Today, I remember Szyja Waisbrod

He was Born in Tarnopol, and he worked in import and export. His wife was called Neta. Their son was Khaim. He was murdered, aged 57 in the ghetto in Kupczynce, because he was a Jew. Neta was 45. I don’t know how old Khaim was. They’re recorded in Yad Vashem’s database by their cousin, Lea Shteinvurztel, along with 29 other members of Lea’s family.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, I light my candle, and decide to be more proactive about ensuring that it never happens again. And to keep being proactive. Regardless of how scary it is.

Standing up, speaking out. It’s important.

So, this is the challenge

Can I get through 12 months without buying any brand new clothes (other than knickers and tights) for myself and LK?

I think I can. I think I can also make 12 months without new yarn if I unravel LK’s slightly too small shark hat and use the yarn for her next size up hat.

Worth trying…


I did some running

I did the Box Hill Knacker Cracker again, having missed it last year owing to a badly time cold. I nearly missed it this year, owing to a badly timed upset tummy (we all had it. N had it worst, but only for a week. Then LK and I seemed to drag on for weeks after he’d finished. It was not pleasant). The day before – suffice to say, I did not want to go out. And I deployed Immodium (having established that, yes, I could take Immodium and breastfeed).

It was easier than last time I did it, in part, I suspect, because I had not run 10 miles the day before. It was fabulous. It was hilly. It was cold. It was a long way from the carpark to the start, and even longer to get back. There was soup in a mug at the end. And a tshirt. And medals. I loved it. I love all the Trionium Races – my next is the Leith Hill Half at the end of February. There’s a cooked breakfast to be had at the end of that one. Superb.

Running has been vital. Work has been very up in the air, hard going with compressed hours (but so worthwhile to have a day to do housemin, which means the weekends can be all about LK). LK moved up a room in nursery. In some ways she’s thriving, in other ways – I’m not happy with her key person. There’s been issues with nappies, issues with nappy rash, issues with food (she got covered in yoghurt yesterday, and it wasn’t because she was waving the spoon around. Apparently they were trying to feed her, and she wasn’t having any of it. Tip. Don’t force feed the toddler. It makes everyone unhappy, and just makes for battles at mealtimes. Give her time, and encouragement. You don’t get yoghurty socks that way.) Yes, I shall be complaining. I’m really unhappy about this one. I want to change her key person. I never see this key person anyhow, I always see one of the other assistants, who is, hands down, lovely. It’s bad enough leaving her at nursery each day, but to think that she’s fighting food – that’s not fun at all.

So running, is vital. And I’m about to have a lunchtime run date with N, in this nice cold weather. 10 mins warm up, 7 x 2 mins at 8 min/mile, with 2 min recovery. I have a new to me Garmin Forerunner 220. It’s awesome. I can programme in the intervals! And it just goes beep-buzz to tell me when to change. I can see the laps easily (and I have learned I don’t need to press a button between laps), and it’s just so much nicer than my old Forerunner 15. There’s still a bit of life left in that, so I’ll be popping it on eBay at some point, as it’s a lovely beginner watch. It just doesn’t have the battery life in it anymore to get through a whole marathon with a HRM. And, since I’m doing Tallinn in September, I need that.


Like Mummy, Like LK…

Last night I headed into London, to go to a Holiday Mega Meetup as part of a Women in Technology Network Thing I’m a member of. It was grand fun. I won LK a rubber duck by dint of wearing my Terribly Tasteful Christmas Sweater (it’s from Boden). I drank two glasses of wine and ate an heroic quantity of festive sushi. We were rubbish at the quiz, and I had #metoo Mansplained to me (which was annoying). I missed the penultimate train home, and managed to leave my hat on the underground. Realising this as I exited the drain, I shot back in to see if the train was still there. It wasn’t – but my hat was sitting on a chair on the platform. HURRAH!

I got home, and heard all about LK’s day. This involved sandpits, rejecting her Christmas Lunch, playing with pompoms and bits of sparkly silver lametta and toddling everywhere. I learned that she, too, had lost her hat on the way home. Fortunately, she managed to drop it out of the buggy (despite being hermetically sealed in the raincover) onto the path and someone very kind had poked it into the chain-link fence which borders the path. I retrieved it, very soggy, on the way to nursery this morning. HURRAH!

Her hat, however, needs washing. Less hurrah. It’s very soggy and muddy. Which is a change from covered in cheese and snot, I suppose.

Seriously. How much snot can one small girl produce? And wipe on everything?


But of course…

LK was ill on Elf Day so didn’t get to wear her elf costume (and it is too cute: if you’re on my Christmas Card list, you may have received a picture). I’d been ill with an upset tummy the night before (very short lived), she appears to be coming out of the poonamis in the last 24 hours (nursery have very kindly called them ‘teething poos’), but N is currently suffering rather worse than either of us, and has been since Monday. He’s got a tendency to a gyppy tummy ever since he has campylobacter four years ago.

It’s been draining. I’m on call all week, I’m more-or-less solo-parenting, N’s holed up on the sofa looking awful. I’ve had to work every single evening this week culminating in a call at just gone midnight last night because someone had unnecessarily disabled a backup job. It took me two hours to get back to sleep. LK was up at 5:30am.

Hopefully N’s digestion will clear soon. Hopefully I’ll get into London on Wednesday for a day’s volunteering, and an evening at the Women In Technology thing with one of my colleagues. And for dinner with some friends on Friday next week. I’m not holding my breath, mark you. I’ve missed both Christmas events at work this week. Being on call, I can’t go into London – I’m out of signal for too long. I’m supposed to answer and be online within 15 minutes of being called. This makes the nursery run somewhat challenging – I could, I guess, use the running buggy to speed things up, but that involves getting changed into and out of running gear and breast feeding just isn’t very easy when you’re encased in slippery nylon and a running bra. LK is always frantic on her return from nursery, even with emergency cheese being applied en route.

Oh yeah. Vote (we have postal votes. It saves trying to get out to a polling station).



Damnit. Costumes at nursery are neverending in the winter.

We’ve had Halloween. LK was ill, so didn’t get to wear her ‘I am an apple’ costume – which was all the green clothes she possesses, with a knitted hat (green stash yarn) and a felt ‘Granny Smith’ label sewn onto her dress. I wanted her to be comfortable, rather than swathed in nylon. Plus, I object to buying something that’ll only be worn once. Total additional outfit cost to me: 50p.

Then we’ve had Children in Need. LK is at nursery full time. There were two dress up days that week. Day 1 was pyjama day. Nice and easy, could send her in wearing the night before’s pyjamas, and a pair of bunny socks with rattles in the toes. She was rather taken with the socks, and apparently spent some time wiggling her feet to make them rattle. All hand-me-downs. Nice and cheap. The second dress up day – I sent her in wearing her apple costume. And shoved some money in the box.

Next week, we have Elf Day, in aid of Alzheimer’s. Off comes the Granny Smith label from the green dress. On goes a felt collar (leftover from making felt poppies with the Guides) and a belt (had to buy some brown felt. Had some yellow felt leftover from making Zombie Duckies at Towersey Festival about 10 years ago). Bells to go onto some random red slipper shoes that someone passed on to us (had to buy the bells. Couldn’t find bells). Currently knitting another hat from stash yarn, onto which a bell will be sewn. I feel we cannot have too many bells. She’ll wear her red longsleeve vest and her Christmas Tights (more handmedowns) Additional cost £2.75. Plus the charity contribution. Took about an hour to sew everything on, plus the time to detour to Hobbycraft in town when I was buying the veg for the week (I like to get in on my compressed day, so I can get veg that isn’t swathed in plastic bags).

The week after it’s Christmas Jumper Day. She’s got a red knitted jumper with a star knitted into it. A handmedown, which fits. I may add some sparkly pompoms from Poundland if I’m feeling energetic. Christmas Elf hat again. May as well. Additional cost is thus £1 for the pompoms.

But, just think. If I’d had to buy costumes because I wasn’t able to adapt? And buy a Christmas Jumper this year (I will admit, I swooped in Sainsbury’s just before Christmas when they had their epic reductions and Christmas clothes were £1-£3 instead of £5-15, and bought up Christmas Gear for nursery, but it’s definitely of the grow-into variety, and she’ not grown-into yet. She’s not in 18-24 months, but I suspect it’ll fit her next year. Hope so.)? I know we’re lucky: we have enough to be able to send her to nursery and have extras easily. What if nursery was taking pretty much all my salary, and she was in there simply so I could keep my job going?

And, quite apart from everything else: just trying to assemble all of this, however one is trying to assemble it, is an additional task that I could really do without. Would it not be possible to make cardboard elf accessories at nursery for them to wear? We got just over a week’s notice about that one. Halloween we had rather more time…and most kids will have a costume for trick or treating anyhow (I keep seeing one little girl in her witch’s outfit at nursery. She’s evidently very fond of her sparkly black and purple regalia!).

Why does charity have to involve buying stuff from big businesses?



Can’t think of a title

I fear I’m turning into a proud Mummy blog.

LK can

  • Sing the tune to the Wheels on the Bus
  • Tell us she is a ‘Goo Gir’
  • Toddle about with a walker, and steer the walker, and do an about turn with the walker
  • Stab food with a fork and get it into her mouth if the food plays ball (watching her eat a teacake with this method was rather fun)
  • Enjoy olives
  • Enjoy curry
  • Ignore bananas, strawberries, satsumas (why? Other kids go mad for the things!)
  • Do little dances
  • Stack her stacky pots
  • Persuade Daddy to read ‘Spot Goes to the Farm’ several times in a row
  • Rummage in the Lego without eating it
  • Sort shapes into my old shape sorter

She’s not been a well bunny – she got a really nasty chest infection and the first antibiotics didn’t fix it, but the second did. However, by that point, it had such a bad hold that we ended up at the out of hours, only to discover that despite her running about the waiting room (holding onto Mummy), her sats were at 85…which concerned everyone. The doctor says we need to keep a close eye on her. We’ve bought an O2 sats monitor in panic. She was fine after 3 days of oxygen. Mummy? Less so. It’s taken a week for me to recover my equilbirum and zest for parenting. I was getting worried that I was getting hit with a depressive episode and retreating into a bit of a shell world. I appear to be moving out of it with the help of using the CBT techniques, acknowledging where I’d got to, and lots of support from N. He really is wonderful. Talking really does make a difference. Realising that it’s all going to heck in a handcart and doing something about it takes energy. And, frankly, after that period of being ‘on’, when I was able to be ‘off’, I was really rather ‘off’. It’s hard not to veer too far in the wrong direction sometimes.


We slept in today

We didn’t mean to – LK was going through a phase of waking at 5am. She’s now apparently in a phase of sleeping in until gone 7am. Which is great: except when Daddy needs to get up with enough time to get the train which leaves at 7am and is relying on LK as an alarm clock…Today there just wasn’t enough LK cuddles before it was time to leave for nursery (a scant 10 minutes after she was up. We were late. We also skipped teeth cleaning and vitamins. Bad Mummy wanted cuddles more than clean teeth).

We have been a house of chest infections, upset tummies, generalised exhaustion and a lack of running. The Basingstoke Half was nice to run, but on the way home I realised I was seven minutes slower across the course than last time I ran it. Of course, last time I ran it, I wasn’t up feeding a ravenous baby at 4am…but for some reason, I beat myself up over this greatly. Then entered Tallinn marathon because I’ve failed to get into London again, and I can’t face training and trying to fundraise simultaneously but I want to try for a sub-4 hour marathon. Of course, this means that N can’t pace me (per the original plan made two years or so ago), because he’ll be wrangling LK. Unless we invite friends to come with us. Which seems unlikely.

On the plus side, it does mean we’ll get to go away for a bit…

On the minus side, we’ll have hideousness at the borders. Mind you. That assumes that Brexit actually happens by then. It’s dragging on, with masses of disagreement on all sides. I took LK into London on Saturday to join the People’s Vote march. She wanted cuddles most of the way round, we bailed at St James’s Street (by that point she was back in the buggy) and she finally fell asleep (having missed the usual nap window) by the time we were level with the Royal Academy. We had six children with us in total, joined a couple of friends briefly, bringing us up to 8 small people (our friends were collecting autographs from different European Nationals – we managed to supply Denmark and Sweden), and enjoyed the sunshine, the good-naturedness of the protest, and all the blue flags. Everyone else’s toddler managed to nap during the march. LK was just dropping off and someone made a speech through a loudhailer, and that was that for napping for about an hour and a half. Far too much to look at, see, get grumpy about, and be distracted by. We waved at Stanley Johnson and prodded Sam West in the nose.

Then we saw more friends: somehow I managed to meet up with everyone whom I’d wanted to try and meet up with, which is amazing considering how many different people were involved. Of course, I was too busy meeting and trying to arrange meeting to actually take any photos. So it goes.




Poor little LK. She’s one of the few babies who reacts to her one year vaccinations (and there were four of the things!) by having mild measles. This last week has been a plethora of temperature, rash, grouchiness (so much grouchiness), extra days off work for me and generalised unhappiness. In addition to my compressed hour Thursday, I had to take Tuesday afternoon and all of Friday, as N wasn’t really able to not work – he had Disaster Recovery testing. Never mind that my entire job is essentially Disaster Recovery, he had to go to King’s Cross to sit in a windowless room while they broke stuff, and had a different sort of DR testing owing to DR testing breaking the live system. Which I guess is why you test. I digress.

LK has not been a happy bunny. I have not been a happy bunny. Between a grouchy baby and a sticky cold (this is finally on its way out – my resting heart rate is dropping again), it’s been challenging.

Emo baby was emo. And probably needs a t-shirt with ‘EMO’ written on it for days like this.

But, I keep reminding myself, this is better than the alternatives. 90% of people who are not vaccinated will get measles. 1-3 in 1000 of them will develop measles encephalitis (which, even now, has a 10-15% mortality rate). This is what killed Olivia Dahl, Roald Dahl’s daughter, when she was seven. She’s buried in the churchyard of the church N & I married in, and there’s a statue in her memory in the church. And it was all avoidable: they didn’t vaccinate in the UK back then (one year later, an effective vaccine was introduced), but they did have something in the US which worked. Olivia’s little brother, Theo, was given gamma globulin, which was effective. There wasn’t enough for Olivia and her sister as well. It’s heartbreaking.



Farnham Pilgrim Backwards

I love this half marathon. Utterly love it. Glorious views, a nice mix of surfaces to run on, lots of up, lots of down. Nothing too tricky, but the perennial potential to go flying over a tree root, which helps keep you on your toes (I didn’t fall over. I came very, very close). Cake and a brass band at the end, adequate loos, a changing room, and a rather nifty medal.

Mind you, on Saturday, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be running it – and on Sunday, I still wasn’t entirely sure it was a good idea. LK has been very caring and sharing her cold germs. Both Grandpa and I were the lucky recipients of a really sticky, snotty cold this week. She’s been reasonably chipper about it. Well, other than two outbursts of inordinate tears, which is so unlike her that, actually, I had no idea what to do. We’ve twigged it eventually – snuggle next to her on the bed, but don’t try and cuddle her as she turns into a bucking bronco. Don’t try distractions, or singing, or a bath – just let her calm down in her own time with someone nearby. Having her vaccinations, finally, this week didn’t really help.

So. Back to the race. Full of trepidation, and leaving LK playing with Daddy (and not saying ‘Goodbye’ as if she realises Mummy Is Going then chaos may well ensue), I drove off to Farnham. Parked with plenty of time to spare, hauled myself up the hill to the start wondering if this was a Good Plan or a Totally Lousy Idea. Got my number, stood in the queue for the loo, changed, dropped off my bag, rejoined the queue for the loo a second time, and made it to the start with plenty of time to spare, and an idea of simply enjoying the race. No music. Just eavesdropping on other runners. I do like a good eavesdrop.

Practical upshot – 22nd in my age category (out of 61), in the top 25% of female finishers, 5 minutes faster than the last time I ran the race in 2017, although the route was backwards this year, 5 minutes slower than in 2016, when I was at peak fitness pre-Berlin Marathon. Didn’t need a loo stop (Hurrah! This is only about the second long run since having LK which hasn’t required a loo stop!). Saw one of my Guides marshalling, which made me feel all toasty lovely.

And a rather nice ice cream at the end of it all before I drove home for cuddles.