preparing to leave

I love being on holiday. Time with no expectations, space to muddle along  and let life just happen.

Preparing to go on holiday, however, is a different thing.

X days = Y outfits.

Is there a washing machine?

Don’t forget the underwear and the pyjamas and the wetsuits and the body boards and the skateboards.

Shampoo, people. And oodles of conditioner.

Of course you need to bring a coat.

Warm things.

Picnic bag.

Did anybody pack the swimsuits?

Doggy bed, doggy food, doggy medicine.


It starts off sensibly and before we know it, there’s no room in the car. Nothing seems superfluous, but there’s only 4 of us. Spurs Fan packs the car. It’s like a 3D jigsaw, a Krypton Factor puzzle. He manages to leave enough room for the last minute make up bag/ hair straighteners/ cuddly toy, but if you want something else bulky, you have to sit on it.

There’s only one thing that keeps him sane in the process. The holiday playlist/ CD/ mixtape.

There’s nothing haphazard about these- they are themed. There’s a Scotland CD, so that we come off the boat to Simple Minds and by the time we get to East Lothian, we can see Sunshine on Leith. We were in Co Clare, so we had west coast songs.



Clare is a beautiful county, busy in the summer months with holiday makers and tour coaches. Narrow roads, wide buses, wrapped up visitors.

Because of our holiday music we ended up doing a little tour guide performance every time we saw a bus. It never got old.

“On the left, we have stone walls. And if you look to your right, you’ll see that the grass is green.”

We are easily amused.


eat, play, love

Nana and Grandad were with us for a week of food, games and general hanging about doing whatever, together.

Board games, exploring a Titanic exhibition, discovering ice hockey– will we move from beside the fire? Ah, maybe we will.

Belfast Giants

I found the weight watchers approved snacks at the back of the cupboard- after we’d eaten our way through the cake, mince pies, and chocolate biscuits which were hiding them.

Jake admitted two new admirers to his fanclub, and even deigned to let them stroke him after they’d grovelled for a few days. He was totally unphased by the tree, unwrapping chaos, or getting clipped, but a picture of another westie provoked deep disgruntlement and grumbly growling.

no longer a sheep

Santa was good to us all- I have a mountain of new books- and the girls have been very dedicated to their tablet thing. (I discovered that where children’s tv used to refer to ‘getting some sticky backed plastic’, they now advise ‘downloading that app on to your tablet or phone’.)  More ugly dolls were acquired, and branded bags/ tops/ hot water bottles from the tween favourites. Nana and Grandad startled us by having acquired land and titles since we saw them last. Spurs Fan now officially has every branded item that Tottenham Hotspur FC sell, and must be due a cut of the profits soon.

Now, Christmas has been returned to storage, Lord and Lady Spurs Fan of Glencoe are home and our house is as tidy as it gets. I’m ready for a holiday.

the sea and the sky

We’re all at it. Across the northern hemisphere, bloggy buddies are stocking up on seaside time. Schools are reopening; we’re thinking about buying sturdy shoes. Lights are going on earlier, teenagers are getting exam results and packing for the move away from home. Autumn is becoming visible, but we’re holding on tight to the dreams of summer.

Tinman and Emma are going swimming, each with clothing dilemmas. Debra is looking at surf and sunsets, Lynda found herself again, e.e. cummings style. The regular reader knows I need no excuse to burble on about the restorative power of beaches, so, in a radical move, I’ll hush.

Oh, how I love a beach.

dancing, differently

There’s always something going on here. Dance classes. A competition. Stretching. Learning new steps and routines. Making up steps. Asking me for my opinion…

This week, things were different. Even my untrained eye recognised that I wasn’t seeing Irish dancing or ballet. There was too much lepping about and arm waving. Both girls were doing the same thing, teaching each other. What was going on?

Then I found the instruction sheet. Steps and ‘encouraging’ words; welcome, throw, canoe, welcome, lunge, catch, throw. Definitely not Irish dancing.

The Olympics are London 2012 is getting everywhere.



When I was writing, this came on the radio. Similarities?