A Week In The Life: Part 2

Ooh, look at me actually sticking to a blogging-resolution for a second week running!

First of all – massive congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Buchberger! My dear friend Monica got married this week in a gorgeous fairytale German castle – I wish I could have been there but finances couldn’t stretch to it, sadly. It looks like they had an amazing day and I wish them the greatest of happily ever afters.

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Me and Monica in the German sunshine a year ago

Right, onto my life. Well… not a lot has gone on this week, to be honest.

Teddy and I are turning into a right pair of creatures of habit. Same pattern of baby groups, coffees (for me, not Ted, though he has a good go at getting the cup out of my hand), and tearing round the house on a mission to get every single cupboard bare by the end of the week (Ted, not me).

This past week marked the end of Camp NaNoWriMo for 2017. And, um, I failed.

I know. I failed a NaNoWriMo. First time for everything, I suppose. I’m not counting November 2016 – I never started. Bit busy having a baby on November 1st, you see. I was determined to make up for it by doing Camp, which I very rarely do. I thought “Oh, this’ll be fine. Ted naps. He sleeps through the night. Plenty of time to do some writing.”

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Look at that shameful stats graph.

I could make plenty of excuses. I’m not inspired while Ted’s asleep. I went back to work and that took a lot out of me. I have to use the time while Ted’s sleeping to clean the house and do other things.

All valid-ish, I suppose.

But in reality, I was just too lazy. When Ted’s asleep – like when I do most of my blogging, I wrote most of this post in my local Starbucks – I want to chill out. I started writing a new book; I was too lazy to put the effort into properly establishing the characters. I went back to an old one; I was too lazy to get back into my main character’s head and sort out her problems. I tried another old one; I was too lazy to deal with the two main characters and their romantic entanglements and unrequited love situation.

I only managed 15,494 words in the end. I’ve never dipped below the 50,000 word mark before, even in 2011 when I wrote over 10,000 words in about four hours on the last night.

Maybe by the time proper NaNoWriMo comes around in November I’ll be a bit more disciplined. Though I’m not going to count on it; we’re in Disneyland Paris for the first three days, for Ted’s birthday. Not exactly a NaNoWriMo-friendly environment!

Anyway, in other news, Ted turned nine months old – I’ve done a whole blog post about his various triumphs and increasing big-boy-ness. He really is speeding towards toddlerhood; he even did some standing unsupported the other day. Admittedly, he didn’t know he was doing it – he was very distracted by some singing at the Waterstones baby group. But I was very proud anyway.

He’s been doing a bit more ‘walking’, too. He’s been walking while holding things for ages, pretty much since he started crawling at about six months old. He used to like holding out his hands so I’d grab them, and he’d toddle along towards me. But since he decided he’s a fully independent grown-up baby, he’s refused to do that. If it wasn’t his precious VTech walker, he wouldn’t walk across the floor, only holding onto the sofa or shelves (or the wall, or the door, or a table…) but this week we hit some kind of breakthrough. He’ll walk holding my hands, or Kev’s hands… as long as he’s going away from us. Which leads to a very inelegant shuffle from me as he powers along on his little legs.

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Here’s a picture of my wonderfully daft child playing with a spoon and a candle. Because apparently they make the most beautiful music together. I would like to point out I did not give him either of those objects. Niffler.

Other than that… I shall freely admit that the high point of my week was Game of Thrones. Yes, every week I get up at two o’clock in the morning and watch it ‘live’, as it were – streamed at the same time as in the US at any rate. Don’t worry, I’m not going to start spoiling things all over the place, considering it’s literally just started its normal-time stream here in the UK but… wow. Just wow. It’s not really a Game of Thrones spoiler to say that there’s a battle scene, but it was a bloody immense battle scene. And one of my favourite characters (hint: not Robson) had a major part in it.

Oh, it was glorious.

Usually the big awe-inspiring moments of Game of Thrones tend to come in the penultimate episode of each season, with the last episode reserved for mopping up. I can’t wait to see what those episodes hold this season, if that was only episode four.

Anyway, that was my not-so-exciting week. Hopefully this coming week will be a bit more lively – we’ve got a few things planned, including – drumroll, please – Ted’s nine month check-up with the health visitor! Told you it was going to be thrilling. I bet you’re all on the edge of your seats.

New Flat of Beauty and Joy (and broken toilets and ovens and washing machines)

Poor NaNoWriMo has been left a little by the wayside in the past few days: I’ve had other priorities. Namely, moving from the somewhat mouldy mice-filled slug-infested terrace into a beautiful, clean, shiny flat. I’ll get back to the writing in the next few days – come on, I’ve made up more ground than this before. Right now, this flat is the most important thing.

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“Christ on a bicycle, they’ve made it to the sofa!”

A couple of months ago, I stood in my living room and shrieked semi-coherently at the silvery slug-trails on my sofa.

While they’d kept to the floor and the floor alone, it had been just about bearable. I hadn’t gone barefoot in my own house for a good year, but hey – who needs chilly feet?

Then in the same week as the slugs gained new ground downstairs, my husband spotted a mouse sneaking down the side of the wardrobe in our bedroom. A somewhat screechy panic-buy of traps and bait later, we realised that enough was enough. We had to move.

You’d think we’d have realised that a bit sooner – the walls were so damp, we had multi-toned wallpaper. But the rent was cheap (as in, ridiculously cheap), and our landlord paid our council tax. We managed to kid ourselves for over three years that the place was OK, that we’d deal with the problems eventually.

We didn’t. And finally, a couple of months back we gave in to the inevitable and started looking for a new place.

Don’t get me started on house-hunting. Horrible experience. You need the killer instinct, the one that me and Kev are sadly lacking.

Finally, after being shafted at least once and shown around some absolute mouldy dives, we found our beautiful, shiny new flat. It’s only ten minutes from the old place, but it could be in a different city: there are trees! Green spaces! Nobody seems to have an old mattress in their garden!

The flat itself is in a modern block of ten, only about ten years old. It’s very secure – fob-gated parking, coded doors, video intercoms, the works. Our flat has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen-diner with a balcony (a proper balcony with a table and chairs, not just a little Juliet-balcony).

When we first saw it, the previous tenants were still in; a youngish couple with a toddler. The place was a bit of a mess, a bit cluttered, but I could see the potential.

Now we’re in there, and all our stuff has been put in and attacked with dusters and hoovers, it’s gorgeous.

Of course, the previous tenants had to leave their mark (and not just in the form of the giant fluffy toy husky who now has pride of place in our living room). They managed to break the oven and one of the toilets, and reduce the other toilet to a lottery as to whether it would fill without growling and shaking the building. They overfilled the expensive washing machine to the point where the drum has come loose and makes a terrific noise whenever it’s switched on.

But our new landlady is fabulous. It’s all been fixed already, except for the washing machine which will be done soon (it works; it’s just noisy). Our brand new oven is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Coming from the 70s-style oven with no window and a wonky gas supply, and only one properly-working ring on the hob, I barely know what to do with myself. I can cook again! My cakes will no longer be diagonal!

I’ve got all these marvellous ideas about batch-cooking and freezing and baking, immense domesticity that will probably never come to fruition, but hey, I’m going to try.

And don’t get me started on the sofa. Or the bed. Both of them came with the flat, and I’m in heaven. A king-sized bed with a beautiful wooden headboard and footboard. A leather L-shaped sofa that can seat six. Oh, I’m in heaven. Whenever I sit on that sofa, I never want to get up again.

It’s been so hard to get up and go to work for the past two days: I never want to leave the beautiful flat. I want to spend my days on my lovely sofa, snuggled into the quilt my mum made, working my way through the newly-unpacked shelves full of books.

Sadly, real life is calling…