on the other hand, will be savouring every moment we have together between now and then. I suppose that's what parenting is all about.

Sunday 8 March 2009


At the last minute Sebastian decided to go ahead and play a violin piece for his chorister audition. Nothing like sending mummy right over the edge.

The evenings last week were consumed with practise. He played Boating Lake on the piano until I just simply couldn't listen to it anymore. It is a beautiful tune but I'm not sure I ever want to hear it again. He sang his 2 songs until he had all the words memorised and could find his tune and key all on his own. I do love I Vow to Thee, My Country but I really hope I don't have to listen to Onward Christian Soldiers again for a very long time. And then just to torture me (although he said it was to give him an edge) he decided to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on his violin.

He's only just started playing the violin in September. And he couldn't really make a recognisable tune with it until the last few months. For a substantial period of time we had lots of painful screeching.

As Seb practised his violin piece before the audition, Marc and I stood in the kitchen holding our breath and wincing each time it didn't quite go as he planned. But he was determined. And like his mummy, you don't get in his way once he's made up his mind.

He looked so smart as we walked out the door. His hair was even combed. He carried his music, hymn books, and violin. We sat on a bench outside the room they were auditioning. Seb read a Beast Quest book and I knitted fast and furiously. They called him name and came for him. He jumped up and started to walk in completely forgetting his stuff.

The door closed behind him. My knitting pace increased but my hands were shaking. He played his violin first. It wasn't perfect but he didn't embarrass himself and I breathed a very small sigh of relief. I could hear him doing some aural tests and I was pleased with his confidence. He sang his two hymns but the piano was so loud I could barely hear him through the doors. At least he assures me he didn't forget any of his words and he sounded like he was in tune.

I clutched my knitting to my chest and didn't breath until I had to. There was chuckling laughter from the room. "That's my boy", I thought; cut the tension with a bit of humour. At last Boating Lake echoed down the hall and the last note brought tears to my eyes.

He had done it. It was done. He had done everything he could. He had practised. He was confident. He had tried his very best.

He left the room with a great big smile and wrapped his arms around me. I was so glad that it was over and I was so proud that he had tried.

I'm not entirely sure when we find out if he has been chosen but am hoping it will be early next week. Nothing to worry about now though. It is in the hands of God.

Saturday 7 March 2009

Rugby vs Bishopsgate

Year 3 played a rugby match on Friday afternoon. Each school put on 4 teams and all teams put on a superb show. I was particularly proud of my son. He ran in the correct direction every time. He kept his head in the game and he very nearly scored a try! I have adjusted my expectaitons and I mut say it was quite an improvement from his football (soccer outing) last fall. Long may it last.

PS He's quite easy to pick out of the photos. He has light coloured ginger hair and he's the shortest, smallest, etc. (Dynamite comes in small packages and don't you forget it!)

Soup Kitchen

Michelle Obama was volunteering at a soup kitchen a few blocks from the White House last week. An article in the newspaper featured a photo of a soup kitchen patron taking a photo of Mrs Obama. He was taking the photo with his mobile phone.

That's does someone getting their food from a soup kitchen afford a mobile phone? With a camera in it?

Am I the only person in the world who thinks there is something wrong with this picture?

Friday 6 March 2009

Abigail's 5th Birthday

I know my daughter turned 5 on December 24 2008. I know I haven't managed to put the photos up until now. Give me a break. I am not in the running for mother of the year. At least they are here now!

Thursday 5 March 2009

My Little Stars

December was a crazy month and whilst my blog posts were few and far between it wasn't because nothing was going on and I had writer's block. It was only because I was on the go here, there and everywhere every waking moment of every single day and night. Do not mistake that as a complaint. Simply put it was one of the best holiday seasons I can remember!

So, please, do excuse the lateness of this post. I want to catch you up on all those happy memories.

We were honoured to have so many friends and corresponding invites to festive parties. Rest assured the diet went out of window just through the copious quantities of champagne we consumed. And that is definitely not a complaint. January has plenty of time for dieting!

The first treat of the season was Sebastian's Music Recital. The Middle School, Years 3-5 (ages 7-11), performed instrumental and vocal pieces. I have never seen such dedication, raw talent and composure from children so very young. Some of the performances were nearing professional level and I ain't kidding. I have little doubt that there are some future stars in this bunch. Sebastian performed a solo of I Saw Three Ships, which he has been practicising nonstop of several weeks for hours and hours. It was flawless. I was so proud as he took his bow.

Next we were blessed with Abigail's Nativity Story. She was a star, literally and figuratively. Auntie Mary saved the day (one again) with a white tunic (made from a pillowcase) and Marc hand painted silver stars on it. The silver tinsel was courtesy of the class teachers. She sang confidently and loudly in front of 80 (or so) parents. Her line- "But she was still unhappy!" - was delivered with thespian expertise and adequate character pizzazz! At the end of the performance, there was not a dry eye in the house (including her mummy's). She is so adorable I could eat her alive!

We made boxes of home made treats for the children's teachers and Wicked Uncle Scottish Mike came round to help with the decorating of sugar cookies. I do believe that the men did more decorating than the children and they certainly ate more than they decorated. As well as the cookies, the boxes included almond roca, Christmas tree bark, divinty, and apricot/ginger bread. The almond roca was everyone's favourite and I do believe the weight I gained during the holidays was down solely to too much almond roca....although I suspect the cheese also made a significant contribution!

The final school performance was the middle school's spectacular cantata of Scrooge. That's right! Years 3, 4, and 5 sang the enitre story of The Christmas Carol. The parents looked on in awe as these children mastered not only the tune but all those words. Such concentration!

We shared breakfast with Santa which was an incredible privledge on the 20 December. We know how busy he is at that time of year and I'm not entirely sure how he managed to make time for us in his diary but we didn't really care as the children were able to make it very clear to him exactly what their expectations would be for the morning of 25 December.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Fun in the Snow

Back in February we had the biggest snowfall in these here parts in over 18 years. We loved every minute of it!

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Who Moved My Blackberry by Martin Lukes

My most recent troll through the library found me going home with this satirical novel. The British do satire better than just about anyone and this book had me laughing at the absurdity of corporate life. And crying at how relevant I found bits of it.

Martin is a self absorbed high level manager working at a generic company in London who can't understand why his family and career are falling apart but is quite certain none of it is his own fault. Everyone else is to blame. He plays the game telling each player in his life exactly what he wants them to hear and manipulating his version of the truth to shed a beneficial light on himself.

This is all good fun and I found myself laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of it all. It took me less than a day to power through it since it is a series of emails and blackberry messages. Highly recommended for those of you who find yourself getting withdrawal symptoms in the form of physical shaking when your blackberry is turned off during a flight or you've left your mobile at home.

WARNING: Lots of British inside jokes may leave readers of other nationalities wondering what in the world he is talking about unless, like me, you've spent a lot of time here and sort of get the inside jokes.

PS I finished this book so quickly that I loaned it to my boss who I thought would find it amusing.....ok, I also have a death wish. The ironic bit is he lost it on an airplane and I've had to pay the library for it. Poetic Justice.

Monday 2 March 2009

Trophy for Last Place

My son had a judo match on Saturday. Some of you may recall the hilarity of watching on YouTube his last efforts. I'd like to say that he has improved.

Actually, he has improved. The trouble is so has every one else. And they have grown. They have grown much more than Sebastian has grown. Does everyone have their children on steroids or what?

Sebastian has more confidence than skill, luck or bulk.

He got a trophy for coming in last place. He was happy. That's all that matters.

Sunday 1 March 2009


Sebastian has slowly been acquiring a substantial collection of Scalectric which is no small financial investment. Most of it has been from generous friends and family as birthday and Christmas gifts. And it just broke my heart when he couldn't play with it. Not because he couldn't but because his mummy is a big mean control freak who hates mess.

Now before you yell and scream at me for being so mean, just imagine the gigantic health and safety risk of tripping over the track in the middle of the night and destroying the child's favourite toy.

So we weighed up the benefit of not destroying it by keeping it put away or driving me insane by having it out all over the place. And we came up with an altogether absolutely brilliant solution. actually, it wasn't my idea at all. It was my husband's idea but don't tell him I told you he had a brilliant idea. It will just go to his head and I'll never hear the end of it. And I really couldn't bear that.

The solution was to clear out the loft of our garage, lay down some carpet off cuts and lay out a huge track which would be guaranteed to provide hours of uninterrupted amusement. This led to the inevitable problem of realising that clearly we didn't have enough track to build the dream track and we set off in search of building what appeared to me adequate set into a more extensive and seriously over the top set.

All that matters though is the children quite happily set off with Marc several hours ago for the garage loft and I haven't heard hide nor hair of them since. And my house is neat and tidy.

Scalectric, in case you live in a cave (or outside the UK) and haven't had the opportunity to appreciate the finer points of cruising round the track at full speed and sending your cars careening off the edge, is an electronic race track which can entertain children (and men - same thing) for hours and hours and hours allowing mummy to enjoy her bath and several good books with a large glass (or perhaps the whole bottle) of a glorious white burgundy wine. Cheers!