Kate Crofts' Blog

Over a year since I last blogged!?

10 Aug 2006

...thatís terrible, but explicable. Iíve been seconded to a very busy job as a Data Manager plus there has been lots going on personally, ranging from building work to death (unconnected) as well as car crashes and hospitalizations (also unconnected from each other or the former).

Family News

Big news for the kids has been that Oscar has learnt to talk and is now a very cute blonde who attends weekly football classes whilst Phoebe got her 25metres swimming badge at just 3 and a half years old and is now 4 and very much looking forwards to starting school in January 2007.


All 7 (yes 7) organizations for whom I currently work are being reorganized, which means as my secondment draws to a close I am at yet another life crossroads. I have no idea what roles I will be offered or will accept in the coming months, and as yet Iím unsure of what Iíd accept were it offered! Ideologically Iím very tempted to be a stay at home mums, but practically and financially it isnít that simple (nor fair on Phil).

The upheavals in the household of late have also meant that Iíve not made it to the gym as often as Iíd like so Iím not at my fittest which isnít helping though processes.

Comment on Current Affairs

Today on the news talk is all about intercepted terrorist attacks and troubles in Lebanon. This evokes a myriad of emotions for me but the two at the forefront are a). do I really want to go back to working in London during these times? And b) concern for my dear Lebanese friend who lives near me but whose family is all in Beirut.

Technology (The website)

Yes, I know the pictures are several months (years?) out of date and yes, I know there are typos everywhere and links that need deleting or updatingÖ I donít have sufficient admin rights to do this and need to nag Phil to sort it all. Now sheís sorted the broadband, phone and TV providers out (at length) Iíll set him on it as soon as I get he chance.

I think thatíll do for today, and a brief catch up. Iíll endeavor to be back more often once weíve done a thorough overhaul.

Real terror

18 Jul 2005

Having jsut uploaded a belated happy entry it seems a shame to write a sad one straight after but if I dont' post it now I may not get around to it.

Last week (Wad 13th July) I had to travel into Central London for the first time following th bombings. I surpirsed myself by being terrified upon arrival at the entrance to Liverpool St. tube station. It was 08.50 and I simply couldn't bring myuself to enter the deep tunnel of the Central Line, on my altered route to work which accomodates the closures further to the events of 07/07/05.

I lingered in Tie Rack until I was almost going to be late then ventured underground. As each station passed and I neared the surface my quickened heart rate began to calm. Bank was the most traumatic station to go through (the first) as they were just announcing the passing of a security alert and I know well that Bank is a very busy and multiply connected station in the heart of the business district of London.

I made it to street level and almost hugged a paving stone! En route home I had both a headache, colleagues and some Dutch courage to ditract me from my fear but once again tomorrow I have to brave travelling in the tunnels of London.

Will I get over this irrationality? London is no more at risk now than it has been for years and I've not been afraid before...

Postcard from Bidart, nr Biarritz

18 Jul 2005

Well Iíve just written a review of the campsite upon which we stayed for our holiday in June so I thought it was about time I wrote a personal account of the experience!

Our flights to Biarritz from Stansted went so smoothly we almost felt like weíd not left England when we arrived at our tent in Camping Le Ruisseau near Bidart. Within hours of arriving weíd mage firm friends with the Geall family (Chris is an artist, check out his work @ www.chrisgeall.com) and enjoyed our first 8 days with the 6 of them including one night when Tess and Chris went tout alone and we manned all 6 children!

Whilst away Oscar perfected his walking and started to concentrate on talking (words such as Ball, Bread, Bird, More, Milk, Whatdat and Wantit). Phoebe meanwhile mastered swimming without armbands, taking breaths all the way across the width of the indoor pool on the site. Phil tried out surfing with Chris G and walked with Chris B (Ga Ga; Mum and Dad were staying in a mobile home on the same site) to the tallest waterfall in Europe at Gavernie (http://www.france4families.com/Pyrenees/RegionsPyreneesWalkingGavarnie.htm) (a 9 hour walk/climb in 35 degrees C)! Kateís achievements included cooking a 10 person frittata and helping Tess spend lots of money on clothes during a girlsí day out. Janet even got in the pool on one occasion and all consumed lots of scrummy French and Spanish food.

If you fancy a romantic or fun night out try pintxos in San Sebastian (http://www.bbc.co.uk/holiday/destinations/biarritz/) which we thought was even better than described in this link!

Spring Update

16 May 2005

Iíve been so busy with life that the events that have been occurring havenít been blogged.. So Iím grabbing a moment just to log a few highlights of recent times...

In March we celebrated Oscarís first birthday and our house warming with one all day party. Despite the marquee blowing away and the weather being chilly a good time was had by all.

In April both children had chicken pox and tummy bugs. Phoebeís case of the pox was a lot worse than Oscarís but fortunately both of them are well recovered now and ready to bare their skins over the summer, starting with Paulaís wedding at which Phoebe will be a bridesmaid on May 30th.

On 28th April Oscar stood unsupported for the first time which we then spent the long May Bank Holiday weekend trying to develop as a skill including a lovely sunny day out on the Suffolk Coast with our friends Lisa, George and William.

In the second week of May we discovered Orangeís intentions regarding WildFire Phil had his bag stolen from the local swimming pool locker room, Oscar started teething again and our PCís motherboard finally gave up further to having contracted a nasty virus! So for the past couple of weeks all has been chaos with insurance claims, changed locks, shopping for replacement items, archiving data, transporting children and PCs as necessary as well as mounting a campaign against ORANGE and co-ordinating Paulaís hen-night!

With spring now almost blooming into summer we are very much appreciating our new larger garden but also realising how much work it requires to maintain and develop. Watching the children play on the grass and in the playhouse is all the reward and incentive we need to keep it up.

Aged 14 months Oscar is now proudly sporting teeth 7 and 8 (unevenly positioned in his top jaw) and can walk up to 30 steps unaided when he can be bothered and no handy person or object is nearby to cling onto. Between now and our trip across the country to attend Paulaís wedding weíre going to be celebrating Phoebeís third birthday in said garden, including the hire of a large bouncy castle.

New Home, New Year, New furniture, New staff...

14 Feb 2005

OK, so all my blogging resolutions last year have thus far come to naught and this hasnít proven to be a particularly good record of Crofts family events! Anyway, last time I blogged I was the other side of a major life hurdle: moving house.

Weíve now done so, including experiencing the odd feeling of being homeless for 5 days between completing on the sale of our last home and on the purchase of our new one (whilst we waited for the builders to rectify a very askew kitchen ceiling). This was theoretically spent in the pleasant environment of a 5 star hotel, however such a home is rendered rather less enjoyable when one has two small children, one of whom has a chest infection, the hotel is full of Christmas parties (being the third week in December) and thereís no way of both adults leaving the room at the same time after 7pm!

Nevertheless the move and Christmas happened and weíre now fairly well settled in our new house, with my office being now based here. Weíve a new support network being set up, in the recruitment of new Domestic Assistant and Personal Facilitator for me plus friendly new neighbours and local shop owners.

The current mission (other than the remaining set up required) is to arrange Oscarís first birthday party, which weíre combining with a housewarming of sorts, and try to choose the right curtains, sofa and possibly even conservatory in time! Weíre now down to just a month, so I think weíll be lucky to get two of those in place let alone all three. Guests do now have a shower curtain pole installed, albeit that a new shower curtain is required....

Must dash and make a bacon sandwich before the bacon goes off and the afternoonís events require my presence.

Happy Valentineís Day!

Bad couple of days and lots of stress

01 Dec 2004

Iíve been meaning to blog for a while now, to record al the busy events that are happening to us at the moment. I didnít think the event that would trigger my writing would be quite like this!

Our lives really are like a french farce. Only a few weeks ago I commented that I felt like I had just reenacted a scene from ďA Fish Called WandaĒ when I ran over an old ladyís fluffy pooch on a string with the double buggy. Well today it got even more ridiculous!

We exchanged contracts on our house move last week and now have only 2 weeks until we move Ė so packing is our top priority. Iíve got a heavy cold, so have been finding packing, working and childcare a lot to juggle.

Last night I tripped and fell out of our loft hatch, dislocating my shoulder with the arm I used to save myself. This isnít quite as dramatic as it sounds as my shoulder is prone to dislocation (and old basketball injury) and I did manage to prevent myself falling all the way to the floor below... but it still hurt and has rendered my arm largely useless for a day or two (I havenít bothered with casualty, slings etc. as Iíve too much to do).

In order to help out today whilst I was off sick my parents came round as usual to collect the kids and mum bagged up all our laundry (inc. designer clothes, bedding etc) and put on our doorstep for Dad to load into the car - he popped in the house for a moment before taking it and when he went back outside the entire bag had gone (it was a big removal company sack).

I recalled having recently received leaflets from a clothing collection company so thought weíd track it down from them Ė we think it was them but they are con-men and it seems neither the police nor Trading Standards can help us.

During this Phoebe nearly choked to death on an aniseed ball she'd found somewhere, I was apoplectic and Os snoozed through it all! We are hoping to persuade the police to issue us with a crime reference number so that we can claim for it on the insurance Ė whilst a bag of used dirty laundry may not sound valuable, Iíve totted up and it contained around £500 worth of stuff if we replace it with new! This included all my breastfeeding bras bar one, which I donít really want to have to re-buy when Iím likely to stop breastfeeding in the next month or two.

Gallingly weíve also lost a gorgeous Monsoon dress I recently bought for Phoebe as an absolute bargain.

I suppose it should be a lesson to me about literal ďmaterialismĒ but had I wanted to give a load of stuff to charity Iíd have at least ensured it was clean!

First Tooth!

13 Nov 2004

We've just noticed that Oscar's first tooth has just broken through his bottom gum. He's 8 months and 3 days old and very proud of himself!

Egg-timer syndrome

27 Oct 2004

At present I canít go online to do any work work or personal work (house move arranging) as Iíve tied up the phone line by copying across a load of email from the work server to my new laptop. Soooo Ė instead of staring at pixels pretending to be bits of paper flying across the screen, Iím writing my blog.

Iíve not yet caught up with Philís recent blogging so donít know what is news and what isnít but the biggest thing occupying my consciousness at the moment is the impending house move. Weíve now had the survey done on our house; applied for our mortgage; instructed solicitors and requested a variety of concessions from the builders of our new place. On Monday I negotiated with our purchaser and our insurers to have the repairs needed on Phoebeís current bedroom done after the sale has gone through (to save us the upheaval); yesterday I requested a quote for the erection of a conservatory on the new place and today Iím intending to request quotes form removal companies.

Apparently the cash buyer at the bottom of our 3 property chain is pushing for a quick move and would like to complete before the end of November so weíre going to have to get our skates on with packing very soon.

Today the children are with their grandparents and Phoebe is apparently making fairy cakes with pumpkins on them (perhaps they should be called goblin cakes or something?) ready for the Halloween party Mum is throwing for 5 2 year olds and a 3 babies (one of whom is still in utero) on Sunday. Before then the children are going to another similar party at a friendsí house on Friday so Iím very much hoping their costumes (witch and pumpkin respectively) will hold up the test of one party and possibly a required wash in order to look good for the second party.

Iíve now been back at work for 7 working days and it seems to be going well thus far, Iíve set up all my IT equipment at home with minimal assistance and have managed to use it to design a first draft of a questionnaire so Iím back into the swing of things fairly rapidly I think.

I have to stop what Iím doing every 3 hours to express milk for Oz and I donít seem to be getting quite as many ounces as he wants to drink but hopefully weíll work our way through that soon.

Iím exploring the realms of eBay too Ė having been shoppers on there for some months now I took the plunge at the weekend and listed our first 2 items for sale, no bids yet but they are being ďwatchedĒ so fingers crossed. Hopefully it will prove a lucrative way of emptying or loft in preparation for moving. If only I could find the rest of the maternity clothes I so carefully packed away at the end of springÖ

As for my online activities on other for a Iím afraid Iíve neglected my online friends of late, the only socialising Iím managing is swimming once per week with Lisa, everyone else has had to go on hold whilst I work, care for kids and plan a house move Iím afraid.

Enough waffle for now I think, off to express milk in the hope that Outlook will have stopped copying when I return!

Back to work!

18 Oct 2004

Well things are going apace for us now. The woman who wants to buy our house isnít hanging about, her survey was done 5 days after we agreed a price! The house we really wanted to buy has been sold to someone else so weíve spent every waking moment over the past ten days or so house hunting until yesterday when we decided upon one which isnít my dream house but will hopefully do for a few years (nice garden, big lounge, near shops and schools but not detached nor as many rooms as Iíd hoped for).

Meanwhile Oscar has been waking in the night again so
weíve been crying it out (hence knackered andemotional) and Iíve returned to work for the first time today.

I will be working from home as much as possible but
this week am in the office on Monday and Thursday so
ďenjoyingĒ the trials of commuting, air-conditioning, expensive lunch etc. Once again, as occurred when I came back to work after having Phoebe; when I need to express milk I use the office First Aid room which I have to share with people who pray several times per day so I pose HR yet more conundra when I canít use the First Aid room to fit a quick express in between meetings as tree is a person raying in there who wasnít supposed to have a key or permission to use the room!

Last night I leaned down to kiss Phoebe goodnight and
told her I loved her to which she replied ďI love you
very much too Mummy and Iíll miss you all the time when you go to workĒ which made me burst into tears! Life is all very odd and stressy at the moment. I just hope it can get sorted by next summer.

Breastfeeding brain is making my first day back in the
rat race very bewildering but Iíve got pics of my kids and phone and mails to friends and family so hopefully Iíll be OK.

Iíve got to set up a makeshift home office from now
until we move so am about to ship 10 or more large
boxes from here to home where I have little space and
no desk, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

It are on the ball for a change though, got my new laptop straight away!

A baffled and incoherent Kate

Preparing for the end of my "at home mum" chapter.

12 Oct 2004

Well the time since I last blogged has been quite eventful, and part of the reason that I didn't blog again as soon as I'd pledged to do.

Last week our entire town experienced an electricity blackout on and off for 3 days, following an explosion at the nearest sub-station. As Phil works in the same town as we live this enabled him to have a day off with me, the kids were out of nursery and we had a fun walk amongst the autumn leaves, feeding the ducks etc. then later went to play at a nearby children's activity centre with another friend of mine and her daughter. Coincidentally my grandmother had given me a new, unwanted camping kettle just the previous day so we were fine for boiled water as we have a gas hob upon which we used it.

On the second day of the blackout the kids and I spent the afternoon at our friend Alex' parents house - I think they found us exhausting but it was lovely to watch them having "grandparent practice" as they have grown-up children neither of whom have yet had their own children.

On Wednesday the children and I spent another day out, at our friend Lindsay’s house, with her two sons (the same age as Phoebe & Oscar). That evening I went swimming with Lisa as usual and the following day the children were at nursery whilst I prepared for yet another house viewing. After the house viewing I went out for my monthly "girl's night out".

That house viewing worked! On Friday we finally accepted an offer on our house, only to discover the one we want has been sold to someone else. So we spent the entire weekend (and much of yesterday) house hunting. We've as yet not identified the perfect place for us, Phil likes one, and I like another but neither of us think either is absolutely perfect so the quest continues.

Meanwhile I've just returned from taking the children to their swimming lesson for the last time as I return to work next week. I've had the very good news that this month’s pay cheque was rather larger than I expected and the children have gone easily to sleep enabling me to sit and write this.

I look forward to trying to think next week, given my "mum-brain" but as Oscar seems to be starting to self-wean I may not be kept stupid by breastfeeding for as much longer as I'd hoped/expected.

Mega Blog (in progress)

30 Sep 2004

I start this with a heavy heart as I realise my two blogs of February and September 2004 demonstrate that my good intentions have not been fruitful throughout spring and summer 2004.

So to redeem this issue I shall now recount (in summary) the events of that period.

Thursday 26th February 2004 – Mum and I had our “leaving drinks” with colleagues at EO (despite the fact that I continued to work until the following week).

Saturday 28th February 2004 - Phoebe spent the night with Mum & Dad and Phil and I went to the surprise 30th birthday party of an old school friend of mine (in Kilburn NW London). It was really good to catch up with some old school friends who were all interested to see me nearly 36 weeks pregnant, dressed in a long tight black dress which made me look a bit like a stick of liquorice that had swallowed a balloon!

Thursday 4th March 2004 – I travelled to and from London for my last day of work before going on my second period of maternity leave.

Friday 5th March 2004 – I worked from home (tying up loose ends before maternity leave) then saw the obstetric consultant in the afternoon. The obs. cons. was not impressed about my plans to have a homebirth but thought I had plenty of time until I was due so re-booked to see me again a fortnight later and scan to establish the baby’s position etc. The midwife took my BP etc. and was concerned that it was up and the baby’s heart rate was down. I was asked to go to St. John’s Hospital antenatal ward the next day for CTG monitoring for an hour or so.

That evening Steve, Phil’s brother, arrived in order to spend the weekend with us.

Saturday 6th March 2004 – I had the CTG monitoring and it was determined that everything about the baby and I was textbook so we could go home. The midwife remarked (as an aside) that the uterine activity trace could be that of early labour but if I was in no more discomfort than usual (I had experienced frequent Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the pregnancy) then it was probably not the beginning of labour.

Steve had looked after Phoebe whilst Phil and I were at the hospital so we then went into Chelmsford to meet them. We shopped, Phoebe got tired, Phil took Phoebe home in one car and Steve and I went on to B&Q in the other.

When Steve and I returned from B&Q we found both Phil and Phoebe asleep so Steve embarked upon re-wiring the kitchen lights for us whilst I chatted to him, bouncing up and down on the exercise (birthing) ball I’d borrowed from our friend (also called Steve).

That evening I mentioned to Phil and Steve that I was having very frequent and strong Braxton Hicks, they didn’t develop into anything though so we all went to bed (Steve sleeping on the bed I’d set up in the dining room which was going to become the setting for the baby’s homebirth).

Monday 8th March 2004 – Phil went to work and Phoebe went to nursery (as usual). I stayed at home, on my first day of maternity leave, doing housework then making food to take over to Mum & Dad’s new bungalow: they were moving house that day.

Mum & Dad’s removal company had underestimated the volume of their possessions and a second van had to be sent for, meanwhile the first van and Dad set off, one of the removal men and the remainder of Mum & Dad’s possessions stayed behind in their neighbour’s garden and Mum and I “followed the van” armed with casseroles and sandwiches, in a taxi.

I waddled about for the rest of the day, unpacking boxes and hanging up clothes. Phil and Phoebe arrived to collect me in the evening, we all had dinner together then we took Phoebe home.

Tuesday 9th March 2004 – Mum dropped Phoebe and I off at the pool and I went in with Phoebe for her swimming lesson, we then had lunch as usual, with the other swimmers and their mums in the canteen, then we started the walk home. Phil passed us on his way back from a meeting so gave us a lift home, Phoebe slept for the rest of the afternoon and I nested a bit.

Wednesday 10th March 2004 – I got up slowly and was looking forward to my first quiet day at home with Phoebe. I was hoping for a month or so of time in which to really bond with Phoebe as an at-home mum before the baby arrived. Phil left for work and I set about dressing Phoebe and finding something fun for us to do together, I was halfway through erecting the track of her train set when I realised the intermittent twinges I was having were definitely becoming something I ought to time.

From here it is probably worth linking to Oscar’s Birth Story, I’d better pop off and finalise that so we can upload it!

Daily report (my first try at new blogging method)

30 Sep 2004

It is raining here today and I'm stuck in the house awaiting the delivery of a new mobile phone. My last one went missing (lost in the house whilst tidying for yet another viewing? stolen following my foolishly leaving it outside whilst bringing in stuff from the car?). Frustratingly Orange can't tell me when the delivery will be here other than "between 8am and 6pm" today or tomorrow, so I could end up being unable to go out for a full 48 hours.

Anyway, as the kids are both at nursery it is an opportunity for me to get things tidy and sorted ready for my impending return to work in a couple of weeks so I've sorted out my wardrobe this morning; removing all the summer stuff, throwing some away etc. I'm still not quite thin enough to get into the smallest items of my winter collection but hopefully I will be before they go completely out of fashion!

I'm not sure what is going on with our family health. All of the signs of a gastric bug that were about at the beginning of the week for Oz, Phil and possibly Phoebe, have gone and Oscar and Phoebe now seem to have colds; Oscar was up from 2am until at least 3am with a snotty nose and a ravenous appetite which we didn't want to over-satisfy for fear of making him sick.

I was hoping Phil would be home early this afternoon, as he had a hospital appt., but it turns out it was this morning rather than this afternoon so he was late for it and probably now won't be home in time for us to collect, deliver and install Grandma’s new TV before coming back in time for the kids to go to bed (yes, TVs have been a theme in our family of late). I really hope when we do get it to her she a) likes it (28”when she’s used to 21 but still the old style 4:3 rather than the nowadays more commonplace, widescreen 16:9) and b) can understand how to use it, including not unplugging it as this would de-tune it!

Phil just popped in en route back to the office and we had a nice sushi lunch.

I’m worrying about how well my brain is going to work when I go back to work; I expressed 7oz of milk off at 11.30 and it left me feeling very wiped out and stupid for a good half hour. I know breastfeeding does that but if I have to take a 15 min break to express every 3 hours then take half an hour to recover how is my work quality going to be!? With Phoebe I dropped feeds so only expressed once per day at work but that was more due to a crap pump than anything, now I have a good one I don’t really want to drop feeds if I don’t have to.

Not the most eloquent of blogs I know but that it today’s info. thus far and it will be good to look back on the daily grind I’m sure!

New blogging resolution

30 Sep 2004

In a moment of household calm (solitude, tidiness and Classic FM on in the background) I shall now attempt to turn over a new leaf. As is demonstrated by the blog note I’ve made below, I’ve decided to start using this blog properly and regularly. My last blog was before Oscar was born for goodness sake! It talked about the lack of a diary and I’ve realised that I do write what can easily be made into a diary entry pretty well every day. I am an active member of several online communities and also a frequent email correspondent with a number of friends met in the online and physical worlds. As such I should be able to use the things I write to create a daily blog (or thereabouts) which is what I now resolve to try to do.

As for capturing history, I’m going to wade through my amassed Sent Items in order to build some kind of mega-blog of the past few months which I hope Phil will be able to poke into the slot I’ve just created!

More to come very soon.

Lack of a diary for posterity

13 Feb 2004

Lately I’ve been regretting that I don’t keep a decent diary. My frequent visits to certain internet fora find me writing equivalent entries but these are not all stored in one place nor are they any sort of permanent record upon which I’ll be able to call in the future.

So – like Phil, I find myself once more drawn to the dialogue box for inspiration and have chosen to blog as a move towards making some sort of record of events as they unfold.

One of my biggest non-diarying regrets is that I haven’t kept a perfect record of Phoebe’s developments since conception. This lack of stored information started when (to my horror) the midwife informed me that she had to take back the maternity record that I’d carried throughout my pregnancy with Phoebe. Phoebe was only ten days old so I wasn’t really yet thinking straight and didn’t put up much of a protest nor did I take the opportunity to quickly make a copy of its contents. So in this, my second pregnancy, I’ve had no notes with which to compare and an ever dwindling memory of what happened when.

This time I’m fairly sure I’ve been more queasy (and sick) had less energy yet put on less weight and had less problems with my hips. I felt the baby moving at about 14 weeks whereas I didn’t really feel Phoebe until 17 weeks and my blood pressure has had a tendency of being lower than my baseline, whereas with Phoebe it went up (hence being induced).

So – a few more weeks to go until baby #2 is born and at least I’ve made a start on noting some of the differences between the children from conception onwards. Now will I manage to keep up my blogging sufficiently to call it a good record for posterity?

Phoebish Dictionary (at 18 months)

21 Nov 2003

Business, busy-ness and illness have all meant its been a while since I blogged or read anyone else's blog. Before coming here today I thought (for posterity) I'd create a "Phoebish Dictionary" to log all the words Phoebe can say at the ripe old age of 18 months (which she turned this week).

I circulate the draft to Phil and Nannie for comment then come here and read Phil's "Pop's Progress" blog and realise I've been pipped at the post!

Hey ho, at least we've now got a comprehensive catalogue. IF anyone fancies a look, drop us a line.

Electronic nostalgia

14 Oct 2003

Doubtless a different version of this will be told by Phil but here’s my version of the experience we had last night.

We have an excessive quantity of memorabilia and “we’ll need it again one day” debris in our loft. We are trying to sell our house and are therefore trying to reduce our amassed belongings to something resembling a show-home. As such last night we hauled the IT graveyard from our loft and spare room and set about investigating the contents of no less than 5 hard drives, which we were only able to access with the assistance of a tangle of cables, 3 working motherboards, 1 serial mouse, 4 elderly keyboards and one SVGA monitor that superciliously refused to talk to Windows 3.11.

Having racked our memories in order to use DOS and ancient versions of Windows we were able to wade through love letters, academic creations and financial records dating back to 1991 (all read to me by Phil in lieu of working screen readers) and we actually played DOS versions of Tetris, Space Invaders Doom and Simcity! Whilst this delighted both of us (particularly my spatial awareness victory over Phil – my Tetris high score was quite something) it was also quite sad to think that one day I’d been able to access them without access technology (when my sight was much better) and that once we’d stripped them down it would be time to bid them a fond farewell. These machines, in their various states and configurations, have been part of our lives for more than ten years, enabling me to do both A-levels and a degree, woo lovers and waste countless hours shooting low resolution demons (the best kind).

Something that particularly roused the sense of nostalgia in me was the sound of each fan and hard drive starting up, each individual and recognisable to me and each reminiscent of countless anticipatory moments over the years. The tunes that the games produced were similarly evocative, in their bleepy mono-phonic(??) style that is now far out-stripped by the tiny communication devices we carry around in our pockets!

Well even the machine I’m using to write this is now probably considered obsolete by many, in that its running Windows 98 and was purchased some 3 years ago. The new beast beside me will soon take its place (once we’ve acquired a version of JAWS that is bright enough to talk to it) and one day Phoebe may view that as I might a punch-card machine from the 60s!

We haven’t quite yet finished our task – the next challenge is to see what we can glean from Phil’s early 80’s ZX Spectrum. Unfortunately we relegated my 1982 Acorn Electron to PC heaven a couple of years ago.

Something I said?

09 Oct 2003

It has just occurred to me that not only have two of our friends emigrated to Australia this month but two of our employees also quit with only two weeks' notice - am I driving people away or what!?


08 Oct 2003

I observed a refuse collector about his work in the carriage of a tube train this morning. HE was simply equipped with a plastic sack and a litter picker and was diligently cleansing the travelling space of newspapers and food packaging that had been discarded by commuters during the morning rush.

My first thought was "I wonder how that role is quality controlled?" Ė does someone check carriages after heís been through them? Do such employees have quotas sand targets of how many trains or sacks they must complete within set time limits?

Then I went on to ponder the contents of his sack in more detail. The majority of the weight/bulk filling it comprised paper. Paper can be recycled but as this paper was intermingled with the remains of several tall skinny blonde cappuccinos and short fat cheese croissants I doubt it would ever end up anywhere other than a landfill site.

What a waste! To whom could I write to redress this environmental crime that must be occurring daily on public transport across the country!? By the time I got the office my outrage was forgotten and I went about my business day. Until nowÖ when just before I leave I notice that Iíve used three, rather than one, plastic cup from our drinks machine today and that they have accumulated in a guilt-radiating pile on my desk.

Aha, but I can redeem myself! We have a cup recycling point!... yet what about the evening editions of all those commuter papers?

Keeping up with the competition!

02 Oct 2003

Whilst I'm very grateful for the functionality of this site and most amused by my husband's wit in his blog I'm left feeling embarrassed and inadequate when it comes to writing my own!

Where does he get the time/inspiration!? Last night we watched a programme on TV presented by Robert Winston that described the development of neural pathways in relation to learned physical activity, memory, intuition based upon experience and... original thought. At the time we discussed the different ways in which Phil and think and possible reasons why we are good and bad and the different mental processes we attempt. Perhaps Phil's more witty than me because he fills his head with less practical noise such as "what time do we need to leave the house to get to..." and "how much money will we need to afford..." etc?

For me today's practical thoughts will include attempting to persuade a customer (with the aid of one of our organisational Web Developers) that his creative juices have run riot and he must adhere to corporate styling and accessibility protocols when designing a new online resource to be added to our work site. Quite why I'm involved is a little unclear, as the work I'm doing has become more of an authoring role than a research function!

My office is almost completely empty of colleague today - very eerie.

Very busy!

30 Sep 2003

I'm too busy today to write a decent blog but as Phil has just provided me with the ability to do this I thought I ought to - hello!

What am I busy with? Appointments, work, interviewing new cleaners, viewing houses, looking after Phoebe etc. (the usual)!

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