Sunday, 31 May 2015

Lost in Birmingham

'Alex's garden@

It was again the May Bank Holiday half-term and the time for me and Archaeologist Husband share the childcare duties. Thus, the major editing duties have been postponed until the coming week when the school is on again. Nevertheless, this has meant that the peer-reviewers have managed to turn up again and we have other voices airing their opinions. My own worktime has been dedicated to recrafting an important article that now requires a 25% word count cull after being restructured. That should be doable.

The first loose sweets at the movies

The cold that sent me to moaning on the sofa in my pyjamas is still there in the background. A fellow mum told me that people have been coughing for three weeks with this bug – and the cough and muddled nose have not gone anywhere. Therefore, I had to bury a trip to the swimming pool, again.

Leicester station

The half-term project was about the Great Fire of London in 1666 and it would have been marvellous to go to London. Once again I just had to check how much it costs by train and what kind of time slots are available for off-peak tickets that I turned to other alternatives. There is no point running around the city in order to reach the Natural History Museum and then speed back to get a pre-3.30pm train. At least we got to the movies to see Paddington and having a glimpse of the movieland fairytale London (with falling snow, naturally).

I had been thinking about Nottingham, but the weather forecast was unsettled, so I decided to go to Birmingham instead. I had never been in the Bullring shopping centre and the Staffordshire hoard exhibition is now been in place in the museum for some time. Most importantly, the New Street train station is slap bang in the city centre whereas the one in Nottingham is not. The castle is quite a hike away, so there was no sense travel there when one might have ended up taking cover in one identikit shopping centre. Nottingham will be left for a nice day.

Shaun the Sheep in Bullring

With the telescope, binoculars and selected Angry Birds character toys in his rucksack we headed to the train journey. Birmingham was slightly a bewildering experience. There are quite a lot of road and renovation works going on, including the rebuild of the station, so even getting out of the station was ‘interesting’. We found our way to the Bullring, but it was not a one building I had imagined from the TV news but a series of buildings around a square. The same shops were there but they did not have the double golden arches that were essential for Number One Son. Without a toy in the Happy Meal it was not going to be a trip. At least there was a giant Shaun the Sheep on the streetway between the Bullring buildings.

The touch screen table

The treasure was a success with Number One Son but getting him up the staircases turned out to be an issue. Thus, the peaks to the Egyptian and Greek and Roman sections were the briefest, since they were placed on the balconies above the Staffordshire hoard and art galleries. The highlights were the fountains outside the Birmingham Town Hall and the touch screen table in the Staffordshire gallery. Number One Son and other children just kept moving those objects around. Similarly, the swords, the small old-fashioned excavation diorama and the reconstructed Anglo-Saxon ‘house’ with a sitting, reading and traditional gaming area were successes.

With cat mummies

The highlight of the day were however in declining order buying a £1 dinosaur from Poundworld, having an ice cream cone, travelling in a train and getting a bus to the city centre. Otherwise, we could have just popped in to the Haymarket shopping centre in Leicester, but the real train travel...

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Confessions of a bad wife 3

This morning the confessions are not as serious as before: I have not forgotten Archaeologist Husband’s birthday or left him alone for weeks and weeks. No, I just lie on the sofa getting some relief out of a mug of Lemsip and wondering why I always feel rubbish when I have a cold. Even if I only have fever, if I try to work until the afternoon. Which I did not even try to do yesterday when I realized in the morning that everything hurts.

No, this morning I have been watching Archaeologist Husband to take care of laundry, while I managed to get two pieces of clothing into the washing basket. I have stumbled over his swiping handywork in order to get to kitchen to have some breakfast. I have been whingeing about my ailments while he has popped to the shop to get milk and essentials.

Is this is a wife’s answer to a man flue. Sadly, no. I have a proper cold, one of those that puzzlingly make your teeth ache alongside your throat, eyes, shoulders, sinuses, neck and head. Even if my nose is blocked, I can feel the sweet, sickening smell of Number One Son’s Angry Bird Sweets. Archaeologist Husband was dreaming of having a partner in clearing out the house when I returned, but I have done my dead-tired-and-picking-up-a-virus-that-made-son’s-nose-lightly-run-and-it-hit-like-a-sledgehammer act. Now he hopes that at least I will find a job. But I think about that next week. Now I have to stop and put my head on the pillow again... And let Archaeologist Husband to take Number One Son to the Finnish Saturday School!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Back on duty

Settling back in everyday family life after my adventures in Sweden has its own upsides and downsides. A definite upside is seeing Archaeologist Husband being happy after having his first pub night for a long time. This couple of pints was after observing a long parish council meeting, but that too was a victory of a kind. The candidate of the Charnwood Greens is sitting there in the council and literally starting the groundwork at the grassroot level. It is also marvellous to hear that our reliable and respected Liberal Democrat councillor was back in action recovering from a serious illness - even if he was only drinking orange juice. Our councillor was not voted in with 8 votes but much more: some of my friends did vote Andrew, too. A green ethical banker. We do need more of those!

I am still not sure if the different morning routines are a downside. Number One Son seems to have no problem with the fact that with Daddy he will first change and then have breakfast, while with Mummy it is the other way round. The definite downside is the mixed messages we give in relation to homework. Or actually in relation to bribing that goes on in order to get things done. While Daddy happily promises chocolate eggs, Mummy tries to keep all chocolates and sweets away after 5pm - and aims at restricting sweets to Saturdays, the traditional Finnish and Finnish weekly day for limited sweets and candy. I also notice that even if Archaeologist Husband has done sterling work with Number One Son's reading and writing practices, I am slightly more lax with them, concentrating on the reading. However, I am taking humouristically Archaeologist Husband's stern 'I did this for 20 months' comments. Since he did - and I never know when I will need his help next.

But this weekend Archaeologist Husband has off and hopefully having great time. He is on the south coast celebrating Our Bestman's 50th birthday. They do it in a quaint style having an afternoon tea in a hotel. Well, they did have Japanese food yesterday. Some style in celebrating the 'new 30s', not just getting pissed...

Sunday, 10 May 2015

After election blues

Life begins to retain its normality and Number One Son starts to realize that I am not going to fly to Sweden any more - at least immediately. I have taken my due turn in the school run (which I am now likely to hold for eternity). Archaeologist Husband has been happy - and desperate - in relation to the election result. I think many people spent lull hours on Friday staring in despair to their computer screen and moaning in Facebook and Twitter. It will be a scary five years, where non-citizens like me may wonder if we can stay with our families. Will there be any health services? Will there be decent schools for 'plebs'? Nevertheless, this is my home and the car breaking down made the possibility to get my citizenship wither away. We who are not millionaires have to make hard choices and we cannot become non-doms or buy our way.

Thank you Godless Father! (photo: AH)

When the whole country seems to be going with a cart to the $*#@, it is clearly time to start hoping that we can vote SNP soon. There was a party leader who seemed to believe in something, was articulate and was on OUR side, not on the side of the rich and powerful. No wonder many friends did consider voting for her!

Nevertheless, small matters bring happiness in uncertain times. The joy of seeing Number One Son discussing the everyday matters and playing complicated imaginary plays with his favourite toys are such wonderful leaps forward that they almost can cover for the general grimness. A fitting talk on a Finnish mothers' day!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Sunny island, dark shadows

It is absolutely fantastic sitting quietly on our sofa and look at my son watching CBeebies cartoons and thinking that I will not know when I have to skype him the next time. I probably will eventually, but for now I can be a normal mum, do the school run and ponder what to give Number One Son to eat. Naturally, I will be editing a book with Archaeologist Husband and try to cut a monster of an article draft into two or three separate articles, one of which I may have promised to write yesterday - if they accept my abstract. The future is peppered by different dates when different grant awarding bodies have meetings. I can only wait. Not very patiently and being an eternal optimistic pessimist.

The last two weeks contained an unusual event when I tried to keep track of a family funeral via social medias. I was not present, but different family members uploaded photos and I could see the island in a bright sunlight with familiar faces in black clothing. The pair of little cousins looked weary or sad, but at least they saw each other after a long break. This was sadly not the only sad news event but like the buses a second item of bad news came in. They say that April is the cruellest month. This year it seemed to be.