'Excuse me, do you speak motherhood?'

Yesterday, at 10.00am, I started a new job: one day a week for the next few months I will be tutoring two community education classes in creative writing.  At 10.32am, I received a message to phone Simon's nursery ('nothing to worry about, but if you could just call us as soon as you can..' Right.) This had never, ever happened before; it felt like a Candid Camera set up.  At 11.00am I found the staff concerned that a rash on Simon's legs might be chicken pox* so I needed to collect him and see our GP.  Fair enough, even though I was sure that said spots were lingering mosquito bites from last week's dash to sunny, sunny Spain...  Cue hasty termination of writing class session; luckily only one student (fabulous lady called Jean) had turned up.  For the first time, I'd really come across the motherhood/work challenge....It's the fitting culmination of a month...
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Living Vicariously

August has been a month of achievements.  Not mine, I (shamefully) hasten to add, and if I can't stand up and be counted for my contribution to life, love and world peace, I will happily do the counting of those who can...On the 15th, Simon had his second birthday and fell madly in love with Elmo (the red one from Sesame Street; I had to look it/him up too).  Life now reverberates to the sound of Elmo's World, a catchy little ditty along the lines of 'da da da dah, da da da dah, Elmo's World...' that lingers in the head FOREVER.  In Simon's current favourite book, Elmo has an ice-cream.  This makes him (Simon that is; I can't speak for Elmo) deliriously happy because the only thing that can push Elmo into second place in Simon's World is ice cream.  Sadly, the only thing that makes him deliriously unhappy is me never being...
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Missed the (MADD) boat!

Missed opportunity, anyone...? I just received a lovely email from a reader who said he had been given a copy of ABBW after seeing it listed in: THE MADS 2012: 'Celebrating the UK's Best Mum and Dad blogs'.http://www.the-mads.com/blog/category/nominations-best-family-travel-blog/I have no idea who nominated me in several categories, and shamefully, I had no idea that these awards even existed - or else I would definitely have been shamelessly canvassing votes.  The voting period is well gone and the finalists announced - congratulations to all!  There are some great stories out there,a dn ones that make me wonder whether my blog was really that eligible...However, thank you to the person(s) who nominated me - feel free to do so again next year and I'll try to have my eye on the ball!!
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Sense and Sniffability

Sunday morning brunch: paratha, stuffed with a chilli and onion omelette.  Before she even takes a bite (snatching it away from Simon's grubby, wiggling fingers and ignoring his anguished howls of 'more, more'...) Jacqui is sniffing madly and looking glazed... It's not the eye-watering onion or the all-powerful chilli, not even the dextrous daintiness (poetic licence for those of you viewing the door-step pictured in the link below) of the rolled-up flatbread.  It's the smell; the spicy, warm, bready, just-cooked-eggy scent of a roadside food stall in rural Bangladesh.  It got us talking about the evocative nature of the sense of smell, that fleeting whiff across the nostrils that has us momentarily in a different place or time.  For Jacqui, Bangladesh was locked inside that paratha, but my Bangladesh wafts on a nostalgic air of RID insect repellent...  Christine had a vat of it with her on that first trip and as it was far superior to mine and she appeared immune...
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The truth, the whole truth and...reviews

I've just read the great reviews of my friend Michael Malone's new crime novel, Blood Tears, (available from Five Leaves now) and he deserves every single one of them - great stuff, Michael!Needless to say, it made me think of my own  - using the term 'review' very loosely to mean any feedback I've ever had - and I've decided I can certainly outdo him in one clear category...Consider my top five from the 'damning with faint praise' school of thought:1      'The main character is just an interesting version of you, isn't she?' 2      'I had an Amazon voucher with £4 left on it.  I had to put 11p to it to buy your book for my Kindle.  It was well worth the 11p.'3        'I couldn't get to the library that week but (a colleague) had a copy she'd got at your book launch so I read that instead of a proper book.'4        'I did like your book.  I know an excellent proof-reader you...
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