Thursday, July 5, 2007

Off on a roadtrip

I haven't posted for a while as it's been a worrying couple of weeks. Olive's knee isn't improving so we've had several trips to the hospital to see different specialists about it. It seems that the fall she had may have just been coincidence and that the swelling may be caused by something else. She had an ultrasound and some bloods taken yesterday and was just the bravest girl in the world. We wait for the results, and still hope that it may resolve itself before she has to have more invasive treatment. I'm amazed at how uncomplaining she's being about all of this, she is just such a wonderful girl. She's very well in herself, happy and playful. She is so chatty and her speech is coming on so quickly right now, every day her sentences get longer and we can actually chat - I love it! But is starting to get frustrated by the fact that she can't run as fast or climb as well as she normally can. And it is painful when she wakes in the morning and doesn't want to stand on it, but it does losen off after some baby ibuprofen and she has been walking for a bit. I feel so worried and so powerless. I just want to be able to make it better and see her back to normal again. I feel very anxious. My beautiful baby girl, why can't I fix her?

But, putting that to one side, we are off on holiday for a week. We're off on a roadtrip in a VW Campervan hired from these lovely people We are going for a little tour round Devon and Cornwall and have found some stunning looking campsites to stay on. Keep your fingers crossed that the rain stays away for us! We could use a little sunshine.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Olive has hurt her knee. She slipped on a book when she was running towards me, and although it didn't seem to bother her much at the time, it swelled up so much over the next day that we took her to the out of hours doctor service at our local hospital. He referred us to the paediatrics A&E Department, where we saw a nurse, two doctors, two x-ray technicians and a consultant. It was Saturday night, it was busy and hot but everyone was courteous, gentle, kindly and saw us as quickly as they could. Thankfully O is ok, nothing broken, just some soft tissue damage and fluid causing the swelling which should go down over the next few weeks. We were back there today for a review meeting and saw another consultant and a junior doctor - again friendly, spending lots of time and giving us lots of reassurance that all was ok.

O was born in this hospital and we had a wonderful midwife and, although long and with complications, the drug-free active birth we'd really hoped for.

London Hospitals get a lot of bad press, but every experience we've had here has been good. Perhaps we've been lucky but I believe that in the main people who work for the NHS are caring, hardworking, dedicated professionals who provide the most amazing service in often overcrowded, underfunded and difficult circumstances. Thank you.

And Olive, what a star. Uncomplaining, put up with being prodded and poked and even said an unprompted thank you to the doctor as we were leaving. She amazes me, always.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rainy Monday

A bit of this:

Lots of these:

Some dancing to this:

Way too much of this:

Until at last the sun came out and we could have a walk around here:

The Geffrye museum

And finally have some of this from a new cafe that's opened up nearby.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Holiday Reading

I have always loved to read. So many of my childhood memories are book related and I really hope to pass this love on to Olive. I always have several books on the go at the one time, and I'm terrible company if something really grips me, I just can't put it down (sorry Matt!) We recently returned from a week long holiday in Sicily and here are a few of the books I managed to work my way through.

The Story of You by Julie Myerson. I love Myerson's writing. So simple and stark. Always with a dark side which haunts me for a long time after I've finished. Although I don't know how much more of her work I can read now as it touches me too much. This tale of a mother who has lost a child just touched on too many of my own fears. I was sitting on the beach under a hot Sicilian sky with tears pouring down my face. Matt said "Can't you read something cheerful for a change?' and I have to agree with him on this one.

So I then re-read an old copy of Bill Bryson's Notes on a Small Island which was in our villa's bookshelf. I was lucky enough to work with Bill on a marketing campaign for A Short History of Nearly Everything when we were living in Sydney. He is a lovely man and this book remains laugh aloud funny.

Another book from the villa shelves was State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy. A typical book group weepie, but he has a very convincing female voice. If you ever want to weep an afternoon away also try The Pursuit of Happiness. My final selection from the villa was a book about a cookery writer who finds her actor husband's mistress with her head bashed in on her kitchen floor so she ridiculously cooks her up and serves her at a dinner party to get rid of the evidence. I can't remember the title of author. Trashy. Isn't there a Roald Dahl/Tales of the Unexpected short story about a wife doing something similar?

Back to the books I took with me. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell. I so enjoyed this book, the switch between past and present worked so well. I loved the Edinburgh setting as that's where I went to university. It was interesting as all of my family except for me have worked in mental health at some point and it's an awful truth that so many women were institutionalised in the early 1900's just for being strong willed, different or having relationships out of wedlock. This book is pacey and gripping with a surprisingly strong twist at the end.

What books are on your holiday reading list for this summer?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

My lovely girl and beautiful boy on Father's Day. I love you both.

The view from above

Sometimes friends who don't live in London ask me how we cope with living here and having a baby. It's true that there are obvious downsides, but a completely new London has opened up to us since Olive arrived. Neighbours who pre-O maybe gave me a cursory nod on the way to and from work now stop and ask how we are, they know our names and we know theirs. We talk! Before I became a mother I was more used to not making eye contact on the tube. We have made so many new friends since we became parents and actually feel a part of our local community.

We are discovering this new London on foot. This is my view from above. My sweet curly haired beautiful Olive. I love the way she leans forward to take in her view. Now she is older she often twists around and gives me her wonderful wrinkly nose grin. She loves her London life and she is helping me love mine even more.