Story Blog

Codine's off for the moment, but if you haven't read 'Turning Stones' it's still up there - free read!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

30th December 2011

"I wish I had four eyes."

Nothing to do with anything but a marvelous one-liner apropos of absolutely nothing courtesy of Leo which I thought would do wonders for the opening of a short story. (No short story to follow, just yet.) Have a few pics somewhere but at the moment pics be damned, I must tell you about  the fantastic meal we just had. In fact, all we've done since hitting terra firma here is eat, so it's a wonder our hides still contain us. Pie and Makoto took us to a 'Serbian Fusion' restaurant (yes, I know, sounds like an oxymoron in the making but it was great). EVERYTHING (apart from the olives) was delicious. Consumed softest octopus ever in a great and slightly piquant tomato sauce. Cheeses galore, all soft, some like clotted cream, some great goat's cheese with herbs, some in a 'Serbian Salad' which is vaguely like a Greek salad without olives and cucumbers and rather more cheese and tomatoes. 'Serbian Meat Plate' with (again) extremely soft meat of all sorts... In fact the fare was all so tenderly cooked I'd almost be suspicious of the dental facilities if I hadn't experienced it first hand recently. OK I guess technically that was a different country. In any case, we're all more than pleasantly rounded and the kids have just gone to bed at 9 o'clock after playing Wii for a good while, so full day all  round.



Though I haven't told you what happened before that. The entire morning disappeared in various work activities for all kids concerned - Reading, Righting and 'Rithmetic... probably Roaring, Rolling and Retching would also be appropriate but we'll concentrate on the former. Then we went to a shopping centre where they had the most excellent ride-on stuffed ponies (I'll post up pics later) and they went to ANOTHER playcentre. After which, out to a park, where we all got brilliantly muddy and played frizbee, fooball and falling in the mud and leaves. This took us up to about 4 o'clock, after which coming home, scraping off the mud, tidying up and playing a bit of Wii and there we are, restaurant time and woops, 9pm and I really must get off the computer because it:s in the same room as Lara's sleeping in. Didn't want to let too many days go by without checking in, though.

The Wonderful Bouncing Walking Horses

This one was particularly speedy! 

At the park later - football... 

snack-time in Dino Land

and put the whole lot of 'em on the outdoor exercise machines!

Hope everyone is well, snogs all round from Full Tummy Land.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 28th 2011

We:ve come to  Belgrade, and very nice it is too. Most of yesterday was spent on the train - left at 11 from Zagreb and got to BG at about 5:30.  Here:s Lara on the train. She was remarkably well behaved, really, particularly considering I seemed to be suffering from some sort of sleeping sickness the whole day, and ended up going to bed at about 8 with the children, simply couldn:t bear to be up any longer. 

Everything was very foggy outside and traveling endlessly through flat, inscrutable mist was slightly surreal.

Today we took the day to :do the town: (can:t find the apostrophe or the quotation mark, so there we are, the colon is going to stand in for everything. Not a bad punctuation solution really, would put an end to many problems for a large percentage of people.)

Here are Lara and Leo outside the Pie:s palatial Residence. Has a new pool n:all. 

Here they are in front of the fort Kalemegdan. Don:t ask me about the details. I can:t even find the apostrophe. ' AHHH!! FOund it! ''' 

We made a bit of a mistake waiting for a bus that never came (story of my life) and got chilled to the bone, so we were very glad of the comfort of pizza and soup in an underground cellar somewhere in the bowels of BG. a little further down, I think.

This one somehow reminds me of Pooh getting stuck half-way through Rabbit's front door....

Tanks! Stuff! Excitement.

Somewhere in the mist in the background is Belgrade and the Danube...

The Yak is a hardy animal...

Ah, and pizzas duly cleared

 Morning cuddles with girls

And that's about it for  tonight, I think. Lots of kisses from yet another part of the world.

Monday, December 26, 2011

25th December 2011

When you wake up at 2:30 on Boxing Day morning and suddenly find that you prefer tea with lemon rather than milk, you know that a) you should go to bed later and b) you're probably no longer British. Or perhaps the milk's just off.

I just downloaded my pics from the last few days but they're pathetic. Lara's pics, on the other hand, with her new 'Lara Camera', looked great. However it may be difficult to retrieve them as by 7 o'clock on Christmas Day she dropped it on the floor and the lense is now stuck sideways like an elephant's trunk in a traffic accident. Lucky it came with a three-year-no-quibbles replacement warranty... so if you see that Lumix has gone out of business in the next few months you'll know why.

The Pie stayed until the 23rd, and the kids had a riot. Lara and Leo in particular became joined at the hip, we barely saw the lot of them for hours on end. Just the occasional screech of hilarity coming from behind closed doors.

Her latest 'thing' (as of the 24th and 25th) is going on massive walks in the woods. Yesterday we barely got back before it got completely dark. She's suddenly decided that she can move those little stumps of hers at an absolutely pelting rate up and down hill – I can think of plenty of adults who would have had trouble keeping up with her.

Christmas dinner was turkey here, mainly prepped by Yours Truly and (although I say it myself) rather tasty. Roasted the wee beastie on her sides like a sunbathing beauty, and the legs got a little toasty but the breasts and rest were fine specimines of succulence. We seem to have done little but eat and drink the whole time we've been here, in fact. Last night's tuna steaks were pretty divine, too. It's lucky I managed to resist eating them raw with soy sauce and wasabi before they hit the table – well, at least, not all of them. Just a nibble. Mmm. Crazy good fish. Somewhere there's  a picture of the 5kg monster salmon we had the other day – looked bigger than Lara.

OK nearly 3 o'clock now and I've finished my lemon tea, so I might see about bed again. Seasonal cheers all round. Christmas admonishments from Lara: 'we can get up, but if you hear Ho Ho Ho, jump back into bed.'

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

20th December 2011 - ish (Monday and Tuesday, I think)

I'll write something about these a little later... must go and get changed now...

Monday, December 19, 2011

18th December 2011 (Sunday)

It was snowy yesterday morning, and Lara lost no time making a table-top snowman. 

Today, Sanja and kids arrived - hurrah! (as Lara put it, 'Sanja McHirose' - pronounced Mc High Rose) and the kids played all afternoon. Shortly after the picture below, they all went to choose a Christmas tree. No doubt tomorrow will be spent in a large part decorating it. 

I came into the sitting room to find them all playing bingo. 

Not in a hugely writing mood so I'll let the pics speak for me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Somewhere round the 16th or 17th December 2011

Friday Morning over Zagreb

Well, of course, strictly speaking it's the 17th as I type this but the whole passage-of-time thing is a bit confusing when you're travelling west round half the globe. As the Littles put it: Mummy why is the night so LONG? I tried to explain but it sounds even more confusing once its out of one's mouth. A pretty long trip, for certain. All in all it took about 38 hours door-to-door, I reckon.

We left home at about 10 in the morning on the 14th. Train to Sydney. Here's Lara on the train having a story about Beanie Kids told to her. Funnily ehough, they were on a trip to China and then to Europe. Got into terrible scrapes along the way, and ate a hell of a lot of marmalade sandwiches.  

 Now I think this one might be Sydney airport, but frankly it's all a blur. Having left home at 10, our flight left just before 5pm, and then a 7 hour flight to Singapore. Lara being a model of good behaviour for the vast majority of the time, obeying instructions and even managing to pull along what was (for her) a sizeable suitcase. Which was just as well because I would have been in a pickle otherwise. The only hiccough came just after I found out that a tube of cream I had packed for the trip wasn't quite small enough, and had it confiscated. (130ml capacity instead of 100ml). Oh well, silly me, shame about the cream. The Woops factor came when she took it into her head that the security guy was a terrible man who had stolen Mummy's cream and ought to be LOCKED IN PRISON... took quite a while to get her unrooted from the area and moved on. Apart from that single incident, she was pretty much the Model of Perfect Behaviour and Patience throughout.

Here she is eating Turkish ice-cream in Istambul airport for breakfast at 8 in the morning. Yes, we like to be healthy, as you can see - and we like to use trollies as seats. Well, it was handy for me as I could keep an eye on and manouver everything all at once - baggage and child.  This section had been the longest, with 12 hours on the flight from Singapore and then five or six waiting in Istanbul for the final connection. We were reasonably zonked, to tell the truth. I had also by this time discovered that (provided one is small and skinny enough) one can quite happily put one's child on the two aeroplane seats and tuck her up to sleep, and snuggle down on the floor space parallel. Sounds drastic but it worked, and was a solution that included No More Neck Cramps. However, by about this point even Lara was looking forward to a good hot bath. (Hmm.. why would I phrase that 'even' Lara?) 

The last flight was almost literally a piece of cake by comparison. Actually the cake was served to us on the preceeding flight - the last flight was a sandwich but it just doesn't sound the same, does it. Oh, excitement... On this trip, Lara has added THREE new items to her comestibles repertoir: scrambled eggs, mozarella, and chocolate mousse. I introduced the former two with the encouragement that 'they're a bit like tofu, you'll like it'  - and with that, she did. Hurrah! Textures are being conquered, slowly but surely. One day we might move off plain roast meat and chunks of veg.

In any case, lovely to be picked up and taken to a REAL house. Worked out I hadn't been there for over 8 years, and the place has in fact grown almost out of recognition. There's a whole new upstairs area whose orientation to the rest of the house I still can't work out (but don't tell anyone or they'll just say Oh you're such a Girl). Mind you I don't feel all that bad about it because apparently even the visiting electrician complained that he needs a map for this house. The crevices are positively Narnian.

Lara has been entranced by the animals. Here she is with the budgies. 

By far her favourite, though, are the cats. Four of them - all of whom she named withing about 6 minutes of arrival. (They didn't have names in particular). Here she is with them in 'cat corner'. She talks to them with a seriousness normally reserved for the lecture theatre, and they purr ardently in return.

I spent the moring in the dentist's chair - and if I can scan my resultant x-ray later I'm very tempted to pop it up here and 'share' because it's just SO impressive. Poke poke poke, can't get to the root, can't get there, can't get there - GOT IT. Two and a half hours of mouth wide open with no respite left me walking out of the surgery with a huge crease down my face, but well worth it. Having woken up at 2:30 a.m. with the predidctable jet lag, it was almost relaxing sitting there with nothing but dental chatter in the background and a half-numb eyeball from extreme anasthetics.

Later on, we went for a bit of a walk towards the woods. Lara was hugely keen, and I have a sneaking suspicion it's mainly because she thinks she was a good chance of seeing BEARS and SQUIRRELS and possibly WOLD PIGS and other unnamed but hope-for animals crashing out of the undergrowth at her. We didn't see any of those, but there were some turkies, and some chickens, and a very insistent cat who followed us for a good long way.

Well, nothing in particular, this hut, but I thought it was picturesque.

This morning, it was.... snowing!

A bit slushy, and it'll melt but still, it's a start. She's already been outside in it, building snowmen in on the table-top.

Here she is, eating breakfast at 4 a.m. - much better than yesterday, as that was at 2:30. Mind you, we still woke up at the same time, just managed to stay in bed for a little longer.

... Very boring post, my apologies. Keep being interrupted but wanted to let people-wot-might-be-wanting-to-know that we're all OK and slap up a few pics.

She's more and more like Paddington Bear by the day. Just a few minutes ago I went on a search for her round the house, and found her in the upstairs bathroom with sleeves rolled up, the sink full, and every possible receptacle around the place filled with water. 'I'm having trouble getting the plug out,' she explained, as I pushed down the stopper. So she'd been busy bailing out the sink into the tooth-brush holder, the top of the shaving foam, and even the decorative shell.

That's enough of that.