Category: Travelling

We Want Our Alaric Back! (by )

So yesterday Mary tried to bite me - she pulled the bite at the last minute so basically did that thing dogs do when they lay their teeth on your arm and give a warning pressure. She was in full melt down - the issue - we weren't going over the bridge on the way home. She had already pinched Jean hard enough to leave a mark and so had not had her promised ice cream.

I was pretty tired by this point I ended up giving Jean the bags and piggy backing Mary the rest of the way home after she broke down in tears. Daddy has left - I keep explaining he is coming back and she is excited he might bring her a present but in truth she just wants him back.

I've been getting worse and worse as the week has progressed with remembering what needs to be wear. I forgot PE kit and had to do a lightning dash change for Funky Thursday. Mary drew on herself in felt pen yesterday morning and again this morning. But they've been fed and kept clean and had lots of hugs and the same goes for the cats and chickens.

Once home yesterday Mary was still in melt down and threw all my paper work off the desk onto the floor and then broke her heart in sobs saying no one liked her. Someone she wants to be friends with at school doesn't want to be friends (for now) and she thought I'd hate her as she tried to bite me. I explained I love her - I said I wasn't happy with her when she tried to bite me but that I still loved her.

She settled down to sleep and wasn't too bad this morning once she worked out Daddy is coming home but both girls are frustrated with me. I couldn't even say goodbye properly this morning it kept coming out as goodnight - and speech got to the point last night where they were struggling to understand what I was saying. (This is what happens if I don't take all the breaks and things I need due to the head injury)

On the whole I think we've managed ok, last night was always going to be the most taxing part as it was the latest night with the most walking etc... And I think speech starting to go on day four is pretty awesome actually and Al left me and Jean with numbers to call if we got really stuck.

I thought the freezer was broken but it appears to be more about Jean putting her water bottle in the top and the freezer not shutting properly and I remembered that the heater in the attic is actually an aircon unit got during my pregnancy with Jean. So me and Jean sorted that out and that improved Mary's temperament no end!

We went out and watched the starlings begin to flock and that cheered us all up.

Al is currently on a plane - hoping to see him tonight!

The Journey (by )

Mary entertained on the train with a fidget spinner

The weekend was complicated - we were down in London visiting family and Alaric was due to fly to the US meaning me and the girls would be heading back on the train - everything was pre-booked.

It was an early start which included Dad cooking pizzas for me and the girls to take on the train and having made us bottles of water in the freezer etc...

Al saying goodbye involved lots of hugs and snugs and in truth we weren't far behind him in leaving the house. Dad gave us a lift to Upminster Station - I had thought the Fenchurch Street Line did not run at the weekend but it did and we would have been in plenty of time for it... if I hadn't had to get Jean a ticket for the underground and the queue was pretty extensive!

The next wasn't for ages so we bought some crisps and drinks for our high adventure and went and sat on a District Line Train. We ate pizza that was still hot and due to a chance question by Mary on Gidea Park we ended up deep in the throws of family history which took us pretty much all the way through to zone one!

Now I had been in London on Wednesday and Thursday - I knew the train lines were broken but what with the head injury and things I just kind of forgot (not about the fire but just about trains). I hadn't even registered that the train was only going to South Ken. meaning we ended up at South Ken with me and Jean trying to work things out... back on the district line we went to Embankment were on the way in Mary had asked why everyone was getting off :/

Mary was beginning to get restless - we'd eaten our lunch and the trains were getting more packed so I told her a story - How Mary Became the Gap Toothed Monster! There was giggling and fluroshes added by her toothlessness herself.

I was a bit stressed - I was already struggling with understanding the tannoy and being able to read the signs and Jean was trying her best but just doesn't know the system - between the two of us we managed to get on the Bakerloo Line - all three of us sat on two seats - many were standing because it's the underground. It was hot and airless and Mary began to fret - we put the drinking water on her head and assured her there would be ice cream at some point in the journey.

Oh yeah on the District Line she'd broken out in uber energy and shimmied up the hold on to pole. Fidget Spinner was for the win for getting her to sit down - Jean tried to scare her into sitting by saying trains crash - I snapped at Jean because when you are on the train you don't really want to think about that or at least at that point I didn't.

And the train stopped in the tunnel, the District Line had done this lots too. Mary was excited that we were actually underground. We got into Paddington with 20 mins until our "big train" so we bought ice creams - I couldn't work out the self serve till - I couldn't work out which ticket got us through the barrier - I did get coffee.

I am paranoid about travel so had given myself an extra almost 2 hrs to get across London - good job really!

We found our seats, terfing the poor welsh dude who fortunately got another seat - the train had people packed in the vestibles which made me feel bad when I had to ask them all to move so I could go a loo! But I had been on packed trains for several hours at this point.

The girls ate their ice creams, we had little chats with the welsh guys and the guy next to us offered to lend Jean a charging cable for her phone which was lovely even though we declined.

This is my fidget spinner:

Mystic Flower Fidget Spinner

It kept Mary quiet long enough for me to reset my brain a bit though her and Jean fought over who was going to get to play with it and Jean dismantled it which grumped me!

I love the fidget spinner - Alaric bought it for me - it is a beautiful thing.

We then played the Story Telling Game - were we each say a bit of the story and pass it on - Jean tries to pull the story into scifi and Mary always adds magic and fairies and I have to thread it into something coherant - they often take unexpected twists and Mary really enjoys telling them DRAMATICALLY!

And she had an audience.

We got through to Swindon on origami - Mary loves origami so spends ages folding her own shapes (which she then tries to teach you how to fold!) and I had also made some little modules she can fit together to make bigger structures including a snake 🙂

I was pleased with myself as I managed to fold a tetrahedron or three sided pyramid - I am working on modular origami at the moment as I wish to use it in various workshops.

Pyramid Origami

And then we were at Swindon... were there were no connecting trains :/ There had been nothing about this at Paddignton - as none of the other passengers knew anything about it either! The poor station lady had to explain over and over again the two ways we could all get to Gloucester, Stonehouse etc... depending on where we were going. It would be faster to go to Bristol and get a train back from there - we opted for the bus/coach because it was half an hour till the next train and I wasn't sure I could cope with more changes and platforms and I don't have good previous with getting back from Bristol when tired etc... having found myself heading "up north" on several occassions and the notable time I ended up in Wales.

A fellow passenger - a lady who spoke very little English made sure I knew which bus to get on with the children which was lovely.

There was aircon on the coach - we blasted ourselves with it and ate nibbles... and got stuck in traffic and Mary had a melt down arching her back and thudding into the seat. I managed to calm her down though she wasn't really quiet at all for this journey until she flopped her head on me and dozed a bit. To be fair by this point of the journey I kind of wanted to join her and Jean had retreated into her iPad.

The walk home was hot - there was more water poured on heads and Mary had her second melt down when she realised we were walking home via the "stone bridge" as she just did not want to go that way. She was throwing a massive wobble shouting and flouncing and then I said "do you need a hug" and she nodded and climbed up me for a hug and... burst into tears... she wanted her daddy back.

We all walked together - Jean had been going to go on a head but a) realised she had a "kids" rucksack on and b) felt Mary needed big sis to hold her hand. We bought second ice cream from the corner shop and were home.

The Jan Recap… (by )

It's the end of January so what has gone on in the household snell-pym in the first month of 2017?

For a start there was the end of Christmas, I am still making the last few Advent vids ready for Christmas next year. We delivered presents though sadly not all the presents so we still have a back log!

Also mine and Mary's birthdays - mine involved a coffee, meal and shopping with Al before hospital stuff but we have only just done the proper celebration with kids and friends this weekend just gone which was also Mary's birthday. There was also posh vegan/Gluten Free brunch. Mary has so far played in the Waterstones cafe with her friend Lilly as her party is going to be in two weeks time. We've planned the party and got stuff ready for it.

This includes me working out how to make upcycled unicorn head bands and tail belts and little roll and pop up horses for the kids to make.

My mother was hospitalised so there was a trip to Essex and the adventures of getting home on the train which were unexpected.

DIY wise we have fixed several toys, remounted a coat rack which had pulled off the wall, dealt with networking and upgrading Jean's computer.

We got a telescope - an amazing thing which was a pool of Christmas money instead of presents for Al and Jean and part of mine and Mary's birthdays. We've seen binary stars so far. It was an undertaking to assemble and we now need to build a storage/transport box but it is assembled and being looked through though we've only had like three clear nights!

I've had three lots of testing at the hospital which took it's toll and norovirus hit the household. I missed a theatre meeting about performing a monologue and a poetry recording evening but I am being given second chances at those so that's all good.

I also missed my Krav self defence one off class and a poetry book launch which made me sad but on the other hand I was live streamed reading poetry at Food For Thought.

Talking of poetry I have also been typing up and editing poems from the BOOKCASE (Not shelf) of notebooks I have. The shear number is insane obv. not all of it is usable but a lot is so I have been organising Turquoise Monster and have even started submitting work again (as in 2 poems so far). I've written three poems this month predictable all about Trump. Of course I am doing my poetry writing challenges so I've drafted a good few more mostly not about Trump.

Jan has also been me gearing up for the poetry writing challenge that I host over at Wopo.

I have also designed, refined and created mini poetry scrolls, story scrolls, made bookwallets etc... for blank scrolls for others to write poetry on, personalised pencils and made write your own poem kits, made and put together 100 mini zine surprise pouches, story boarded two more zines, drafted half a short story, edited a couple of flash fictions, tried to write daily on this blog and started on the mammoth task of trying to sort out the Salaric Craft blog.

Also Storystorm - what used to be Picture Book Idea Month has rebranded and moved to Jan. so I have been idea generating and expanding on those ideas for kids books.

Alaric has been making a cufflink holder for the cufflinks I made him for Advent, the girls have been making invites and decorations for Mary's party and we have all been working on the cosplay outfits for True Believers Comic Festival which is this weekend coming. This has involved sewing, sticking, painting, metal twisting, papier mache and buying new wellys.

I had to get a third print run of my colouring book Love: A Stranger Dream made and in general have been trying to sort out The WigglyPets Press.

I have been teaching myself origami and have folded lit. hundreds of things from geometric modules to make bigger things from to little stand up foxes to pretty little boxes.

We've organised things for getting back down the allotment, so just sorting out containers for soil etc...

I've knitted four hats, made an Ironman craft kit, taken the kids to two (not us) birthday parties. Three projects are still currently being designed and refined including mending a rocking horse that is older than me. I accidently made a pair of slippers from an old coat whilst trying to make a portal gun (please tell me this happens to other people!).

Alaric made my laptop usable again (for now) and we had a chicken fatality 🙁 and we had to fix the chicken run and stuff and general animal stuff to sort out. We've got our new electric car and there was pie making!

NB pie was not chicken Al is veggi!

Jean is still at Scouts, Jujitsu, and Drama and Mary is doing her Ballet, both girls are missing climbing but for one of the parties we did get to go "caving". Alaric is still doing Krav and Hackspace each week. Oh and of course we had to do my tax (sobs!).

There were also visits from and too various family.

So that was January - it snowed and it rained and there was scary fog.

Happy New Year 2017 (by )

New Years Resolutions and Goal Setting Jar

The new day dawned on the new year and we were all still snoozing in our nests of clean bedding. We'd changed the lining so we would have clean sheets for the new year - symbolic.

We had a lovely night last night with wish stars and fire and The Rats of Nim, and there are photos which I hope to get around to sharing.

Today we got up at 12, lunch time. And made our resolution and goal setting jar. We burnt our wishes last night so that they could fly free (plus I can never shake the idea that burnt things go to heaven - this idea got lodged in my head at 7 yrs of age when my nan died and was cremated I would make her things and cut them up and burn them so they could go up to heaven for her - I got very distressed when I realised a lot of rubbish got burnt!).

We each picked a colour and then cut A4 paper in that colour into 8 (some of us used more than one sheet some of us less), we wrote the resolutions and how we are planning to carry them out, we wrote goals and little action plans, Mary mostly drew hers. We then rolled them up, popped a loom band round and dropped them in the jar. Some of them we shared and some we didn't, for ones that are secret "Don't Read" was placed as a label on the rolled up scroll.

There are extra sheets in the four different colours plus a little bag containing pencils and loom bands in the top of the jar. The jar is huge and once contained stuffed olives - it still smells vaguely of garlic but that is being seen as a feature. We plan to keep the jar highly visable so as not to forget and to help keep the pace up and also we aim to review the contence at the equinoxes and solstices and any other time we think it appropriate. Again this is to keep momentum up.

Mary saw me knock a leek down that was waiting for composting as we ended up with ALOT of leeks this year. This lead to a humourous half hour of word play about me leaking on the floor and at one point calling Jean down from upstairs to help clean up Mary's leeks as she'd leaked all over the downstairs of the house 🙂

The Leeks of Summoning

Jean rolled her eyes and then giggled and then proceeded the Leek Summoning or nest building as the demi-deamond Mookie Moo (Mary) called the leek construction. I pointed out to Alaric that they had gotten lots of things for Christmas and what was it they were playing with? Shrivelled up leeks. There were arguments over how many sides there should be, Jean said 5 Mary said 6 we pointed out that traditionally it is 7 or on the discworld 8. Like all good kids they ignored us and continued with their game which was actually two separate games but hey they were playing co-opratively with each other - something both of them had put down as a resolution.

Mary in her nest of leeks

Then we went off to the cinema to watch Newt Scaramanga unleash havoc on New York - Mary cried when we said we were going to the cinema to watch a Harry Potter movie, she wanted to watch Frozen there if we had to go and why couldn't we watch it at home? She cheered up once she found it was not one of the films we had at home even though we had explained that multiple times on route!

Me and Jean are of the opinion that Newt looks like Matt Smith if he'd been turned into a shop manikin and then back into a human - weirdly melted.

I have no idea what happened in the fight scenes as I had to hide from them but yeah no slurred speech just slightly tingly arms and a bit of virtigo! 🙂

There were tears today - mine as I feel short changed by the universe and also like I have no right to feel like that... I was ill and stuff as a kid with blood transfusions and walking aids and hearing and speech issues etc... but I thought I'd grown out of it, I thought I'd grow up big and strong and then I was grown up and I tried to do the stuff you need to be big and strong to do.... I failed. Alaric asked me what I'd invisioned myself doing as a grown up and so I told him... climbing mountians, deep sea diving, exploring... maybe even going to space.

I find it hard to let go of dreams. I wanted to find new things and explore. He says you can do this without physically going and picking up rocks, I say I know I tried that but the physical location of labs in some institutions meant I couldn't get into them or it was exhusting to do so and it was still the consolation prize and I still failed at it. He reckons there is new stuff everywhere to find, I'm having trouble seeing that - I said the closest I get these days in writing my novels, notice the mary-sues or janes or what ever they are called of sick people designing exo-skeletons or waldos or other to get around physical issues???

And having said all this I am probably the fittest and healthiest I have ever been bar my brain not working properly... oh the irony it's always something...

And I am lucky, I am alive, I have explored things, this summer I got to go to South Africa, I got to see whales, I've always wanted to see whales!!! I got to read the landscape and talk to people who helped end apartied, I got to see the southern hemi-sphere for the second time in my life. That is amazing, that is more than most of the earths population, I have a big house and kids in amazing schools, I have a hubby who doesn't hate me for keep getting ill or sick or injuried. Who is my best friend.

I have friends, friends who have not abandoned me when my brilliance of mind was dulled, friends who did not run away though none of us can be there always because we all have lives and that is a two way street, a cyclic thing, they helped when they could, and we have done the same, we've stopped each other from drowning.

So I am a ball of confused emotions, the more better I get from the head injury the more frustrating I am finding the issues it has left me with but I am also amazed at what I have.

Maybe next year my Christmas can be filled with sparkling lights again - I miss them but if I can't have them then I can do what we've done this year and just ask people to visit us and have events here.

After a year of multiple redundencies Alaric has a good job and we are even looking at getting a car!

Life is good, our plans are solid, we are almost where we thought we'd be 10 yrs ago 🙂

The coming year will be full of creating and making and videos of much of it as they are easier than big junks of writing at the moment and serve almost the same purpose!

Also Salaric Craft and How To blogs have just had their tenth Christmas so you will be seeing a lot of stuff to do with that, and the Wiggly Pets blog was set up in the summer of 2007 so prepare for more zines and photo stories and the like!

I like acting - I know I've come to this conclusion late in the day but I did an advert and the Fright House stuff, in 2015 I did a music vid and docu-drama. I'm not sure how to get more of this sort of stuff but I will be looking!

Alaric needs to get time to work on his projects - he has stuff that humanity needs... most of his time "off" ie redundent got taken up with infrastructure stuff in the house/server migration.

2017 here we come!

Apparently there will be stargazing and photography 🙂

The Rock Pools (by )

(Back blogged due to server migration issues)

Rock pool

On the last day beach outing in South Africa we came across the rock pools with many and varied creatures, some bright and some not so bright.

Clam Anenome fish

There were anenomes, barnicals, fish, clams, many bright shells and so on. Though some where deeper than others and all had fresh (though sea salty) water washing over them as we stood there watching. Some were deeper than others.

Algea and sea weed

Mary was most taken with the red anenome 🙂

Red Anenome

I liked the fact that the ripples in the sea water cast little rainbows even over the more subtly coloured creatures like this clam.

Clam South Africa

And as promised here are the fish 🙂 or some of the fish anyway 🙂

Fish South Africa

I probably would not have found the rock pools if Lionel had not pointed them out as they are sunk into fractures in the rocks which are slippery with algea. They were worth the slipping risk!

Finding the rockpools

The girls loved the rockpools

Finding Rockpools

Alaric spent ages with them looking in their wibbly wobbly depths 🙂

Looking in the rock pools

I just loved how you could see a whole little ecosystem there contained in a cradle of rock 🙂 It made me miss Ewan Laurie lessons and paleobiology and being shown byssal threads on field trips 🙂 I may have board the kids with all this along with dentition and muscle scars on shells which apparently I tell them everytime we are at a beach (oops!).

Rockpool South Africa

We actually came home with a book on the oceanic life in South Africa and I will attempt to look up some of what we saw. It also made me determined to do more with the poems and stories I've written about rock pools in the past 🙂

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