Sunday 29 March 2009

Plumstead High Street...abandoned?

Yesterday we beat a hasty retreat from a planned shopping trip on the high street as the heavens opened up and threw masses of rain down on our heads.
Today, it was a sunny day though clouds loomed. We decided to walk to the high street. After navigating the push chair past all the roadworks on Lakedale road, we ambled along a virtually deserted high street. Along the road shared by Barclays bank there are lots of shops to let. Sad to see the old Co-op shop is still available.
I wanted to buy some veg to make a shak (curry to you) and other odds and sods. The old Cash and Carry is usually quite good but this time I found the veg to be old and rotten. In all we tried about 4 shops and didn't find anything tempting.
To make myself feel better, we stopped off at Sarai sweetmart. I have always loved the brightly coloured boxes sweetmarts sell matched by the lovely sweets that go inside. So we left laden with a box of delights and also two small bundles of bangles for the tot.

Then across the road but not before I snapped a shot of this building. It's in serious disrepair - like many of the shops in the street. But if take the time to look, the design is quite pretty. I guess it will eventually get torn down.

The tot managed to lose one set of bangles in yet another cash and carry. We spent some 10 mins crawling around the floors and among the bags of dhals, lentils and various spices to no avail. They had vanished into thin air.
My mood darkened and we left the high street and turned upwards towards the Common. We managed to stop off at Superfruits and pick up some veg (still not as fresh as I would like but beggars can't be choosers).

One thing that struck me is that of the five shops we visited, none of the people spoke English well. And since I don't speak Punjabi or Urdu, I found it hard to make myself understood. These people must miss out on so much as they don't speak English. And before anyone jumps down my throat, I speak from experience. My mum tried very hard to learn English, even going to evening classes after a hard days work. Unfortunately, she didn't master it. This didn't stop her working for years in a Jewish bakery shop where she was popular with the clients (some of whom spoke Hindi - one of 3 languages my mum did speak). However, she missed out on the shows we watched and conversations with our dad to whom we spoke English. I always used to find it funny that she would insist on reading the newspaper and watching the News at 10. Now I kinda find it sad.
Anyhow, we climbed Griffin Road, and I stopped off in the newsagents to get milk. The Asian guy in there spoke English with a cockney accent. So its not all the same over Plumstead. Then after letting tot out to walk, we slowly made our way across the Common, past more roadworks and the odd set of pipes near the recycling. Then slowly, home to a late lunch.

Does anyone know of any plans for Plumstead High Street - it just seems so dead now.

P.s. Interesting history of Plumstead here. Some of my neighbours who are ancient biddies, were probably around at the time of the Plumstead Common act!

Toddlers and daylight saving

Its hard enough getting little ones to sleep through but twice a year, we have to deal with Daylight saving time.

As we did last night. As the UK has done since 21st May 1916 (following the footsteps of Germans and Austrians...even during the war!) in a bid to save fuel.

Of course, no one explained to the tot that the clocks had changed at 2am. So at the new 7.30am (which was my old ghastly 6.30am), the tot awoke. And decided that mummy should also wake.

The whole day has been a bit strange as breakfast was eaten an hour early for her and she didn't finish it. And lunch was at 1pm (her old 12).

I guess it will take time for her to adjust. Apparently some articles I read said it will be as if she has jetlag and will take time to adjust to the time clock.

ROSPA was to adopt single/double summer time that would bring us in line with European time.

BAH I say!

Friday 27 March 2009

Brain dead

I'm definitely getting the cold so have been a bit brain dead this week. Yesterday was a busy day - beginning with a visit to the playgroup. This was our first outing in the week as the little one has been ill. Had fun there and it was nice to talk to other mums though I was a bit puzzled by the parenting style of some of the carers (an issue I'll cover in another post). Back home, I was trying to fill in a job application and do an online test. The test took longer than I thought as I kept being interrupted by the tot. Not her fault. She was bored. Eventually, and guiltily, I persuaded her to sleep.
Then I tried very unsuccessfully to make Scottish lentil soup - my husband loves soup and even though I rang the MIL for the recipe, it still burnt but left lentils uncooked. It burnt as I was still filling in forms.
Husband came home and I just let him get on with tot and dinner. Very unfair of me but the application had a deadline.
Now it's a new day and I feel I should make up to the tot. I feel crap but will drag myself out when she wakes from her nap.
Then I will try to be creative with mushrooms (B vits and protein), spinach (iron) and rice (carbs). As there is no form filling involved, I am sure I will manage not to burn her dinner. Whether she eats it is an entirely different matter.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Cough cough splutter splutter

First the daddy was ill last week. A rather nasty cold that lasted days and days. And now the tot has had a cold and has a cough. I don't think she got this one from daddy, but instead some of the snot ridden kids at the playgroup we visited last week. Or maybe from the swings in the Greenslade playground. And this is the 2nd cold this year (so on average she's due another 6 this year).

She's lost her lunch today so I'm following her around our front room trying to get her to drink water and have some crackers. She goes from mad running around to lying on the sofa looking listless. Poor thing. Lots of hugs for the little one (which I have to give else she cries her little eyes out).

Its inevitable that I will catch it. I always do. I do wonder why I'm not immune to any of the colds she gets - I've had a fair few in my life and hope that once in a while I'm immune to some she has picked up. I should build my immunity before she starts nursery as she's bound to bring home even more germs!

Monday 23 March 2009

Need a bigger house

When my husband bought this house, it was big enough for him. When I moved in, I demanded lots more cupboard space but he was still able to have a study.

Now we have a tot, this house is way too small. And there is not much space for expansion.

So we considered moving. We hoped the opening of the Woolwich DLR would help with raising the price of our house but think the creditcrunch has killed that idea.

Taking a walk around Plumstead, even in our little cul-de-sac, we noticed there is lot of DIY going on. Houses are being sold which is also heartening though at reduced prices if you believe the stats on this site:

There are homes which are being improved which is another good sign. Plummy is well placed for DIYers as there are two Wickes close by and the B&Q in Charlton (though it never seems to stock what we are in need of!).

Unfortunately, I'm rubbish at DIY. Its too hard work. I would rather pay someone to do the work but again creditcrunch is pulling tight on our purse strings.

So for now, we will step over all the tot's toys and try to cram our books, cd and dvds onto the shelves we have. And I've stopped buying clothes.

Hey ho.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Nursery or Childminder?

Have started looking into nurseries hereabouts. Does anyone send their toddler to a nursery part time or know of any good ones that take kids just for a couple of sessions a week.

I rang up Plumstead manor pre-school which is an ideal distance for us but they only take tods from 2 years on. :(

We can't afford a hugely expensive private one but are getting desperate to find some sessions where our little one can play with others.

Monday 16 March 2009

Spring in my step, bounce in my hair

I'm not one for pampering or fashion or any such nonsense. Very sensible in my shoes and my baggy trousers etc.
Unfortunately this has contributed to my feeling rather down of late.
So to cheer myself up, I got up bright and early on saturday and tottered off to Mac's the hairdresser on the Slade. It used to be a barber but it so much more now. As the lady hairdresser got on with my new haircut that we discussed before hand, I was struck by what a little corner of community it is. Girls were chatting to their clients, dads were coming in with kids in tow to have both sets of head cut.

I left a mere 48 mins later with a shorter length of hair and a huge grin on my face.

Today the grin got wider as it's a beautiful spring day. The young tod and I went to Charlton to get her some new shoes. Had a nice walk around the shops and returned home. Traffic was a plenty on Nightingale but what the hey.

I'm bouncy.

A small post glow all those miserable people that can't be bothered to smile, get over it. I am so fed up with mums round here who refuse to cheer up. No wonder the kids grow up with a scowl permanently glued to their faces...poor sods probably don't even have strong enough facial muscles for creating a smile.

Friday 13 March 2009

Reasons to get a toy boy

According to a news article from the BBC (, the older dads are, the decrease in the baby's brain power. Doesn't state what the cut off point is.

So men have biological clocks too. Who'd have thought it. When we were pregnant (it's always we, though I could swear sprog was inside me and me alone) I got many raised eyebrows and serious talks about the dangers of having a child at my age. And before you ask, I'm not THAT old.

Wish I'd known about the dangers of aging sperm before attaching myself to a 40 year old. I would have gone for a lithesome 20 something.

Having said that the tod seems to be pretty clever so maybe hubby's little swimmers aren't yet past their use by date.

Thursday 12 March 2009

Technological time machine

Its happened again. I have a small window of opportunity to look things up on the web whilst the tod sleeps.

I was meant to be looking up courses for teacher training and nutrition (I figure these are safe career bets as there will always be sprogs, Children of Men scenario notwithstanding, and there will always be chubby people in need of advice, until that magic gene therapy enhanced pill comes out for instant healthiness).

But NOOOOOooo, I started looking at my blog. Then other blogs. Then online cartoons. Then other stuff.

I keep meaning also to do a list of usability requirements for children's toys and gear. So I started doodling that down.

Then remembered I wanted to upload a picture from ages ago. This leads me to search nooks and crannies for the cable that my rubbish phone takes (IR was so much simpler and don't mention bluetooth to me).

And suddenly an hour has gone by. A whole hour just sucked up in the technological time machine.

Here's the picture. Isn't it lovely. Taken with a rather rubbish mobile phone camera so I'm impressed with myself. Bit late as the snow has gone etc but I'm going to have this as my profile pic for now.

The usability list will have to wait for now. As will the following to - dos:
1. Become a world class chef and kick some TV chef ass.
2. Put tod in nursery/childminder some social type group.
3. Learn to play an instrument.
4. Clean dishes and take clothes out of washing machine.
5. Find that pork chop recipe for tonight and figure out a vegie version for self.
6. Send card to mate who has bought new house.
7. Send card to mate who's missus has given birth.
8. Learn HTML and fix the UI of this blog!
9. Put together wedding album before our 2nd anniversary in April.
10. Stop eating junk.
11. Take tod to museums in Greenwich and the artillery one in Woolwich.
12. Take tod out for fresh air.
13. Get more interesting items for your list
14. Stop reading Facebook which is the biggest sucker upper of time
15. Remember skinny people also need nutritional advice
16. Pick up tod who is now freaking crying and change her nappy

Wednesday 11 March 2009

One and only?

So it turns out that half of the women in the music class we go to are pregnant.

When I found out, I was partly jealous as I miss the attention I got when I was pregnant. Once the baby was born, all attention was on her (rightly so as she was a freaky looking little thing that every one cooed over!).

Long ago when I was naiive and very single, I thought I'd be married by 30 and have four kids. I think in some way this was driven by the boyfriend of the time who was 1 of 4 brothers and had a rather dishy dad.

The reality is that I think we won't have another. I'm resentful of my husband for sticking to this decision but also quite grateful when our toddler has yet another cold which she happily passes onto to me. So this leaves us with an ONLY CHILD. There are websites dedicated to only children (seems odd to have a plural here). Both me and hubby come from a family of 3 kids. The only child cousin I have was always seen as rather spoilt which is something people are now warning us about with our ONLY. I did have a mate who was an only child but we haven't spoken in ages so I can't pick her brains about the experience.

I'm sure that we are spoiling or not as much as anyone does with their first kid so I'm going to ignore those people.

Now I've got to make sure that our ONLY does not become LONELY child. Think we may put her in nursery some days a week so she gets to see a bunch of kids regularly. Or maybe a childminder. Of course this is no guarantee that she won't be lonely. And to those multi-kid parents out there, may I just remind you that children with siblings can also get lonely and spoilt.

P.s. Oooooooooh I just remembered another mate who is an only child. He's odd,sometimes antisocial it's true but he's a great friend. I think he will let me pick his brain if I ply him with some form of alcohol!

Sunday 8 March 2009

What do children remember?

This is something I've been thinking about lately.

When I was pregnant, I often thought I must keep a diary when the toddler is born so that in the future he or she can read every thought and event that happened. This is partly because I don't remember much of anything before the age of about 7. The odd memory is with me but it's very fleeting and I sometimes think that what I remember didn't really happen.

Anyway, AD, I didn't do the diary as I was a tad busy with breastfeeding and nappies and generally reading up on parenting theories.

Now a year and half on, I'm starting to think I should write down what I can remember from the last year and half.

I am curious how much children remember. Should I be taking the toddler to galleries and filling each day with brain developing activities? Should I make sure she gets her 60 minutes or more activity everyday but taking her to the park and playground? Should I be taking her to music, ballet, art, cookery and whatever else classes? Is it fine to leave her in front of the TV for some time while I make dinner? Will she remember this heartless, regular daily abandonment? Or should I take her into the kitchen so she can watch me cook (and in doing so become a world class cook? hee hee) and let her choke on fumes from the grown up dinner?

I hope she will remember all the hugs and kisses I'm giving her. Especially as I realise that soon the day will dawn when she'll want to get away from my smothering (It's mothering) grasp just so she can watch the box.

So if anyone knows, please tell me what do children really remember?

Friday 6 March 2009

Dad's role

I am in no way a fan of Toby Young. When he appears as a critic on foodie programmes, I cringe. However, was interested in an article he wrote ....

The interesting part is the bit about husbands of stay-at-home mums

"By the time I finish work every evening, Caroline is so fed up with the kids that she dumps them in my lap and then locks herself in the bathroom. Not only that, but I am expected to be the primary care-giver at weekends, too. The upshot is that I never have any time off. I have not read a newspaper in five years.
Friends who are married to working mums, by contrast, are on easy street. Their wives are so wracked with guilt about not spending enough time with the kids that they completely monopolise them whenever they are at home. The role of the fathers in these households is to wave benignly at their children as they walk in the door before uncorking a bottle of wine and collapsing in front of the telly. At the weekends, while I am traipsing round Legoland, they are practising their golf swings in Berkshire."

This makes me think of my husband. BC he was an aspiring writer. He had given up a IT career to pursue this dream. AD for a while that dream continued. The idea was he would stay home and look after the baby whilst also writing. But when the time loomed for me to return to work, I just couldn't do it and also he found that baby was a bit non-interactive. So we agreed, I'd stay home whilst he went back to work. This would continue until baby was a more interactive human and he would take over.

Like Caroline above, I'm guilty of dumping the tod on husband as soon as he walks in the door. Its his role to entertain her while I get our dinner ready. I give her a bath, then he is back on duty with bottle and bedtime book. This latter gives me a break, time to catch up. In reality I clean the bath stuff and do the dishes and just about manage to pick up my knitting (hobby of the moment) before he comes in and offers a cuppa.

Life had not worked out how we expected. We don't go out unless it's somewhere the toddler can go. If he gets tickets to a gig, he goes with friends.

Until the toddler is truly interactive, and willing to interact with objects on her own (books, films etc) we are devoted to development time. But one day, I promise my husband, he will finish his book and I will be waiting every evening with a nice glass of appropriately chilled wine.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Lenton Path...of shame

Lenton Path is a much neglected piece of land that makes it easier to get from Tuam to Macamo roads in Plumstead.

It is often full of rubbish - a quick call to the council and that gets cleared but how often can one keep doing that?

Graffiti - from idiots that don't know how to spell

The realm of muggers. One of which decided to attack my neighbour - the attacker by all accounts was a tall lad. The victim a little old 82 year old widow with really nothing worth taking in her handbag. The twit-mugger was only after cash so he tossed her bag onto the Common so at least she got her house keys back. But what an utter and total coward. He got caught by a policewoman but managed to get out of her grasp (she got a good look at him so chances are he'll be caught).

I've always hated this path but now I have very good reason to avoid it. I wonder how the people who own the houses along this path feel - happy to have it become a muggers and asbos haven?