Spaghetti Heads

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It’s not yet lunchtime, but we’ve had our ups and one or two downs as well. Pretty standard stuff I guess. Amritsar has been in quite the ‘mood’ but did cheer up when I helped both Tara and herself stitch together their alien hand puppets brought home from school as a weekend project. I taught them ‘blanket stitch’ and probably did a little too much sewing on their  behalf. Now with regards lunch, with an abundance of puttanesca in the freezer, guess what we are having with the spaghetti? Better get it on to boil in a moment, though I just had a thought! Toddler pics of spaghetti lunches, please note today’s pictures! Yes things are certainly looking up… Weekends are a little less chaotic nowadays, which is well deserved as parents I hope. They used to stress me out, but with the terrible twos well behind us and the troublesome threes dissipating, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The Vineyard

Okay, I’m not a restaurant or food critic, though I am a bit of a foodie if truth be known. It’s funny isn’t it! When you are a couple together for a number of years, so often you end up ordering the same dishes. Not through blind laziness, ‘I’ll have the same as him’, rather your pallets are just so in tune. We both ordered the same for all three courses. You have to smile. It has in fact been two years since our last visit to the Michelin stared Vineyard. My birthday two years ago lead to a major disappointment there when the chef had chosen to substitute a dish serving a very ‘blue’ filet of lamb with saddle! Yes the toughness of ‘rump’ really does not lend itself to being served almost raw. I did make a complaint and in fairness they did comp my main course, but it was untouched, excusing the three mouthfuls of meat. But leaving in haste as we did, the bill still came to two hundred pounds as there was zero understanding of just how the celebratory meal was a complete wash out. I had but eaten a rather wispy smoked salmon starter and a few mouthfuls of inedible meat, obviously Johns enjoyment of the celebration had been marred, so we just decided to not return. Though here we are, almost two years later and we returned and had a very pleasant meal, though portion wise, a little meagre. The carbs were non existent, that is if one did not include the two portions of very tasty home made bread rolls that were served. A final bill of two hundred and forty pounds made us consider things. And to be honest, the atmosphere was not sufficient to compel us to rush back. Service (front of house) was very good, but sadly the menu was lacking in That ‘something dynamic’ you would expect with a restaurant prizing itself on its level of quality.

P.s. On the greater visual stimuli of the environment , the prints / engravings on the walls should certainly be reconsidered! This is just my own personal opinion and is not meant to offend the restaurants design team…

Tooth Ache and Fine Dining

Well the title says it all. A final drilling and filling of my upper left wisdom tooth and here, four days later, the underlying root is throbbing away merrily. Our babysitter Nikki is about to arrive and here I sit, the children rampaging away upstairs and we are soon to head off to dine at the Vineyard. Popped a couple of paracetamol and now hoping for the best. I will keep this blog short as John is about to arrive home, as is Nikki about to ring that door bell. I think I need to drink wine to numb the pain. Maybe an update later. Bon appetite…

Birthday Card

I received my first birthday card this morning. There’s an Irish postal Mark so I think it is from Granny and Granddad in Dublin. Thank you Hazel and Michael. I think John and I are going out next weekend to celebrate it and we are going to do cake with the children on Sunday afternoon. Tara, Aaliyah and Amritsar are going to help our nanny Sindy bake it! Amritsar and Tara’s Birthday is coming up too at the end of March. I did some shopping for their big day today as I managed to escape the house as all are either at school or preschool until 3.15pm on a Thursday. Overall happy with the bits and bobs purchased. My own gift (from John) however is a days wage for a Chippie to come and rebuild a chunky mahogany coffee table. The gift is at my request. Another rip off purchase I made on eBay that fell to bits in a flash. Two hundred pounds splashed out on an antique table that fell apart. Don’t get me going – some of the rubbish available on eBay is scandalous. The table is basically four cut down snooker table legs that were badly screwed into a mahogany top. Some antique dealers attempt to botch together something from bits they had lying around. These kinds of things might look good in the photographs, but there you go, enough said. I miss the old brass coffee table. It was circular with a hole in the middle. It was a hand made Indian style with brass rivets in it (Victorian arts and crafts). Only problem was that the sheet brass started coming up and became a bit of a health and safety issue with the children. Luckily we were spared any cut fingers – it had to go, but it did look well in the living room. Safety above style sadly. I remember when auntie Sara’s two were little. She padded every surface with foam pipe cladding and removed everything from the living room. I do get it, but I have so many memories involving our old brass coffee table involving all of our children. They used it as a house, a castle, a car, even a flying saucer. Plus we stashed the sea of toys inside of it at the end of each day. I am a lot happier that we no longer do toys in the living room. It’s good to feel like an adult again. Just one of the sacrifices in the early years we all make.

Eighteen Moons

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Same-sex surrogacy (single) had been banned in India, so Andi, still longing to father a child, turned next to Thailand. With the news of a successful pregnancy everything looked rosy – until the Thai government also clamped down on surrogacy, the clinic was closed. For several heart-stopping days they didn’t know what had happened to their surrogate, or their baby. Finally they heard that all was well and Andi said goodbye to John and the girls and went to Thailand to be with his child. A son was born and a delighted Andi hoped to take him home within weeks. But what followed was an extraordinary saga of delays, denials and, eventually, Andi’s arrest on trumped up drug charges. Given the option by the arresting officers of waiting three months for a court date and a guaranteed three, month sentence, a second option was put on the table. No criminal record and the chance to be the first westerner to serve in the Royal Thai Army. This would take him to an army barrack’s deep in the Thai jungle, he had just one phone call, to tell John what had happened.

On the day he was freed Andi found John, and their son, waiting for him. Days later, after five long months of waiting, they flew home, to introduce the girls to their new baby brother.

When the surrogacy clinic in Thailand had closed Andi and John’s remaining embryos had been transferred, with the help of an Israeli agency, to Nepal, where surrogacy was still possible. At that stage, unsure of the outcome in Thailand, they had given the go-ahead for a surrogacy attempt. Now they heard that once again twins were expected, this time on the roof of the world. The massive 2015 earthquake in Nepal devastated much of the surrounding area of Kathmandu, plus many ancient temples and monuments in the city itself and for some time Andi and John didn’t know whether their surrogate or their babies had survived.

With the happy news that all was well, once more Andi kissed his family goodbye and set off, hoping that this time all would be well and he’d be home again soon with a new brother and sister for the children. But once again his attempt to bring the children home was thwarted by delays and difficulties and it was five months before he was able to bring the babies home. The babies passports were only issued after locals organised a ‘Witch Hunt’, his own Nepali visa had expired and the unexpected death of his mother.

It took Andi and John three and a half years to fulfil their dream of a family and during that time eighteen full moons passed while Andi remained stranded in India, Thailand and Nepal, waiting to bring their children home. As he waited the moon was so often his comfort and companion. He would sit and look at it, thinking of home and trusting that all would be well and that, no matter what it took, the children were coming home.

For John, holding the fort at home, it was a long, painful wait, while the other side of the world Andi went through hell – frightened, alone and facing hostility, prejudice and obfuscation. But he also found friendship, kindness and support and it was these that he would remember. And when he finally arrived back with the twins in December 2015, the journey over and the family together, it brought with it a wonderful sense of completion. All five children became British citizens and at last Andi and John could look to the future.