My day off

Firstly apologies for an absence of two days. I felt guilty for this time off – sorry once again. Well where was I? Okay, I can’t leave the house midweek, even with Sindy’s help as she has her midday breaks. I am officially house bound. We do go out at weekends as a family but that is more sporadic as a rule. Well I spent 2 nights in London, two very relaxing nights. Time well spent compiling a memoir that I have written. Plus a couple of hours on the town.

These fortnightly breaks have evolved out of needing a sheer break every so often. John of course goes into work daily and returns home exhausted. There’s not a lot to talk about in the twilight hours of the weekdays. Sindy of course has a home to go to and all weekends off, so there’s just me at the house twenty four seven. It’s unlike the early days of children when it’s just so full on – Sindy has a great regiment at home and is happy every two weeks to stay over her lunchtime break. This has allowed two nights to myself to relax and reminisce, or venture out to London’s Soho or the late night scene in Vauxhall. We still have the apartment in London hence every two weeks I ‘escape to the big smoke’.

I went out on Wednesday night ‘Wodins day’ and had an early night on Thursday. I am sure that you have guessed it and I did promise to fill you in on the days of the week and their histories. You already know the sound of the word Thursday and you don’t have to look very far for the God that Thursday is named after. The one and only Thor, god of thunder! Our little boy has extra credence for having his very own ‘Thor’s day’ each and every week.

Now there is some academic discussion on Friday. It’s another Norse God and this time it’s a woman. Firstly there is some debate as the name of the Goddess Frigg doesn’t really anglicise well! It’s just one of those words that doesn’t quite sound right in the spoken English language. So Frigga’s day (Friday), some are associating with another God Freya from another Germanic tribe! The two names are both associated with being the wife of Odin. As we know, Freya is a popular name here in the U.K. today and as it happens, it was one of our girl name choices that was considered before Aaliyah was born. The name Freya that is, not Frigg.

Sat on the train now headed back to ‘the shires’. Back in time no doubt to rustle up the children’s dinner.

I’ll tell you all about it later.

The Two Boiled Eggs

All upstairs now and our nanny has just left. Time to maybe break some eggs! The entire school was participating in ‘Well Being Day’ so sweet… everyone had to dress their egg up as a small baby and look after her or he for the whole day. That’s so thoughtful, the idea of children behaving responsibly and caring for their own little egg.

Well big or small – it always comes back to the little things doesn’t it! Nite nite.

The Two Boiled Eggs cont’d

No the eggs were not for breakfast. But breakfast is the start of our day as a family. Sindy arrives Monday to Friday at 7am. I am usually found in the kitchen slumped over the Nespresso machine. Two shots of the dark brown pod – the strongest one in the range (I think), a spoonful of brown sugar and a small dash of full fat milk, that’s how I like it. She will disappear upstairs and dress Thor, Aaliyah and Caleb (often referred to as the little ones). The girls come down in their jimjams as they dress in their school uniform after breakfast. It’s usually a race with all three girls as to who gets the say ‘good morning Dadda’ first. This morning it was Tara as she flings her open arms around me and hugs as if she hadn’t seen me in days. Secondly was Aaliyah who also flung her arms around me screaming another ‘good morning Dadda’ and thirdly it was Amritsar with an equally happy to see me kind of display. By this time the spoons are on the table in each of their place settings, a coloured plastic beaker containing orange squash and their individual bowls filled with Pingu flakes. The boys follow in with Sindy and rush to their designated seats. Milk is poured and Tara always pipes up ‘can we have a second bowl Dadda’? I always reply ‘yes, of course Tara’ and this morning we followed with rice crispies. Amritsar asks me ‘what day if the week is it’ and Tara asks ‘is it the weekend yet’, it’s Wednesday I tell them and no it’s not the weekend yet.

Somehow we got on to the subject of why the days of the week are called what they are and then on to what their names meant! They all kind of know the meanings of their names, but every now and then I get request for a reminder. Well I believe that Wednesday is named after the Norse God Odin (The other Thor’s other dad) and as he was referred to as Wodin in the Germanic regions. Wednesday is essentially Wodins day. Well we did each and every day of the week, but maybe I will update you later each day to come for the next six days… now on to their names and the meanings.

I’ll have to give you a little background before we progress in order for things to make sense. Amritsar and Tara were born in Mumbai and our egg donor was an Indian woman and as a result they are Anglo (Irish) Indian. In respect to the lineage we thought of the name Tara which in both Gaelic and Hindu means star (and she really is our precious little Star).

The name Amritsar is in fact a place on the borders of India and Pakistan. You have probably heard of it as it is a very holy place for the Sikh religion. The most holy golden temple is at its heart. The word Amrit is actually a Hindu boys name and Amrit means ‘food of the gods’, a little like manna from heaven (for God and the Israelites)! so Amritsar is the place of Amrit. And I have always thought it is a very beautiful name. Don’t you?

When it came to naming Thor, I was friendly with a gay couple from Norway who had just had a baby girl. One of the guys was called Törgeir and I believe that Tör is a very popular name in Norway. I kind of liked the anglicised version Thor (aside from super heroes). In fact I met a few people from Norway on my travels and each and every one of them were great. John loved the name too. The God of Thunder – he certainly is.

Finally we felt that Hebrew names would be appropriate with Aaliyah and Caleb as an Israeli agency helped with the surrogacy of our younger twins. Aaliyah means ascended and Caleb is the word for faithful. Both children were in fact born on the roof of the planet in the shadows of Mount Everest. The two names just seemed appropriate.

Back to the Two boiled eggs then… It seems that every child at the girls school has to bring in a hard boiled egg today! Why, I haven’t a clue. We’ll find out later on this afternoon when the girls get home. I can’t wait.

Two x Five Kiss and hugs later

Well the day is at an end. John arrived home late after a long day at a meeting in SE London. A nostalgic meal of salads and charcuterie that was reminiscent of our August holiday in Provence and now hauled up in front of the television. Do people still call it that? Am I out of synch for not calling it the TV? And does it really matter?

Our nanny Sindy was called away early today as there was a birth in the family – aaaah… so I put the not so famous five to bed after letting them stay up late on the premise that they would go straight to sleep and not stay up late chatting and fooling around! It is a school night after all. Twenty minutes in and a very loud ‘get into your beds NOW’ from me – things have settled down, but only after a second set of ‘kiss and hugs’ to each and every one.

Yes Provence was our first successful introduction to the swimming pool. After a lot of screams and drama, all of our children were swimming the doggy stroke. Well with armbands at least to begin with. The first one to jump in with just her flotation jacket was Aaliyah. She is a very determined young lady, fearless. Thor of course saw an opportunity to ‘covet’ yet more stuff (he loves to covet things) so he promptly added her armbands to his, grabbed the watermelon rubber ring and got into the swimming pool, splashed about for a moment and then started screaming ‘i’m sinking, I’m sinking’… I’m really looking forward to the pool in Devon at half term.

That’s all folks.

Just back from School

The girls just back from another gruelling day of reading, art class and sums. All a bit hyper as we’ve just decided to visit a friends holiday cottage in two weeks time in East Devon. And they’ve said they will keep the outside, heated pool nice and warm for our visit. It does go cold for the winter but it’s heat is generated from their biomass, as is the underfloor heating in the cottages. Such a good idea the biomass – why aren’t they more popular in rural areas! Alistaire and Lorna are great hosts and they first met our clan when the little ones were still small babies. It’s good to have something to look forward to isn’t it?

Backtracking on the day. Breakfast in the week consists of a couple of bowls of cereals – generally amassing to the equivalent of an entire box of cornflakes or rice crispies. To be honest, we buy the Tesco (supermarket) generic ones, unless Kellogg’s are on special. With a penguin on the cornflake packet, we call them ‘Pingu Flakes’ and the multigrain boulders are nicknamed ‘Bear Bear Boulders’ after Thor’s teddy bear Mi Mi. Why Mi Mi you ask! Well mi mi is a Thai word that means bear bear. In Thailand a lot of words are spoken twice, especially names of people and bears that you are rather fond of. Now you’re thinking, why a Thai name? Well Thor, although being Caucasian was born in Thailand back in 2014. When John came out to visit us he brought with him a white Harrods teddy bear. I asked Thor’s nanny Ameena what was the Thai word for bear and Mi Mi was named. A very fitting name for Thor’s bestest ever friend and companion. They have been inseparable ever since. I look back at photos and smile. Mi Mi looks much larger than our sleepy baby Thor. And he looks so clean and pristine. Now Thor is a lot bigger and Mi Mi a little less pristine, grey and all kind of squishy and out of shape – one very loved little bear!

Dinner time coming up and the children are having spaghetti with puttanesca (an Italian sauce made with tomatoes, olives, onions, anchovies, garlic and capers). The children also love a good snowstorm of parmesan on top – well who doesn’t. Tasty!

Better fly as there’s lots to do.

Off to bed

It’s been a pretty non eventful closure to the day. John arrived home exhausted from his daily commute to the city of London and at this point is completely comatose on the sofa.

I have just walked through the kitchen and breathed in the very heady aroma of tonight’s Thai yellow curry with chicken. And I took the time to skin and de-bone chicken drumsticks. Breast meat might be the easy option, but the taste and texture of leg or thigh is a world apart… Yes I COOK. And my big thing is to produce a (non) takeaway that is better and tastier than I ever get presented with when we order in.

Our favourite pizza is from Firezza but I like to mimic – I make a great pizza dough, sauce and toppings. As for a Chinese menu, I will considerately reconstruct ingredients from our favourite dishes from Lee’s Chinese takeaway in West London (special fried rice and prawn, chilli and green beans are a particular favourite) – we don’t really need to order in do we? Well, we’re living in the shires now! So who cares?

Thai curries are a specific favourite – John is an Irish man and he loves his spuds, so the idea of a Thai curry with potato as an official ingredient, he loves it, as do I! Always the spice mix / paste is completely home made – the secret is to mince your onion, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, chilli, turmeric etc en masse and bag up in sandwich bags and freeze until the desire for a yellow curry arises! Come on guys this takes 20 minutes to produce in the robo chef / food processor and you can avoid the idea that shop purchased jars of cook in sauce are actually acceptable – They are NOT. Whatever day of the week, there is pride in what we cook, especially in what we cook for others.

Sleepy now so nite nite.

Another Jam for the provisions cupboard

This phenomena in my life started soon after moving to ‘The Shires’ from my prior life in London. Even before the children were born, I attempted blackberry jam and to my dismay – I was rubbish at it. Three times I re boiled the stewed fruit and that is after bottling and sterilising the jam jars thrice. All I had was blackberry syrup. I felt like giving up but I am rather glad that I stuck with it. After the set of today’s Apple jam – manna from heaven. I will no doubt revisit Jam making on this blog again and again – but don’t let that put you off reading this as ‘Jam is funky’ and everybody loves it…

Okay that aside, it’s Monday and the beginning of the children’s school runs. Now coming from London I never saw the point of driving. That plus for as long as I’ve known John, he’s done all of the driving. When we met he had a Golf GTI and Kawasaki ZZR 600 motorbike. Through the years that combined with the Tube and in more recent years London busses, there was just no reason at all to drive. As a couple we ended up enjoining the luxury of a BMW X5 4 x 4, but when John found out the second set of twins were on their way he panicked and looked frantically for a seven seater option. We now enjoy the delights of a Mitsubishi Shogun. So our nanny Sindy is on the insurance and fully accommodates the weekday school and preschool runs.

The three little ones are at present on their midday nap! All parents enjoy the peaceful time when the toddlers nap but Thor is coming on four years of age and Aaliyah and Caleb are six months his junior. This arrangement will not be lasting much longer. Well, as most parents do – we’ll enjoy it for as long as it lasts. So a recap on the school runs and our nanny Sindy very much in control, I do at times feel a little redundant. And having flash points of catering breakfast, lunch and dinner, my time is freed up to pursue fine dining options for John and indeed the children, plus a career in the arts of Jam making. ‘Dadda’s Jams’ are definitely a massive hit with the children plus the family and friends know what they’re getting for Christmas.

The provisions cupboard is well and truly ‘Jammed Up’!