Happy New Year, all!

We came back from our Christmas break in Devon, where we swam and ran and ate a lot of duck and ham, and where we all wore a fair amount of polyester with varying degrees of happiness about it:


Santa didn’t bring any toast for Ned, real or otherwise, but he did bring a £4 Spiderman lunchbox which turned out to be the most favourite present ever. Not so much the Robot Dog, who lies discarded under a bed somewhere, sometimes emitting a robot dog howl of loneliness and neglect. And while Santa did bring Ned a Creepy Hand, which was so pointedly requested on his Christmas List, Ned says it’s the wrong kind of Creepy Hand. So, you win some, you lose some.

We went to the Christmas morning church service in Tawstock for the third year running. Last year the Vicar dressed Otis up as Santa and he was taken up to the pulpit to illustrate a message from the sermon – this year, Otis was too loud and so we had to go outside and slip on some gravestones instead. Casper also couldn’t resist kicking his feet against the pews while the Vicar was talking, and they all couldn’t stop singing rude words in loud falsetto during the carol singing, so they all ended up outside, one by one.




Please excuse the dummies. Dreadful things.

We took the kids to a beach near Appledore, which was bleak and cold and nothing was open. Then the dog ran away on some farmland, chasing livestock and causing Mark to run after him, over hill and dale, calling Magic’s name in vain, followed up by Casper who loves a drama. They all disappeared, and I was convinced that they would all have heart attacks – the sheep, Mark, the farmer when he saw a big stupid dog chasing the animals in contravention of the strongly worded sign at the gate. And the soundtrack to Benny Hill would’t stop playing in my mind, and though I knew it was not funny, well, it was kind of funny. Finally Mark returned, a muddy, tired looking Magic tethered to him by Mark’s belt, a look in his eye like a teenager caught on a stowaway boat to Calais with her teacher lover, who knows it all very nearly happened and whatever it took, it was worth it for those few moments of unadulterated dirty fun. We all jumped in the truck and skulked away, not meeting anyone in the eye in case it was the farmer with a rifle, looking for the owners of the runaway dog who may or may not have ran his sheep into ditches.

Before the dog did a Fenton:

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The cold.

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There were animals at the cottage where we were staying, and on the first morning we helped the cottage guy to feed his animals, and the kids collected eggs from the hen. They wouldn’t eat the eggs though, once they realised that the egg came out of a chicken bottom and that it was speckled with chicken poo. The animal-feeding novelty only lasted that first day. Soft city kids, eh? See Magic below, really wanting to chase those goats off a cliff:

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Then we came home to a living room smelling of pine and a floor carpeted in sharp drying pine needles and so many boxes of chocolate liqueurs. Really.

Then we had a party on New Year’s Eve which started at 5pm and included 11 kids. I forgot to eat much actual food, and midway through a game of Name That 90’s Song at about 10pm I realised that a steady stream of other people’s champagne could do funny things to your vision, and so I threw myself into bed without much of a farewell to all the guests and I was done, fast asleep until morning. The party carried on until after 2am, for those who can handle their festive tipples. It was a little bit embarrassing, my early and lame exit at my own party, although word is that no one really noticed I had gone.


Here I am, before it all turned blurry:


There are two things to pint out here. Firstly, I have unintentional two-tone hair. That regrowth is the worst I have ever had. It makes me look like I am wearing a mousey skullcap on my head. Secondly, about a year or so after I have a baby, my hair falls out a lot, then it grows back and leaves a little Friar Tuck fringe of new growth. I have quite a luxurious new tiny fringe, with thick, brown small tufty hair looking like I intended to have it. I cannot work out what to do with it. I think it needs to be blow-dried into hiding. Here it is again, in a photo where I am comparing my baby self to my old, now-self. I am almost embarrassed to show this, now I have pointed out my fringe difficulties:



Sometimes it lies flat against my head, sometimes it looks like I have attempted to flick it jauntily to the side. It is ruining me.

I am going to see Ronan next week, the Aveda hair guy who will no doubt have some genius plan involving bleach. Wish me luck.

And Happy 17th Wedding Anniversary to this guy. He defended my right to wear age-inappropriate slick-look cotton coated dungarees yesterday, with kindness, enthusiasm and integrity, and once again, I thought he was a little bit awesome.


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