Thursday 29 March 2012


This is a booklist - intended for Rachel, daughter of my much beloved @lisaansell. 

Please add to it via the comments list with anything you or your children loved.

The Twits - Roald Dahl
Danny, The Champion of The World - Roald Dahl
Matilda - Roald Dahl
The BFG - Roald Dahl
Ballet Shoes - Noel Streatfield
Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent - Lauren Child
I Will Not Ever Never Eat A Tomato - Lauren Child
Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving
The Children of the New Forest - Frederick Marryat
Der Struwwelpeter (Slovenly Peter) - Heinrich Hoffman
Charlotte's Web - E.B.White
Hans Brinker/The Silver Skates - Mary Mapes Dodge
The Three Muskateers - Alexandre Dumas (pere)
Goodnight Mr Tom - Michelle Magorian
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle
A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle
Ring of Bright Water - Gavin Maxwell
Tarka, The Otter - Henry Williamson
Watership Down - Richard Adams
Heidi - Johanna Spyri
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
Lorna Doone - R.D. Blackmore
Lord of The Flies - William Golding
King Solomon's Mines - H. Rider Haggard
Moonfleet - J. Meade Falkner
The White Riders - Monica Edwards
Five Children and It - E. Nesbit
The Railway Children - E. Nesbit
The Call of the Wild - Jack London
White Fang - Jack London
A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett
What Katy Did - Susan Coolidge
At The Back of The North Wind - George MacDonald
Room on the Broom - Julia Donaldson
The Snail and The Whale - Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo's Child - Julia Donaldson
Zog - Julia Donaldson
*Anything by Julia Donaldson is going to be a winner!
You're a Bad Man Mr Gum! - Andy Stanton
The Children of Green Knowe - Lucy M. Boston
Carrie's War - Nina Bawden
Wise Child - Monica Furlong
I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith
The Clumsies Make A Mess - Sorrel Anderson 
Nicobobinus - Terry Jones 
101 Dalmations - Dodie Smith
The Starlight Barking - Dodie Smith
The Little House on the Prairie - Laurie Ingliss Wilder
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Good Wives - Louisa May Alcott
Little Men - Louisa May Alcott
Jo's Boys - Louisa May Alcott
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren
The Church Mice At Bay - Graham Oakley
The Mousehole Cat - Antonia Barber
The Selfish Giant - Oscar Wilde
The Silver Sword - Ian Seraillier
The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S.Lewis
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Stig of The Dump - Clive King
Legend of the Guardians (The Owls of Ga'Hoole) - Kathryn Lasky
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - Judith Kerr
Tom's Midnight Garden - Philippa Pearce
Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
The Cat in The Hat - Dr Seuss
Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown
The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
Finn Family Moomintroll - Tove Jansson
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula Le Guin
Swallows and Amazons (Series) - Arthur Ransome
Emil and The Detectives - Erich Kastner
The Reluctant Dragon - Kenneth Grahame
The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Five on a Treasure Island - Enid Blyton
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery
Just So Stories - Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday 28 March 2012


I thought it would be hard work pushing out a baby.

I thought it was hard work being a parent when F went blue at 12 hours old.

I thought it was hard work being a parent when L was born early and an interesting shade of citrine.

I thought it was really hard work being a parent when my children said goodbye to their father when he left for another country and another woman.

I knew it was really hard work being a parent when we went through sleepless nights, Chicken Pox, German Measles, Foot & Mouth, Swine Flu and other assorted illnesses, concussions, falls and choking fits.

What I never expected was how hard it would be to be the parent of a child approaching teenagehood. A girl awash with hormones and emotions she doesn't understand or know how to express. Poor F. And poor me. She didn't come with a manual so I'm at a total loss. I've just about got childhood parenting sorted. I know how to use my magic kisses to make scrapes and sores better. I can handle being woken on the hour, every hour during the night and then going to work in the morning. I know how to make all sorts of interesting craft items out of cardboard loo roll innards, sellotape, foil and some cotton wool. I can create an "Easter Bonnet" from rubbish fished out of the bin. I can whip up a costume at 5 minutes notice for BookDay without breaking a sweat. There are so many things I have learnt how to do and have mastered to what even I, with my high standards, think are rather fabulous!

So of course,  now it's the time to start something new. Something I don't understand at all. I'm lost. At an utter loss. I am broken already and apparently I've only just started to feel the pain. TEENAGERS. I thought I liked and understood them. As a teacher I spend most of my time with them and I love their sassy attitude, their refusal to accept the status quo, their pushiness, their hilarious moods, their....... and now I live with one. I live with a child who is becoming a teen. Who has hormones coming out of her ears. She is getting spotty and (unless I nag) smelly. Her vocabulary now consists of a huge proportion of "like", "sor'ov", "y'know", "LOOOOOOSER!" and "S'not FAIR!". I am not ready for this.


Today F and I had a standoff about deceit. About going out to see a friend in one set of clothes and returning in another, less suitable set of clothes. I don't really mind what she wears because I still pay for the clothes and therefore have the largest say in what she chooses. I mind that she felt the need to hide the other clothes in her bag and pretend to me that she wasn't going to wear them. There was no reason for it - I don't understand why she did it. It's just the latest in a long line of pointless, petty lies (which the marvellous @smartie999 says I need to refer to as "fibs" so they hurt me less). She never gains anything from not telling the truth. It's practically the only thing I get really aerated about.

So why do it? And why, when you know you'll get into trouble, KEEP ON doing it?

Lovely @andromedababe says all mothers cry over their children sometimes, and I know she's right. I'm just so unprepared for all of this. So unprepared and so unready. Why can't she just stay as the darling, honest, funny, beautiful, fabulous child I know and love. I still love her just as much, I'm just not ready to let go of her childhood. She's only 10..... Surely it never started this early before?

I'm so glad L is still young enough to need my magic kisses.

(ps: Thank you to all my wonderful Twitter friends who offered support and understanding today while I flailed around wildly. I appreciate your input more than you know. xx @moonflowerchild @dottyfinlow @grayhamjam @sirblimelywindy @katebielby @ellaboheme @mandsywoo @ariadnes_web @deililly @smiliemommy @mariam_kobras @look_mama @titianred @joanneh234 @washmysocks @ozgirlnc @mr_geoff @porridgebrain @riggerthegeek @voiceovergirl )

Monday 26 March 2012


I had a day off today. It was sunny and warm and I was looking forward to spending the day in the garden.

Of course, the neighbours decided that today was therefore the perfect day to finally start mending the fence which blew down in the storm FOUR FECKING MONTHS AGO.


And then the cement mixer started up.

That was enough. HairyGodlessDaughter was fresh out of hospital and recovering from her recent bout of meningitis by sitting on my sofa scoffing biscuits with her mum (NeatFreakFriend); lovely SingleGirl neighbour on the other side was in a foul mood and needed distracting - so off we went. To the SEASIDE.

I love the seaside. I love it during the winter months right up until the time the summer season starts and you can't walk dogs along the shoreline. Then I hate it. All squawking families, gritty sandwiches and shouting Dads.

Today there were very few squawkers or shouters, and no one pressed a sandwich on me. Instead HGD, Dawg and I paddled and collected shells from the sand while SingleGirl and NFF sashayed along the prom in the sunshine. They caused much more mayhem than we did, traffic slowed so men could shout at them from vans, an elderly gentleman told them they'd reminded him to take his blood pressure medicine, and a lady propositioned SG as she was coming out of Marks and Spencers.

We stuck to shells, sand and barking at the sea.

It was aces. Roll on summer.

Sunday 25 March 2012


It was beautiful today. I thought you'd prefer pictures to words:

Happy Sunday!

Monday 19 March 2012


Yesterday, I wandered lonely as a cloud........

When all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils....

And then there was ALL OF THIS BEAUTY:

I'm all beautied out for today. Are you?

(With thanks to William and Dorothy Wordsworth for the inspiration)