A Belated Fathers Day (by )

The finished Rocket

Becuase Jean had her friend around yesturday we organised to have Father's Day today as a suprise for Al (only slightly blown to bits by me obviously baking and Jean asking Daddy was she still going to decorate cakes with me!).

Daddy put Jean's hair up

So we made a cake - its suposed to be a rocket but didn't quiet come out as planned - I think either I'm going nuts or the cooker is calibrated wrong - I insinerated my dinner the other night and even though I tribble checked the times for things managed to burn the cake and then forget to leave it too cool before turning it out onto the cooling racks :/


I also failed to make enough icing and made a hash of putting it on the cake anyway. Jean chose the colours so yes there is a lot of pink for a fathers day rocket and yes those are little pink hearts!

Jean and Daddy with Cake Jean presenting the cake

But we had fun making it 🙂

Jean is helping

Jean also gave Daddy his card and presant she had made at pre-school.

Daddy opening his card and presant Jean giving Daddy his card

Unfortunatly Al is in trouble with Barbara for not mowing the lawn this evening :/ And I mucked up her watering system which she told me to use earlier this evening.

But I think Alaric liked his cake - there are a lot of little fairy cakes Jean decorated too!

Rocket Cake

How I made the cake will hopefully soon appear on Salaric Cooking though I think it probably belongs on Cake Wreck to be honest!

Best Friends (by )

For months now Jean has always gone on about the same best friend at pre-school and has been non-stop asking if she can have her round to play so I made a little card saying friends on it showing a cluster of cartoon animals and left it at the pre-school for Eves mummy.

We didn't hear anything for a while and I felt sad that Jean wasn't getting to have her friends round but then it turned out mum had just been very busy and we arrange for the girls to play today.

They turned up - little brother in tow and though both girls were initially shy they soon wizzed off to Jeans room where they proceeded to make braclets and empty out every single toy onto the floor!

They played with the dressing up cloths that Jean never normally touches though they are there in a draw under her bed! And they run about the garden including the prickly jungle which is a new look for the path along the stream where Barbara has planted grass in the fire pit so that it is a little secret den for Jean to play in.

They played on her slide and in the little wendy house and went through the tunnel and put things in the trailor on the trike. The little toddler played with rolly dinosuar and hello puppy and the rocking horse and kept making a bee-line for the water fall!

Eve's mum thought Jean's room was fantastic which cheered me up as I had only had negative responses to it - ie its too full of toys and does it really need to be so sparkly?

They loved the garden and the Mill and chatted with Barbara about things - Muareen and her friend Mary turned up before Barbara did for tea and cakes as Barbara had managed to double book herself for part of today! This cuased a little bit of confussion at first.

The girls pretty much kept themselves entertained and we chatted with the perants - this was lots of fun for us as well and might even result in me and Jean going swimming Friday afternoons!

It was interesting that the girls kept each other entertained making Jean far easier to look after than normal - the only down side is that they decided to run themselves a bath - something neither child would have done on their own but somehow together...

I did have appaplexy just before they came over as I discovered that a cat had weed in the corner under the cabinet and so there was a frantic clearing of books and chunks of amythist and a hasty mopping of the area etc...

I was glad it didn't rain heavily and that they went outside for a lot of the time but here is the twitter poem I wrote just before they arrived:

And so the day begins

the weather looks like - rain, it brings

when out side play

should be the activity of the day

children run about the house

wish they'd be quiet like a mouse

but they will not

And loud shouts abound

that glorious joyous childhood sound

I read it to Jean who then asked, 'is that about me and Eve?'

I said, 'Yes of course it is who else would the poem be about?'

At which point I felt I was in a Winni the Pooh story :/

The Saga of the Flat Tyre (by )

Yesturday Barbara was getting ready to go out and as always she went to drive Madge - her canary yellow MG convertable round to the front of the house in to await when she was ready. Jean loves to rid in the car for these little manoovers and so it was that I was sitting there working on a book review at the table in the garden when I notice that her rear wheel was - erm as flat as a pancake.

I call to her and she looks and is startled and then confused that she hadn't felt that it was flat.

Anyway (stupidly in hindsight) I wandered off to check the washing on the line and to put some more up in the workshop on the drying rack.

When I come back Jean is standing up in the car whilst Barbara jacks it up on on of those little tiny jacks that looks like two metal brackets bolted together. Jean is playing with the wheel nuts and is absolutely covered in grease.

I tentively ask if I should remove Jean from the vechile Barbara says no it wont make any difference and continues to jack up the car on a slope. I look at the set up and its shifting!

Barbara hasn't noticed and I'm shouting and pulling her away - I have no idea if she was already moving or anything like that. The car smashed down with a wide eyed Jean in it.

'That bumped me mummy' yes and thank god she hadn't been leaning over the side as she had been a few moments earlier when I came upon the scene.

The car was now sitting on its wheel hub 🙁

I removed Jean and took her to wash the grease off her hands - thinking of how I should have seen what was coming. We came back and Barbara had rejacked the car up and Jean tried to run over to the car as she wanted to go back in it and I grabbed her fearing the car would come back off of the Jack. Jean thought I was being very mean and got very grumpy with me.

But the car did slip again - the searing pressure on the jack just too much - this time it landed on the spare wheel.

Barabara then got another jack out of the garage and started jacking it up again - fearing that she was going to squash herself I stayed in the garden trying to occupy Jean in the 'jungle' so she wouldn't go near the car.

I went back to check just as the car slipped off of both Jacks - Barbara got a third out and Begain again. I was worried by this point - I'm sure that with jacking cars there are only certain places on the chassi that you can put them without twisting the car making it dangerous too drive.

Plus I knew she would just carry on until she either succeeded or something catastrophic happened 🙁

I couldn't offer to change the tyre for her a) its too physical for me to contemplate at this point in time, b) who would keep Jean away from the car? c) I would never ever risk a car jacked with one of those jacks on flat ground let alone a slop. I grew up playing with jacks and the ones Barbara has really are not safe at the best of times 🙁

Anyway she then asked me to keep an eye on the wheel and the bolt bits on the hub - so I stood on the bank with a fierce grip on Jean praying that Barbara wasn't going to get hurt and panickig everytime she put her arm between the wheel and the car - my mind couldn't help but think - if the car falls off now she'll loose her arm etc...

All I can do in these situations is voice my concern.

Barbara thought I was being silly not letting Jean near the car as she would have been fine inside it. (not if it then squashed Barbara she wouldn't have been - Jean loves Barbara and that would be a bad bad thing to happen and yes I am probably being a really paranoid mummy again.)

Anyway - she got the wheel back on and then went of to Gloucester in one piece and came back ok too which was a relief.

Life Fail (by )

For too many years now, it's seemed like we've being dragged from situation to situation, at the whim of events rather than steering our own course...

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Rebooting Me (by )

So I have done what the Dr suggested and then thanks to responses to my other posts i.e. this one, this one and this one have no reached a situation were I can again see a future for me.

One; that involves me going with the flow of my life and not fighting against things so much. Saying - yeah ok I do actually need to do 3-4 hours of physio during the day and long hot baths to keep things under control with my back. And this goes with the science and business stuff too.

For a long time I have supressed, ignored or ridiculed my artistic self - just stuff to entertain Jean or just a way of being able to afford gifts for people. I had to choose between art and science at A'levels though I kept a toe hold with the creative writing short course.

I chose science - I chose A'levels when I could have been off to St Martins to do a Foundation course - I do and don't regret this decission. At the end of the day I have a 2:1 from Imperial College and I worked hard to get it and learnt skills that have fed into many other areas of my life. I don't think I can even be pure art in the same why I could never be a pure scientist am both.

This is my issue - I love geology and rocks and people who understand what I'm talking about if I start spouting geology terms.

And I have been assessing what I actually want out of science - what is my altermate goal?

I realised in the autum that I want to communicate science - I want to build bridges - I am not a lab monkey. But I didn't realise lab monkeys existed until I tried to go back to science. I found that during my course I loved the lectures and I adored writing the two essays on science subjects I hadn't seen before and joining it all together, pooling the knowledge that was spread out amoungst all those journals all those papers - seeing connections that others had not noticed - suggesting things to try from other branches of my knowlegde for ecology stuff and so on.

I want to write popular science and show kids that science is fun. I want to learn new things and make links that might well be lost. In a Stephen Lawhead book (can't remember what it was called but it involved Hindu gods, dreaming and Mars) they actually had a position in academia called a Bridge - a person whos job was to know a little bit about everything - to talk to people and see where the needs were and have the ability to see what connections between subjects or people needed to be made.

This is sort of I supposes Holistic stuff for science and society - looking at how it all fits together - if you are focused on one area you can't see that the answer you need is over there in the humanities departement.

I have a depressing tale where this would have been a very valuable person to have around.

At an EANA conference just before Jean came into the picture (I wont say she wasnt there becuase she was! Just!) I heard the sad tale of money time and effort and we are talking alot of money and lot of time (years) that some people spent on designing a special drill for sample return missions.

When the person I was talking too looked at what they had done he noticed that they had from first principles designed exactly the sort of thing the oil industry has been using for decades. How could this have happened?

The research group where all physists - they didn't even think to look at the mining and oil industries - it didn't occure to them that those industries had to take samples under hard conditions.

Academia at least is getting a bit better with this but only becuase inderviduals have decided to have lateral careers - ie they move from Chemistry to Physics or from Medicine to Geology and so one.

I ask myself why do I want a PhD and they answer seems to be - so that people will actually take my science writing seriously. But to do a PhD you have to be passionate about one topic, or slice of topic and be focused on that alone for 3-4 yrs. Now I still want a PhD to have tasted the science world beyound where I am now but I can't cope with doing it part time whilst trying to do everything else so I think it is going to have to wait until I am older and yes this means I am probably giving up the shining career I have gilmpsed from time to time, for the family life but hey what else am I going to do with my retirement 😉

In the mean time there is the webstuff, my blogs and art I can do in my own time at home - hopefully moving forward.

Art and writing is not just something I do to fill the time - and so I am awaiting a book of free poems becuase I happen to be one of the poets and I am going to send off more - now that I have started to have things accepted - its taken me what? 3 years from when I started submitting to things again - I have to confess I got disheartened and tend to do rashes of sending stuff off!

If I can raise the money I may go for the Craftsmen Guild - they get your stuff displayed and only demand you steward a few exhibates for a few days a year - I think I could handle that - but there would be prep work so its a maybe at the mo - I would have to get a portfolio of crafts stuff put together which would take some time I think. Plus I would like to get the dragon case mod finished before I start down that sort of root.

The writing is still all ticking away there and will continue to do so - but where does this leave the science and my course?

I'm not sure if college will agree to this but I want to drop down to the one year course and get a diplomer in reseach and so that at some point in the future I can go for a full time PhD (way in the future this is at the moment).

I want to do my pacing (part of the pain management) with 1/2 of sitting down doing computer stuff ie writing or websites and 1/2 up and at them with sorting the house and Jean out etc...

This has been working well the last few weeks though obviously pacing is far harder to actually do with Jean about.

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