Ah, Stats, you shame me. What, no one is checking in to see me write the exact same thing about my children, post after post after post? CONFUSED FACE. Why, doncha wanna know that their bedroom smells of wee and the dog runs away and lipsticks are really good if they have high pigment and that I like to make cakes?
Of course you do. Which is just as well, because here I have another photo of a CAKE.
That’s sand made of digestive biscuits, you know.
Casper turned six, and wanted a pirate-y birthday, with a spy-gear influence and a sprinkling of sweets. It was supposed to be in the garden, and so we all took the food outside, rugged up, sat near each other to stave off the cold, and then it hailed big old ouchy ice balls and so we took the party home, and drank a fair bit of prosecco to numb the pain of having an accidental Inside Kid’s Party. Because I hate those. Because of the odd places you find decaying cake weeks afterwards. And the crunchiness underfoot, and the fact that the kids end up playing some sort of Under The Bed type game with the contents of your secret bedside drawers. You know what I mean. And how everyone gets kind of flushed and sweaty and full of cheese. But it was kind of fun, and Casper didn’t notice that his birthday party ended up a Saturday Social Club for the grownups. Just as well, because that would have become another excellent topic for the therapist of his foreseeable future.
That’s him, still only five, on a Sunday afternoon walk in the Chiltern Hills. In camouflage, cos that’s how we roll.
Since I last had a stats spike, we have been mudlarking a little on the Hammersmith foreshore, and dredged up more clay beer bottles and pottery and clay pipes. The dog came, but his mudlarking skills are pretty undeveloped, because you can’t eat old sharp bits of crockery. So we dig, he lies in the mud and dreams of human food to steal. And I have secret conversations in my mind about whether we should give the dog to a kind farmer who doesn’t mind constant food theft and yellow patches of wees in his farmer childrens’ bedrooms. I nearly dropped him off to the imaginary farmer last week when Magic magically escaped out of the back of the Landrover while I was driving, jumped out and ran all over the road, all the way back to school, barked at some small children, wagged his tail, stole some food and then waited patiently for me to come back. He had been in the back of the truck, then we drove off down the road, and then the back door slammed shut. And no dog was there. I had to get off the Edgware Road, find a park, and run back to school, calling out his name and looking for his squashed body all over the tarmac. A big crowd had drawn up outside the school gates and a lady held him and she told me not to let him run away again.
YES, LADY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SAGE ADVICE.
How did Magic get out of the truck? Secret opposable thumbs? Did he smell days’ old fried chicken remains and burst through the door and then tidily shut it again? IS MAGIC A DOG AT ALL? Did Ned do it? A prankster passing by? AM I ON THE TRUMAN SHOW AND THE PRODUCERS WANTED TO PLAY WITH MY MIND?
It’s hard to tell. And he wasn’t giving any answers away.
So after the mudlarking, we found a completely lovely pub on the riverfront called The Black Lion (aren’t they all, really?) which is owned by a New Zealander called Buzz (aren’t we all, really?) and we ate and drank in the sun and then, to our amazement and delight, they built a hangi and we stayed and watched the fire and tried to keep Casper out of it and feasted upon smokey chicken and sweet potatoes and smiled to ourselves. And tried to remember how to speak in Maori but failed. And the children got moko tattoos:
And here we are, lining up in a very calm and sensible way (parents of the children at school, please take note – lining up can actually be fair, civilised and rational):
And here are the children on World Book Day, dressed in a mashup of Amazon last minute costume purchases, old shields, swords we found hidden away from the last violent time they had been confiscated, a cheeseboard tray and pyjamas:
And two weeks ago, on a very sunny Saturday, eating fantastic chicken burgers from Broadway market, and a little street dancing:
And The Really Good News
You totally thought I was going to say I was going to have another baby, didn’t you? You probably didn’t, actually. Well, that’s not it.
Mum and Dad are coming to stay for summer! The children can talk to them in real life rather than the Skype chats that keep cutting out after three minutes. We can all go to the Vikings exhibition and visit the Tate and talk about ancestral things and they can meet the current baby. VERY PLEASED.
So pleased, I am tempted to dress Ned up in a checked shirt and fancy necklace to celebrate. Oh, wait:
He does that kind of thing voluntarily.
In baby news, Otis has a crusty eye and a soft fuzz of new downy blonde hair atop his baby head. He has huge thighs and an appreciation for poached pears and kale. He squeals a lot, mostly in a happy way, and we all swear he can say “dad”.
Righto. Time to watch Game of Thrones which I am secretly kind of liking. Especially the rude bits.
love it.Always a good read!
Thanks jacksta_b! I’m going to try to write more often. The world needs more sorry tales of my dodgy parenting skills.
I always love reading your blog chodes. Always makes me laugh and more than a bit jealous about your glamourous life. Ps Nick and I love/hated Game of Thrones, totally awful and I HATE Jofry so much I always burst out: I want to kill him!
Serious porn too! Made me think of creepy teenage boys getting off and made me want to vomit. But what REALLY got up my nose is the lack of pubic hair! There’s enough of a problem of young people thinking they have to look like a paedophiles dream without “historical” shit adding to it!! Come on! Bring back the bush for fuck sake.
Anyway, we are impatiently waiting for the 4th season having watched the first three, 3 episodes a night, every night.
More writing please.
You are so RIGHT! BRING BACK THE BUSH! None of this polite airstrip rubbish. Have you read Caitlin Moran’s book?
I love Game Of Thrones but you are bang on the money about the lack of pubes. And given that I rank going to the waxers as worse than going to the dentist I concur, BRING BACK THE BUSH!
As promised (under my old username) I’ve mentioned you on Groupthink (Jezebel’s sister site) as I think a lot of my friends on there would love you.
Here is the link: http://groupthink.jezebel.com/what-are-your-comfort-go-tos-1551625896
Thank you! You have been very kind. And I shall try to return to my once a week posting. And venture off topic, even. Ha! As if.
Happy birthday Casper! And that cake is brilliant. My last effort was an 8 egg monstrosity covered in smarties for my sons joint 5th birthday party. I know if I baked more than twice a year for birthdays I would get better… x
Yep. Seriously, once you have this many children, you have a lot of practice. The secret, in any case, is to throw bags and bags of sweets at the cake. It cannot fail to impress the kids.
Wish you wrote more frequently… However even an occasional taste of chocolate is better than none at all. Thanks for the wonderful images!
Thank you! I reckon I could up my game a little…
I bumped into Ginger Jude at the movies – she was cute and smiley and keen to divulge that you had 5 children. 5 I tells ya! x
Oh, lovely! She was probably wondering when you were going to have another, and was too shy to ask, bro!
Not even owl.
YES, LADY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SAGE ADVICE. <—– This bit made me laugh the most. What a backwards thing to say to somebody (her, not you). Excellent post as ever.
Lovely to see you yesterday, but hope you've recovered x
Ah, the delights of a Hangi. Did you teach tem all to Hongi as well?
We’ve got pretty good broadband here in Upper Hutt, and we can do long hi-res Skypes to my 19 month old angel of a granddaughter in Scotland most weekends.
It’s not the same though. Really want to give her a cuddle.
TSB I have missed you! Where have you been? It’s not the same without you. As for the hongi, I forgot to teach them that. Their indigenous education is a bit lacking, so we may well send them off to a Saturday Kohanga Reo class at NZ House. If we ever get out of the flat in time, that is.
At the risk of sounding like a crazed stalker, I think I pass you some mornings by the bottom of the Westway on my way to work. You see, the perils of you painting such a vivid picture of your school run! I’m the pregnant one with unruly hair and a yellow satchel.
Really enjoy your blog. And also have a small Ned.
Oh that’s very exciting! I’m going to look out for you and say hi! I have noticed a few pregnant ladies and been terribly envious and now I have one to specifically target. Hurrah! Thanks for following my blog….I am now going to follow you (with my eyes, she says, creepily…)