Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Plant update #2

Bad news and good news.

Bad news is that of the 3 basil plants only one is grimly hanging in there and it only has 2 leaves. I think it may shortly be going gently into that good night.

Good news is that the rosemary is thriving and I even used it to cook last night.

The even better news is that the small pot of dead leaves that Eve picked is going from strength to strength. It has new leaves, is growing and positively thriving.

Playground darling

I have been a bit miffed lately because my previous playground boyfriend (he of the being very impressed by my basketball skills) has been neglecting me a bit lately. In fact, he has barely said hello for quite a few weeks. So, imagine my surprise and delight today when he came over to Eve and I while we were playing hopscotch (well, jumping on the hopscotch outlines) and threw his boomerang at me. Now I am no expert in nine year old boys, but I think that is as close to a declaration of love as you can get.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Plant update

All are still alive one week on. The basil is looking a bit weedy and the small tub of dead leaves is suffering a bit from too much love (i.e. water from Eve) but also seems to be alive.

I wouldn't make any bets on any of them lasting another week though. I know my green fingers of death far too well to make that assumption.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear so & so, HK version

Inspired by Fraught Mummy, and after my own rather strange week, here are my postcards from the edge.

Dear husband

I know that you have a busy and important job, but did you really have to spend the whole of the month away leaving me to deal with starting a new job, 4 weeks of bloody hard rowing training and a toddler to get up, get out and put to bed on my own each day? You may have noticed that our phone calls about what a brilliant time you are having in various overseas locations are getting shorter and shorter.

Yours, tired and feeling a bit stressed.

PS. And it had to be this week that the bloody car decided to break down didn't it.

Dear security guard at the library

Toddlers make noise. Especially when they are a bit tired and it is near lunchtime. Looking sternly at me and following us around is actually worse than your colleague who asked me to leave last time. If you didn't want children to make noise while their parents check out the books then you shouldn't have such a brilliant children's section (for which I am very grateful).

Yours, the mother of a normal child


Dear HK bus authorities

I know the reason you have so many buses is because the more you run the more money you are allowed to make, but wouldn't it make sense to put the stops for all the buses that go to the same place in roughly similar locations? I don't understand why I have to walk 200m to two different bus stops to get two buses that run to the same place and are operated by the same company.

Please explain.

Yours, a bit tired and hot


Dear darling daughter

When Mummy tells you things, it helps if you do them. Like not trying to eat your shoes after taking them off in the taxi, or pulling at the door handle in the taxi while we are moving, or having a screaming fit in the middle of the library because I wanted to check out the books so we could read them at home. There was a reason why you didn't get your beloved pizza for lunch and we came home instead, but I am not sure you have quite made the link.

Yours, loving but fraught mummy


Dear NOW broadband

Thank you so very, very much for giving us the full package of BBC channels without charging us for them. I don't know how or why you chose to do that a few weeks ago but Cbeebies has changed my life.

Yours, joining the ranks of mothers who realise that TV is an excellent babysitter and that you can get over the guilt quite easily when you need time to take a shower

Friday, October 2, 2009

Green fingers

As part of the Mummy-Daughter bonding on the National Day public holiday, in the afternoon I decided to take Eve to Mongkok to go to the flower market. I love Mongkok, it is everything about big cities that I love and it is distinctly Hong Kong. It is a connurbation of roads, markets, shops, street food stalls but all rather down at heel. A couple of years ago the powers that be built a plush shopping centre to try to lift the area up a notch or two, but it failed, and it is still the dirty, busy, messy place I love. At weekends, and public holidays, it is heaving with people. What a perfect idea with a toddler in tow!

We had a lot of fun. We went to the street with all the fish stalls and saw a few too many endangered species for sale for me to feel comfortable. We went to the bird park and market, saw the old men taking their birds out for a walk, ate our supper of ham-filled Chinese buns and looked at a few more endangered species.

Our final stop was the flower market. The flower market is lovely, just over a street full of shops and stalls selling stunning flowers at ridiculous prices, as well as all manner of plants and even the odd ornamental cabbage - something I have wanted since I first saw them in Japan 6 years ago but have never got over the sheer impracticality of them enough to buy one. I needed basil and rosemary, having killed off the last ones we had, and I told Eve she could pick her own plant to buy and look after. I tried to steer her towards by favourites, the plants with the sensitive leaves that fold when you touch them. Or a bonsai (so pretty), or something with flowers. Eve eventually stopped next to a rather non-descript box of small plants on the floor and pointed at what looked like a collection of half-dead leaves. "Dat" the shouted. "Darling, are you sure you want that one? What about the one over there with flowers?". She looked more sternly at me. "Dat" she insisted a little more firmly and grabbed the leaves.

Eve insisted on carrying it all the way home, on the train, while I carried her, a bag and a few other plants on a very busy MTR. That particular trauma is a whole other post on its own.

So, we are now the proud owner of one of the most bland little plants I have ever seen. Of course the pot was far too small so I have now spent more than the plant cost on new pot and soil. It had better live for a while.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Early bird

When I was growing up I used to get really, really annoyed with my parents' obsession with getting to everything exactly as it opened to "avoid the crowds". This meant we always ended up getting up really early and I admit I used to get pretty grumpy about it. I added it to my mental lists of things I wouldn't do as a parent. Oh no, not me sir.

We have annual membership to a brilliant theme park called Ocean Park. It is only 10 minutes drive from where we live, it is brilliant with an amazing aquarium and cable car and adorable giant pandas along with many more things Eve loves. It is also hugely popular, even more so than HK Disneyland. I love going.

Today is National Day, a huge public holiday here and on the mainland. Lots and lots of people were likely to head to Ocean Park today, tends of thousands in fact. When I told a colleague yesterday that I was planning to go he merely laughed and said I was a brave woman.

So at 9.20am this morning, ten whole minutes before it opened, Eve and I sat outside the (closed) entrance. Not just any entrance, but the back entrance which is less busy and closer to the aquarium, Eve's favourite bit. I am proud to say that we were the first people in, the only people even in the aquarium so she could get lots of lovely close up views of the sharks and rays and seahorses. No problem at all getting onto the cable car. Eve stood behind a little glass partition about 2 metres away from the panda (and happily told everyone else to "shush" because the panda was sleeping), we stood there for ages because so few people were there and nobody moved us on . In fact it was a rather pleasant experience and we were done and out within 3 hours.

So, Mum and Dad, you were absolutely right - as always.


Not that our daughter is the product of competitive parents, but her latest fun game is to shout "ready, set, go" and then run like fury across the room/playground/hallway and then shout "first" when she wins or "mummy first" if I do. She has also taken to saying it over and over again at traffic lights until they go green.

Nothing else to say, it is just very, very cute.