Two in There!

the porcelain express
September 18, 2009, 9:12 am
Filed under: misc, parenting


One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, old fish, new fish, dead fish. Crap.

Oh, Marlin, why must you complicate things so? I’m so not ready to explain the intricacies of life and death to my two-year-old. One of all parenting literature’s major failings is a simple ‘line’ I can feed an inquisitive toddler with regards to what happens to beloved pets when they decide to make an early exit. This is the second time now I’ll have had to deal with a dead fish, and last time we handled it, well, rather badly.

We’re fortunate enough to have a lovely pond in our garden; a thriving ecosystem, and a veritable hub of  hippity-hoppity thingummies. Absolutely brimming with tadpoles, newts, frogs, fish and other mystery beasts Dave claims to have seen (from the descriptions we appear to have some sort of miniature ‘nessie’).  It’s been a hugely fun and dare I say educational thing for Heidi to enjoy on a daily basis, and absolutely key to my love for it, is that through the miracles of biology, it’s self-sustaining. I have to do absolutely nothing to keep it going, and if some tiny creature pops it’s clogs, the pond takes care of it.

“Mummy, why is that fishy not swimming?”

“What fishy, darling?”

“That one, he’s not moving anymore.”

I eye the sorry titian blob floating, unresponsive, among a clump of pondweed. What do I say?

“Oh, he’s just having a rest sweetheart, he’s been swimming so much he just needs to have a wee sleep.”

She accepts this, and I am satisfied my quick and dirty lie has quelled any further difficult questions. Rod for own back.  Over the course of the following week, sticking to my own mantra of “the pond will take care of it”, though not speedy enough for my liking, we greet the sleepy fish on our visits to the pond, I, swift to find something far more exciting to distract Heidi’s attention, as our floating friend grows ever more translucent due to the ravenous tadpoles feeding on his belly scales. Nature is grim.  I ask Dave to fish it out, but life gets in the way and it fails to happen promptly. It takes a visitor to the house to point out the dead fish, within earshot of H who, with a face like thunder, walks in to tell me that her fish is “not alive anymore”. Great. I try to explain that it just got a bit sick and so it had died. This of course opened huge can of worms for all ensuing ails, fishy, or not.

Fast forward a few months, and Heidi has been the proud recipient of a 17 litre mermaid fish tank from her Gran, so we can get her first pet. Dave rolls his eyes, and states from the outset, “she can have a fish, but I’m not responsible for it’s life.” The accountability is on me, but I don’t really mind, getting a pet is exciting! I imagined letting H pick out her very own fish, and foresaw it entertaining her for a short period of time, always good in my books.

The acquisition of the pet fish was a rather different reality. When I was a girl you could win one at a fair; fish activists have long since put a stop to such cruelty. Fish have rights, and I’m all for it. Though, I’ll be the first to admit that as a heavily pregnant mother, my attitude towards such things have softened from my dreadlock-sporting, sandal-wearing vegan days. I’m still a strict veggie, but I no longer harbour the desire, or angsty-vegan tendency to tell the staff at pets-at-home that they’re running an operation in animal brutality. I’m not advocating a return to the disposable nature of  fairground prize, but I didn’t envisage that I’d need an enhanced disclosure to buy some fish. After a grand inquisition from a rather accusatory member of staff, a form and a signature(!), we were finally allowed some fish. Two fantails, and we didn’t even get to pick them. Still, we had our pets and we could get out of there and enjoy them. We went through all the rigmarole of floating the bags, introducing the tank water, and eventually fishing them out into our water, careful not to mix any of theirs with ours. Everything by the book? Tick.

One week on, as I made a cup of tea last night, I glanced across the dining room  to do my usual visual register; orange blob? Check. Spotty orange blob? Ummm. Dory is present, but I see no sign of Marlin. This merits closer inspection, I get down on my hands and knees (not an easy task!) and my suspicions are confirmed. Marlin appears to be stuck on the mermaid’s hand, but his fins aren’t moving and his eyes look like two tiny, unglazed raisins. I give the statue a poke, dislodging him, and accidentally sending him into the current of the pump, which pulls the poor creature, undignified, around and around the tank. He’s no longer brilliant orange, he’s pasty, beige, looking more like a limp nude pop-sock caught in a spin cycle. Even sadder, I think this may very well be his crowning moment, given we barely had him 7 days.  I look around for a net, unable to find one, I fetch the ironing jug and fish the sorry lump out of the tank, and hitch him a ride on the porcelain express. I hope he doesn’t block the drains….

So, this morning, I will partake in the ultimate in mild parenting deception, and do the old fishity switcheroo. I’m in search of one mottled fantail to complete duo, before Heidi notices anything amiss.

Must say I’m dreading facing the people at pets-at-home, fearing I may be black-listed as a fish killer and sent on my way, while they hastily make up posters with my likeness and distribute them to all aquarium retailers in the Lothians. Maybe a wee stop by the joke shop for some dark glasses and a fake moustache first…


what a lovely surprise!
September 16, 2009, 10:43 pm
Filed under: blogging, misc


As you may have guessed from the title of this post I got a rather pleasant surprise this evening; the lovely Linda from over at ‘You’ve Got Your Hands Full’ has given me an award! I can now proudly display my Zombie Chicken! (Chuffed to bits!)

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.”

So now to pass it on to those worthy of such an esteemed literary prize! My zombie chickens would have to go to:

Dave King: The Thin King Thinks


You’ve got your hands full (I do hope I’m allowed to award this back from whence it came!)


Mummy to an Angel

To all of the above, I thoroughly enjoy your blogs, and would like to thank you for taking the time to write them. I hope you’re as happy as I am to receive this little award, basically it means I think you’re a jolly good read! Please feel free to ignore it, you’re not in anyway obliged to accept it.

As I understand it, the rules (there are always some) are that you link back to moi, save the image, and display it magnificently in your sidebar for all to admire!

an open letter to my oven
September 11, 2009, 11:24 am
Filed under: cooking, misc

Dear expensive piece of crap;

Apologies for the less than jolly salutation, but I think you and I both know we’re way past the pleasantries now. You’ve wronged me one too many times, and I feel that I must warn you, the bulk of this letter shall be rather… critical.

I’ll start though, by thanking you first of all for your efforts up until this point; indulging my love of food and desire to cook all manner of delicious treats, you did as you were asked, got yourself to the required temperature, took my prepared ingredients, and lovingly held them in your little chamber, warming them until they bubbled or turned golden brown, before announcing your triumph with a satisfying ping.  You made me love my kitchen even more than I thought possible, and as a result I spent more time there than anywhere else in my house. Those days were good, I never had any reason to doubt you as you did everything I asked. We became complacent, and just ‘expected’ you to continue this diligent service for many years to come; after all, you’re only 4 months old, and who knows what culinary treats lie in store for you?

Well, you blew it. Quite literally too, and in spectacular fashion.

The first time, a Friday night, after a long day I’d cooked an asparagus risotto for tea, and had a notion for some chips. Thinking it nothing out of the ordinary, I scattered my homefries in the pan, preheating you as always, popped in the tray, and settled down to leaf through the paper while you did your thing. It was in your hands now, all I had to do was wait.


Glass everywhere.

I squeal and stare in disbelief. Did that actually just happen? It did, and thank goodness I was out of the line of fire when it did, but a few minutes before I’d been standing in front of the stove, heavily pregnant, and trying not to over-stir my rice. My poor heart though, took quite some time to recover. Thank goodness Heidi wasn’t playing in here….

The cleanup operation was quite the task; ensuring miniscule shards of glass were absent from the kitchen was not straightforward, and for weeks after we still found the odd piece, in the sole of a shoe or an unsuspecting big toe. I was assured by the manufacturers that it must have been a flaw in the glass, I accepted this and after a fortnight without the facility to cook more than a plate of soup, I was just glad once again to have an intact appliance, though I found myself slightly wary of you, not fully expecting you to cook my meals to perfection as you did once before.

I was wrong to doubt you. For two whole weeks you lovingly enveloped my pies and pastries in your belly of warmth, wafting delicious smells through the house once more. Dinner was once again always on the table, and as my faith in you grew, so did a plethora of treats and other wee indulgences, that I didn’t really have to cook. It was a happy time.

Until last night, when once again you declared your unhappiness by combusting, just as I settled down to have a read on the breakfast bar.

This time I was less forgiving, the surprise quickly turned to anger, and the river of curse word that subsequently flooded from my mouth even had the toaster blushing. How dare you! How bloody dare you!

I trusted you. I didn’t have to after that stunt you pulled last time, but I let bygones be bygones, and carried on as if nothing had gone before. Water under the bridge. That’s how you thank me? By covering my kitchen in razor sharp glass? By giving me a much unneeded fright at 8 months pregnant?  By absolutely destroying the pumpkin I was honey-roasting for a pot of soup? It was just  squash for christ’s sake, did it really merit that? If you object to my cooking so much, all you had to do was burn it or stop working, not bloody detonate!

Well up yours, Matsui, I’ve had a belly full. Or rather ironically, not. This ends here, I’ve called the man, and I’m having you unceremoniously ripped out on monday. I cannot live with such an unpredictable character. If you’re not going to play by the rules, you can get the hell out of my house. I’m going to get a lovely new oven, that does exactly as it’s told, when I tell it too. We’re going to have such an awesome time together, making banana bread and pot pies, and you’re going to sit in a scrap yard, sulking to yourself.  It could have been beautiful, but you spoiled it all. I don’t need appliances with terrorist leanings in my house.

Good day.


Chivalry is dead. Well, at least on Edinburgh’s buses
August 16, 2009, 8:27 am
Filed under: misc, pregnancy

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equality in the sexes, but does that have to come at the expense of plain old-fashiond good manners and common courtesy? Can chivalry and equality co-exist? Gone are the days when a gentleman would offer up his seat to a lady, let alone a pregnant one.

Apparently Edinburgh’s male commuter population is of the opinion that the cut-throat world of the to and from work bus journey, is every man and woman for themselves. They are practiotioners of the three S’s; the Snare-Sit-Stay approach to bus travel. Desperate to secure a seat, a sure sign of a triumph over the weaker and less able, Modern Commuter Man, will hurridly push past those vying for a place to park their backside, whilst simultaneously snatching the last metro from under the hand of the young woman who was clearly there first, before triumphantly taking his place in the priority need seat at the front of the bus. There we have the ‘Snare’. MCM has his seat, thus, the ‘Sit’. Secondly, to further this proud statement of victory, instead of sitting with his knees in front of him, he will ensure that both his outside leg and foot are in the aisle as a further sign of dominance (and indeed, as a warning) to the weaker, standing commuters. Dare they try and walk past, all the while running the risk of tripping and falling, not to mention utter public embarassment? This is exactly what Modern Commuter Man wants; a further fortitude of his alpha-male ego. This is the ‘Stay’.

Fastidious in his approach to the application of the three S’s, MCM refuses to be budged by even the most fearsome of commutery predators: the old, the disabled, and the pregnant. Not only will MCM not give up his seat, he will enitrely refuse to acknowledge the very existance of said predators, and in a final display of his territorial determination, he will place both of his hands on the rail infront of him, and grip them tightly. There is no hope for anyone. MCM has sealed his victory, and will coast safely and happily to work.

Well this pregnant lady is not about to let this continue. I’m formultating a plan, which will most probably involve toe-stamping, ‘accidental’ shin kicking, and many a dirty look and audible tut. Watch this space.

just to clarify
August 23, 2006, 8:22 am
Filed under: misc

I don’t want to buy viagra. I don’t want to enlarge my penis. I don’t want to play online poker. I don’t want to buy meds online. I don’t want to do whatever it is you’re asking me to do in chinese, so you can stop leaving your pointless comments on my posts.

I getting rather sick of all this spam malarky.

bagels, buns and bloke-a-cola
August 18, 2006, 8:24 am
Filed under: misc

A belgian bun does not constitute a staple breakfast really does it? I think I’m kidding myself by saying “but I had a salad sandwich first!”. Only proper cake-junkies or fat people have buns for breakfast. I suppose, I could justify it as a craving…. the icing was just so good! It was only yesterday I was mocking a friend for having cycled to leuchars and back, only to cancel it out by buying a medley of cakes on the way home. I’m such a hypocrite. I’m counting my cake as a belated reward for finally finding the motivation to gut the kitchen yesterday.

Let me see, what can I talk about this morning? The news? I tend to start my day with second rate news at the moment, since I can usually grab a metro on the bus. I’ve noticed that they have a talent for reporting yesterday’s news, and tarting it up to make it sound more exciting than it really is. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy it, but I make sure I read the bbc as soon as I get in to work, just to make sure I’ve got the facts. However, I did particularly enjoy a large picture of babyshambles’ favourite junkie Pete Doherty sheepishly buying a bagel. I’ll update this post with the pic later on :)

In the news we’ve also got Mel Gibson in rehab, naked women slow dancing with pig carcasses, and ten year old child murder cases being solved. Just the same as ever really.

I see the Bloke-a Cola ad campaign has been pulled, and quite right too. It’s the biggest piece of advertising crap I’ve seen in yonks. Actually, there are quite a few adverts I really don’t like at the moment, namely the Frosties advert with the most cringeworthy adolescent, the Talk to Frank campaign with the ugliest and most annoying little boy in the world, and the Capri Sun ‘Squeeze Please’ adverts – something about the animation just really irritates me. Anyway, back to Coke Zero. MEN DON’T CARE ABOUT CALORIES. At least not in their fizzy drinks. That’s for us women with nothing better to do to fuss about. Not only does it taste crap, but it’s aimed at a market that doesn’t even really exist. It’s aimed at the lads-mag, football-loving, curry-eaters of the male populace (as you can tell from the ridiculously ‘male’ nonsense spouted in the ads). Do Coke really think that these blokes want to drink Diet Coke for men? “That’s right lads, you too can care about your physique, no longer will you have to face the shame of purchasing a woman’s drink! We’ve repackaged Diet Coke, made it all black and masculine, grrrrrr”. I think not. Not even punting multiple cans of it to passer’s by on Princes Street, whilst two breakdancers twirl on their heads outside a stretch hummer will convince me of it’s apparent greatness. Actually, everyone I’ve spoken to thinks it’s crap, so really only the marketing exec’s from Coke think it’s a hit. as Dave said to me yesterday, “it reeks of a 35 year old trying to make an advert for a 25 year old”. I’m rather looking forward to their next offering of crappy advertising for a similarly crappy product.

On a less ranty note, I just read a nice story about a clever dog rescuing a little boy. Hurray for animal heroics!

Right, better get back to work now! :)

a few thoughts
August 17, 2006, 8:26 am
Filed under: babies, misc, pregnancy

Special K – Why is it so good? I mean, technically it’s a diet food, ergo it should be crap, but it’s wonderful! It’s the tastiest, yummiest loveliest thing, and it help’s you stay svelt and beautiful (if part of a calorie controlled diet, for me it doesn’t count since I’m eating so much at the mo).

Also, I’m now 18 weeks pregnant, and I can feel my baby wriggling about. I started to feel he/she at about 16 weeks, but it felt more like butterflies flapping away in my tummy. Over the past two weeks the baby’s bones have been hardening, so now I can really feel all the little pokes and prods as the baby wiggles. I’ve been playing music to the baby too, and so far it approves or Rilo Kiley and NIN (what an odd combo!) and particularly enjoys the friends theme tune. I can’t help but giggle when the baby dances, it’s such an odd sensation, but yet feels completely natural at the same time. It’s such a wonderful feeling.

I also finished making a little panda bag last night, and it’s officially the first thing up for sale on my etsy shop which you can check out here. I still haven’t thought of a good name for my shop, so it’s imaginatively called ‘Spilly’s Shop’ for the time being. If anyone has any good suggestions please let me know. I’ll be linking to the shop from the beanmilk nav bar at some point soon, so please check it out from time to time, and I’d love it if you lovely people were to buy something nice. If you leave me a comment here, you might just score yourself some mates rates ;)

On a not-so-fun note, is anyone else really starting to feel really uneasy about this whole terrorist thing? My whole life I’ve always thought how lucky we are not to live with war or fear of war, but that’s sort of gone away now. I wouldn’t get on a plane if you paid me right now, which is pretty odd considering I’m usually quite a rational girl (ok, well that’s a fib, but I’m not afraid of flying). I think it’s because now I not only have myself to think about, that the threat seems much more real. I even get uneasy on the bus to work at the moment. Every day we’re hearing about the threat of getting blown to smitherines for Allah’s sake. I’ve always found Islam a really fascinating religion, and having muslim family, I’ve come to understand a fair bit about it. I just can’t get my head round all of this extremism. It makes me worried for my family too. Scotland’s not known for being the most tolerant or unprejudiced country, and I’m afraid my family are going to be the victim of people’s narrow-mindedness. It really puts things in to perspective for you, it makes you really think about how terrifying it must be for those people who face war every day, and all the innocent people who have died through other people’s violence. I really wish we could all get along. What’s so horrible about peace? Can’t we all just resolve our conflict like reasonable, good people, and stop sacrificing the innocent because the big boys like to play with guns and bombs. I don’t know, life is just such an amazing thing, why do people want to destroy it?

Anyway, that’s enough from me just now. I’m going to go and eat more magic cereal, drink tea, and not think about all the badness in the world :)