Wednesday, 20 June 2012

the important stuff

Jack's rugby team had a hog roast last Sunday, much to the delight of my husband. What a Father's Day treat - binging on pork and drinking cider! To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to it. I wouldn't know many people there (the downside to missing most of Jack's rugby games due to horrible weather and two little sisters who really wouldn't have enjoyed standing in the pouring rain for 2 1/2 hours) and I was the designated driver.

As it happened, it turned out to be a wonderful day. Not only was there an abundance of succulent roasted pork (with the crunchiest crackling), but I really enjoyed chatting with the parents. The kids had a blast, running around in open fields and going down the bouncy slide one hundred times. The sun finally came out after weeks of rain and misery.

Isla started getting bored so I took her away from the chaos on a little walk around the grounds.  She spied some sheep and immediately wanted to go over to say hello. We sat together on a stile, watching the sheep munching on the grass. "Look at the little sheep!" she said. "What he called?" We stayed there for ages gazing across the fields, swatting away flies, counting sheep, enjoying the quiet.

We left the sheep to explore the grounds. We came across a Celtic knotwork garden, tucked away behind an iron gate and brick walls. We admired the carefully manicured shrubs and returned to get Mia to share our discovery.

Photo 17-06-2012 04 43 24 PM

A kind woman from the church explained what the different plants were and the significance of the pomegranate mosaic. It was the personal symbol of Queen Katherine, AKA Catherine of Aragon, who lived here for one year.

 Photo 17-06-2012 04 59 49 PM

We returned to the rugby celebrations and spent the rest of the afternoon lazing on the grass. It was chilled and fantastic. Exactly what was needed, and a very good reminder of what is actually important.

The copious amount of pork also contributed to my happiness, obviously.

Friday, 15 June 2012

"SHHHH SHE'LL HEAR US!"

You know when you were a kid and you were constantly shocked by your mother's ability to know what you were up to, despite being as quiet as a mouse in another room? It's not because she was superhuman, it's because you were way, WAY louder than you thought.

My kids have no sense of volume control.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

clueless

Toddler Girl (talking about what she wants on her birthday cake): "I want fairies. And bingles."
Me: "Bagels?"
Toddler Girl: "Bingles!"
Me: "Pringles?!"
Toddler Girl: "BIN-GLES! PINK BINGLES!"
Me: "Oh, sprinkles!"
Toddler Girl: "An' a wan."
Me: "A one?"
Toddler Girl: "WAN. WAAAN!"
4-year-old interpreter: "She says she wants a wand, mummy."

Under 5s should come with subtitles, for goodness sake.



Tuesday, 12 June 2012

what's the opposite of hipster?

Someone sent me a request from Klout the other day, so I checked it out. I cannot figure out what purpose it serves, and I don't mean that in a "Pfffft what a pile of piffle!" kind of way. I really, honestly, have no clue what it does. Now, I consider myself to be an Internet-savvy kinda gal and as a tech writer, I'm pretty good at figuring out how stuff works - but I'm stumped.

Klout seems completely unintuitive to me and the site's a bit laggy, unless it just doesn't play nicely with Chrome. From what I can gather, it illustrates how active and popular you are online. For what purpose, I have no idea. I can't say I was comfortable "connecting" Klout to everything I do online, and the skeptical side of me thinks this has to do with marketing/information harvesting.

The only amusing thing about Klout is the list of topics I am supposedly "influential" about. This list includes: family, Facebook, food, music, cookies, chocolate, and bacon. I think their algorithms might need a little fine tuning.

So what is it all about? Do I need it? Will my online life be better as a result? Will I ever become influential about firemen and Hendrick's gin?

Friday, 8 June 2012

coming to you live from my dining room

My friend Vero asked if I was going to do anything for the Jubilee weekend because someone from the CBC had been in touch with her about it. She wasn't doing anything so she couldn't participate in an interview, and passed my details along to the producer. They wanted to get an ex-pat's perspective on the festivities and I thought it would be good fun to participate.

I spoke to a couple of producers a few times to set things up and send over some photos. I was to do the interview via Skype. LIVE. Suffice it to say, I spent the day of the interview oscillating between blind panic and delirium. This was going to air live across my home nation, on one of our major networks - it's our equivalent of the BBC. With a very large G&T in my belly, I was ready to do the interview. Sort of.

10 minutes before the interview, a man's voice came over Skype asking if I could do an audio test and move my camera around. Oh and I should mention that 15 minutes before the interview, our Internet connection decided to stop working. That was hilarious. I think I was a bit stressed and was very likely quite rude to Paul about it all. Sorry, honey. And thanks for fixing it.

I could hear the anchor on the other end doing her news report and the commercials in between. The man came back to inform me that I was about to go live, and I think my stomach dropped to the floor at that point. I don't actually remember much about the whole thing, so seeing the interview for the first time was very much what it was like for those watching at home. It didn't come across as badly as I expected and now that it's all over, I did enjoy the experience.

I'm glad that I did it and was so appreciative of the positive comments from friends and family back home. The producer sent a copy of the clip to me, so I've got a keepsake I can bore my friends and children with until I'm old and senile and won't shut up about that day I was on the talking box.

So here it is. Watch and laugh at my strangely mutated accent: