Cut,Print…Moving On – Smash Cast.(TV series)

Ok it’s a tenuous link but Sunday is showtunes day and since we appear to have popped up on both the Mirror and Mail online I decided not to reference either specifically in chapter heading.

What did we think? Few basic errors that would have been adjusted online but would have been too late for the print edition. We’re not the only gay couple in the UK to have had a family this way. The IVF clinic we used was in Las Vegas not Los Angeles. TAMBA is the Twin and Multiple Birth Association and once again the timescale was a wee bit adrift on a few things.

But hey-ho that’s the tabloid press for you. Daddy Simon was incredibly restrained and didn’t read the comments that readers felt the need to leave. I did. I would deduce that the Mail trolls are marginally better educated and possibly a little less inbred than the Mirror trolls.

Are we sorry that we did it? Not at all.If it helps another couple achieve their dream of having a family then it was worth it. We’re pretty thick skinned and have breezed through tougher situations than a few unsolicited opinions.

Moving on…

Thursday Morning. We had a lovely man come out to quote for a pack up and removal to – ” ummm – we’re not really sure yet…” He didn’t seem fazed by the lack of an ultimate destination or the fact that Alexandra and Calder were demonstrating how the chariot scene in Ben Hur could just as easily have been done by two noisy toddlers, a couple of kitchen implements and a Fisher-Price push along toy. As the lovely removal man attempted to explain price structure,terms and conditions and ultimately get us to sign on the dotted line in the marginally more peaceful hallway Shouty and Loud had segwayed into the ‘Cellblock Tango’ from other side of the baby gate that barricades them into the kitchen.We agreed that it would be best if he just emailed it all to us later in the day and we got ourselves ready for the rest of the day ahead.

I’m going to type that we all jumped into the family bus and set off but we all know that’s not how it happened. So I’ll fast forward past the scene of getting two very excited kiddiewinks out the door and into the ” WHERE IS THE CAR PARKED? GET OUT OF THERE CALDER! NO THIS WAY, THIS WAY, ALEXANDRA, DO I LOOK LIKE I MIGHT HAVE THE CAR KEYS, I SAID GET OUT OF THERE CALDER!!!!”

Three trips back and forward to the house later and we’re all in the car ready for a day out. Little poppets are strapped into their car seats happy with their Weetabix smoothies. It’s not really a Weetabix smoothie – it’s just the floaty bits from their breakfast that they’ve managed to regurgitate back down the straw of their water bottles. I’m not going back into the house – just make sure they don’t have their bottles in hand when we meet the first letting agent.Daddy Simon fires up the engine and as we pull away the petrol light starts to flash.

‘Gloria-Queen of the South Circular’ is replenished with £60 of unleaded petrol – sixty flippin’ quid!!!! I check under the tank for leaks,replace the evidently faulty hose to the equally corrupt pump, pay the ransom demand and we head off towards the M25.

It’s a reasonably smooth journey and we arrive at our first appointment on time.

It’s been marketed as a three bedroom but it’s difficult to tell what are bedrooms and what are cupboards. I reckon we could probably get about 35% of our belongings in here but the letting agent reminds us that there’s a garage ‘en block’ – but has no idea where it is – and that she could possibly negotiate loft access. We make appropriate ” we’ll think about it noises” and get back in the car – “how much petrol is left” and head over to our next appointment.

We’re early!!!! So we have a look around – Off street parking and garage at side of house. Very handy for the station and peering in through the windows it looks like there is fair amount of space. Letting agent number 2 arrives and shows us around inside.

It could do with a bit of a clean but we agree we could make it work with a few minor alterations. OK – we’re interested but go on to the next viewing with the same agent. I think that he may have forgotten where it is and has decided just to show us round a shoe box that he’s found at the side of the road.

Number two is the hot favourite so we ask if he can double check his assurances that the landlord will be happy for us to have our four legged fireside rug at the property and we head over to viewing number four.

It’s a bit of an odd one, short lease as landlord is looking to sell but it’s been freshly renovated and the online pics look great. But it’s not quite finished – workmen mumble something about the kitchen – that is currently in the garage – will be installed by the weekend.Back garden is very steep – there is a ten foot drop from grass area onto quite a hard concrete patio. Letting agent assures Daddy Simon that the landlord would ‘probably’ put up a fence as Calder looks on with glee at a challenge and I check out quickest routes to nearest A&E’s. It’s a nice house but we agree it’s not for us. Time for a summit meeting and some lunch.

We return to the Whyte Harte and order up some lunch.Then we discover that they don’t have baby changing facilities and at least one baby needs changing. Barman is incredibly unhelpful and I’m sorely tempted to leave but Alexandra and Calder have been incredibly tolerant of the number of times that they’ve been in and out of the car already today – fortunately a more helpful member of staff steps in and offers a less than perfect solution but it’s a solution nonetheless.

Lunch arrives, at the same time that we arrive at a decision – it’s got to be number two. Nice feel to it, ten minute walk from station,sufficient space and storage – somewhere we’d be happy to be at home in for the next year. Daddy Simon is off to a work night out later in the day so decides to line his stomach with a lunch time lager and Daddy Graeme is handed car key and a fresh orange and lemonade. We congratulate ourselves and start to plan out where our furnishings will go in the new house and it’s only when Daddy Graeme goes ” wee-wee” as Calder announces to the rest of the dining clientele that Daddy Simon’s phone rings…

“Dream Family” – 100% spot on!

A Change Would Do You Good – Sheryl Crow.

It’s now Saturday and the last few days have been just that little bit more frenetic than usual.Needless to say ‘Dry January’ is as wet as the Titanic and Kitchen White Board looks like we’re planning to disprove the theory of relativity.

Let’s take a few steps back.

Since the children came along the appeal of living in London Town has lessened somewhat. We’re not far from the South Circular a notorious air pollution hotspot. There have been a couple of stabbings that have taken place a bit closer to home than I’m comfortable with.Our evening and weekend to jaunts up to theatre and music events have lessened some what in the last nineteen months so we’re paying a premium for living in a town that we have not been able to make the most of. It was another of our ongoing conversations that simmered away on the back burner. Common sense dictated that a move should ideally be before the children started formal education but couldn’t be too far out as Daddy Simon would still have to commute into Charing Cross every day. So gently does it. Daddy Simon starts to look at jobs that would enable us to start taking the next steps while Daddy Graeme frequents the ‘Rightmove’ website looking at properties that are so far out of budget that Daddy Simon would have to become the CEO of a large multinational and still have to thoroughly familiarise himself with ‘Insider Trading For Dummies’ to be able to afford. However, as we Berney-Edwards have come to expect,fate intervened.

On our return from the family holiday in October there was a minor disagreement with next door neighbours which left a very sour taste in our mouths and a rumoured restructure in Daddy Simon’s workplace. We decided to take action. “Let’s just get the place valued.” we casually decided.

Five days and a big bucket of white paint later we were on the market. Five days after that we sold to a chain free, cash buyer for a fair price.We were elated – did a happy dance around the kitchen and blew several not very mature raspberries at the eyesore of a fence.(If he can make an assumption, I can have an opinion!)

You can probably see the massive,great hole in the plan already can’t you? We hadn’t really thought that things would happen quite so quickly and therefore hadn’t been bothering our backsides to look for somewhere to move to.

We had another summit meeting and decided that as things were still looking a bit shaky for Daddy Simon the best thing for us to do would be to rent somewhere short term until we saw how the job situation was going to pan out. Renting would give us a good deal more flexibility in relocating if required and we could postpone buying again until we saw what damage Brexit might inflict on the housing market.

That was at the end of November. We let things move along with the sale at a leisurely pace. We enjoyed Christmas and New Year while casually looking at locations,rail links, and properties. There were a couple of other off the wall considerations, mainly sponsored by Gordon’s Gin that were discussed over the kitchen table of a Friday night but harsh reality kicked in on a Saturday morning usually before the paracetamol did and I was back on Rightmove by lunchtime.

So the email that came through on Tuesday evening advising that buyers were ready to exchange contracts on Friday and could probably complete on the following Wednesday shouldn’t really have sent us into the tailspin that it did.Should it?

Now I’ll finish off here as have already appraised you of how the rest of Tuesday evening panned out. Wednesday was an incredibly productive day of planning and we were all ready to spring into action first thing on Thursday morning.

Speaking of springing into action – those you you that are reading this on Sunday morning need to get your shizzle on and go and get your copy of The Sunday Mirror who approached us for an interview.

Come on now don’t put it off – you’re not a Berney-Edwards….

“Why is the food machine empty?”

“No. We said we like tuna on a Wednesday. This is Saturday – we don’t like tuna on Saturdays.”

You Keep Me Hanging On – The Supremes

The Kim Wilde cover was far more my era – but who doesn’t love a bit of Diana Ross? (aside from the two Supremes that she abandoned in her quest for divadom…)

Continuing from Tuesday evening…

Daddy Simon and I have been knocked sideways at bit – we knew this was coming but it’s all picked up speed quicker than we thought and dates proposed are very tight even if I wipe everything off Kitchen Whiteboard. Alexandra and Calder take full advantage of our distraction and seem to go a bit feral. There are numerous toys strewn across the kitchen floor but war has broken out over a calculator that I have given to Calder. He seems quite happy with it – I’m sure that he’s too young to be tapping 5318008 and turning it upside down but he’s giggling at something and it’s really getting to his sister. Alexandra is adamant that she’s having it.I distract her by giving her the remote control for the radio and she’s quiet for a bit – then so is Sara Cox – then Sara Cox gets really loud and so does Alexandra. Daddy Simon and I agree to reconvene once we’ve put them to bed in approx 56 minutes and 37 seconds and attempt to reset the situation by row,row,rowing the boat until sleepy bye-byes time. They’re both shattered and so go down quite easily and by the time Daddy Simon gets back downstairs I’ve poured us a couple of G&T’s and we sit down to decide our road ahead. The road is long and requires another G&T. I think our ‘Dry January’ might have a bit of rising damp. We think that we’ve bought ourselves another week and all sorts of things can be achieved in this massive timescale so webopen a bottle of wine to have with dinner.

Ah yes – dinner – original spinach and chick pea curry has defrosted sufficiently and so I throw it,along with the tinned tomatoes, tinned green lentils and the (probably not really a baby anymore) spinach from the fridge – into a big pan with a few more shakes of curry powder -about 28 or so – and heat through.

Top up wine glasses – and serve dinner. It’s actually not half bad – I should definitely make that again just wish I’d remembered what the original ingredients and quantities were.

Clear plates away and load dishwasher. We’re desperately trying to work through the backlog of programs we’ve recorded but really only have the attention span for light drama/comedy these days.It’s getting late so we split what’s left in the wine bottle between our glasses and select an episode of ” Two Doors Down”.

Sadly our glasses are empty before we get one door down.With a steely determination we agree not to open another bottle – there can only be about ten minutes of the program left so we have a wee sherry each.

“Two Doors Down” is finished and we’ve still got a bit of sherry left so we channel hop for a bit and enjoy the sherry. ( The sherry was bought as a vital ingredient for a Spanish Toad in the hole recipe but it’s palatable enough for a little tipple at the end of an evening.) ” Aircrash Investigations – Chaos In The Cockpit” piques our curiosity and we end up sitting watching it in its entirety.

‘Dry January’ is definitely over. It’s looking unlikely that Daddy Simon will ever get on a plane again and there’s probably not enough sherry left in the bottle to get a badly pronounced ‘Ole’ out of the toad.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

The Man from Del Monte.

Cuddle time!

You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen at Parties – Jona Lewie

Spellcheck has just that changed to John Lewis – not sure if it’s a marketing ploy on their part. Anyway that was an Ikea ship that sailed a few years back probably leaving a few nuts and bolts behind on the quayside.

Tuesday Morning. Had to get up to answer the call of nature at about 0445 – I find that nature calls more often than a PPI salesperson these days – just managed to wrestle back some of the duvet from Daddy Simon and get myself snuggled back down when Nursery FM bursts into life. Daddy Simon shows no sign of stirring so I get up,tweak one of his protruding toes on my way past and go downstairs to investigate.(We’re on second floor and kiddies are on first floor.) Its usually a dummy outage or a bad dream and it can usually be dealt with on ‘Auto-Dad’ mode. Both are sitting up in their respective cots with no real idea of how they got there having a bit of a grizzle. Dummies are relocated and replaced and both snuggle back down the way I did in my own bed five minutes previously. It’s actually a flipping lovely thing to watch – they look so sweet and innocent and I just want to sit and watch them sleep for a bit. However it’s quite chilly and I need to recharge my own batteries so I return to bed where Daddy Simon is also in a deep and innocent looking sleep. I get back into bed,reclaim a bit of the duvet and drift off into a bit of a fitful sleep. I don’t really get the quality hour and a half more that I was hoping for and am probably less than pleasant when the video monitor illuminates the room again.

We head down to the kitchen and get the day started. Tuesdays are generally a day about the house recovering from the excitement of Twins Club on a Monday. Alexandra and Calder will usually have a couple of good naps but it’s looking like this may be all about to change and I’ll have to reshuffle the day around an early afternoon one.

They seem quite happy playing away with only minimal intervention from yours truly. I get on with sorting some dinner for both them and us. I sort out some pesto pasta and feta. Calder’s savage attack on the living herb with a soup ladle would indicate that he wants fresh basil with his. Soup ladle is parked up in ‘Confiscation Station’ and Calder is escorted back to the toy area. I have a rummage in the freezer for our dinner. I’ve pencilled in spinach and chick pea curry on the meal planner – I just need to try and locate it now. As is usually the way when a kitchen appliance is opened,Frick and Frack have appeared at my knees,eager to assist. I come across something that vaguely resembles what I was looking for. I have to bribe Alexandra with the promise that it’s nearly biscuit time (it’s not – it’s still an hour and a half off.) and get her to hand back the tub of Hagen Daz and then escort her back to the toy area. I remove the pack of frozen sausages that Calder has pilfered and is trying to bite his way into and throw them back in the freezer to a backing track of indignant wails from toy area.

We indulge in another tale from that hotbed of gossip,Acorn Wood. Today, like yesterday and probably like tomorrow, Rabbit is trying to have a nap but can’t seem to find a sufficiently peaceful spot in which to do so. I can relate to her plight. Tom the Tractor gets another couple of outings and we run through our Mr Men colours again. I have no recollection of there being a Mr Snow in my youth and wonder out loud if he’s the drug dealer in Mr Men and Little Miss Land. Alexandra and Calder have no interest whatsoever in my concerns and are busy jamming random items into a shape sorter.

I escape back to my side of the kitchen and resume culinary duties. The spinach and chick pea curry is a smaller size than I had remembered so I’ll have to bulk it up a bit. I find a tin of green lentils that I’ve bought in error at some point,some chopped tomatoes and I know that there’s some baby spinach that’s not too far past its use by date in the fridge that I can use up so that’s our dinner sorted – mentally anyway. Just chuck it all in a pan with another few of shakes of curry powder and should be ok. There’s a surplus of bananas to be used up so I quickly mix up the ingredients for a banana loaf – equally distributing the banana chips between Alexandra,Calder, me and the cake batter. I pop the oven on to preheat and it’s only once I’ve poured the mixture into the tin I find that there are not enough banana chips left to decorate the top. Oh well,it’s not like we’re expecting Mary Berry for tea. I won’t put it in the oven until my little treasures are having their nap.They’ve been caught adjusting timing settings and temperature dials in the past and Freddy the Fire Engine isn’t scheduled to be back with us until week three of the toy and book rotation.

Morning milk and biscuits go fairly well and both are pretty compliant about going for a nap at 1030.I’ll take advantage of that whilst I still can and whisk them upstairs before they change their minds.

The Banana Loaf will take about 40 minutes so I can have a crack at the ‘to do bowl’. Yes dear reader, as well as ‘Kitchen Whiteboard’ and a ‘to do pile, there is also a ‘to do bowl’! It’s one big palace of procrastination in here. It’s not as though one has priority over the other mostly the ‘to do bowl’ is for the odder shaped things that won’t sit neatly in the ‘to do pile’ but I’m not above shuffling things that I just don’t fancy doing from one to the other ad infinitum.

There are a couple of the childproof locks from the kitchen drawers and cupboards that weren’t particularly childproof and need to be reapplied. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why having superglue out when the children are out is a good idea.

Early in our relationship,long before we were Daddies,Simon and I thought it romantic to keep the cork from a bottle of fizz and ensure that it was detailed with whatever we had celebrated. We’ve still managed to keep up this tradition. There have been five corks in the ‘To Do Bowl’ since the festive period – so I guesstimate the dates and occasions and pop them in the glass vase that we keep them in. Those of you that know us will have a fair idea of the size of the receptical required now that we’ve been together seven and a half years.

There are some gift receipts, a couple of batteries, a non winning lottery ticket and several, loose fluff covered mints. I’m bored now so I bin the lot – clean the bowl and pop the ‘to do pile’ on the top.

Banana loaf is ready and it’s looking like I’ll have enough time to quickly run the hair clippers over my head a couple of times and jump in the shower before the kiddiewinks are shouting for lunch.

The early part of the afternoon is fairly uneventful it’s only just before tea time that things liven up a bit. Daddy Simon has had a email. The ‘so called’ professionals that are paid huge sums of money to shuffle bits of paper around have shuffled some things a bit faster than we were expecting.

You know that feeling you get as the rollercoaster that you’ve willingly got onto reaches the top of its first steep incline and then it hesitates briefly…

“What’s ‘hat hair’ Daddy?”

“Yo Dad! I’m on hold. Chuck me over a custard cream,would ya?”

Club Tropicana – Wham.

Monday is Twins Club day. Now nobody panic I don’t rock up in a pair of white speedos with a Pina Colada in my hand. I just thought it was a much more cheerful title for a chilly January morning than ‘Blue Monday’.

Having a day at home yesterday has enabled me to nudge ahead on a couple of Monday morning chores – Kitchen White Board is written up for the week and washing is fairly up to date.Breakfast has been unusually mess free – Alexandra must have been hungry as she has managed to feed herself rather than sitting back and expecting to be spoon fed as is normally her way. Daddy Simon has a later than usual start so he takes care of the kiddies’ morning ablutions and gets them dressed allowing me to get myself showered and dressed. A quick hop on the scales is not good news. Christmas Cake and New Year shortbread have joined forces with holiday beer and are weighing heavily on my waistline. Time for action. I’ve plenty of time today so I decide to walk up to Twins Club. It’s two and a half miles and I can usually do it in about forty five minutes. I rejoin the family downstairs and let Daddy Simon get himself ready for his day ahead. Whilst Alexandra and Calder are fully occupied banging the shortbread biscuit tin with a fish slice and a soup ladle I take the opportunity to do the toy-box and book rotation – “Bye Bye Fluffy Bear’s Magic Handbag – see you in 3 weeks!” Kiddiewinks decide to do a full on, everything out on the floor, audit of this week’s toys and books. I recite the thrilling tale of ‘Tom the Tractor’ from memory as I reclaim the household fish slice and soup ladle and pack up the nappy bag with an assortment of ‘just in case’ items for the day ahead.

Now the fifteen minute buffer that I had five minutes ago seems to have become an ‘I’m running ten minutes late’. I up the pace a bit – I delegate the task of catching and securing our little cherubs into the buggy and as they scream their indignation I have one of my ‘ can’t find my keys/phone /wallet’ dances at the front door.Daddy Simon smugly enquires as to whether every trip to Twins Club starts like this and I have no pithy retort – invariably it does. I shoot him a filthy look and mutter something about taking care not to get run over by a bus or anything and power on off up the hill.I consider reneging on the idea of walking and just jumping on a bus – I could always walk back –

TINKY WINKY!!! I should have said he looks like a big purple Teletubby in that jumper! I’ve not got time to go back and shout it through the letterbox so I’ll just have to store it in the insult bank for later.

The bus stop is very busy. there are already a couple of parents with buggies jockeying to get on first and the last bloke in the queue looks like he got up and dressed sometime in 1973 and hasn’t seen a razor,a barber or a bar of soap since. I’ll just walk fast – it’ll burn more calories and I’m sure we’re not that late.

There are a number of routes we can take – I take the most direct with least distractions. Calder gets plenty of opportunity to practice his observation skills and vocabulary and he points out many,many ‘cars’ and ‘hats’

The Twins Club itself is held in a church hall in the more affluent area of Blackheath.As we make our way along past the shops – the nail bars and fried chicken establishments become fewer and Beauty Salons, restaurants and shops with expensive,gorgeous things start to pop up. It’s at this point that the reasons that we can’t have expensive,gorgeous things start to bellow for their mid-morning milk.

They finish off just before we arrive.This gives me time to clean them up a bit and pop a couple of paracetamol myself in an attempt to prevent the inevitable headache thar comes as part of the Twins Club deal.

We’ve been coming here since early September last year. It is a great idea as the kiddies get a good sized area to run about in and a great selection of toys to amuse themselves with. It’s very well organised and the two hours is simply structured with a free play and snack time, singalong and movement segment and a craft corner. There is a wide cross section of Mums,Dads,Grandparents and Childminders in attendance with their charges who range in age from birth up to school age. It’s never hugely busy so everyone gets a fair chance at all the toys and although were all still responsible for the supervision of those that we bring along, there is still plenty of opportunity to trade tips and share woes.

One of my main worries is always that some poor kid will fall victim to the thuggish behaviour Alexandra and Calder indulge in at home, but so far so good. They’ll still knock the living daylights out of one another while we’re there but Alexandra seems to keep all others at bay with ‘that’ look she has and most of the time Calder is off in his own wee world of mystery and imagination.We’ve not been for a few weeks so Alexandra takes up residence in a seat by the door as if she’s not decided whether she’s staying or not and glowers. Calder makes a beeline for an empty Cozy Coupe and takes if off for a spin – backwards – but he’s going backwards under his own steam. I’ll just pay our dues (A bargain at £3) and grab myself a coffee. Obviously everyone else at Twins Club is weight watching too as there doesn’t seem to be any of the grown up biscuits that were in plentiful supply before Christmas. So I just snaffle one of the Rich Tea’s meant for the children and hide behind the play kitchen until I’m finished. I try to coax Alexandra away from the door a bit – she’s looking like a bouncer sat there. I take her hand and lead her over to the slide – she seems to lighten up a bit and climbs to the top by herself sits down and glowers at everyone from a loftier position.Calder has just reversed through the middle of a Sylvanian Family picnic on his way to the snack table. So I hurry Alexandra along on the slide, ( OK then- I pushed her.) and retrieve ‘Wreck-it-Ralph’ from the table that he’s got himself jammed under.

Now at home – neither will remain seated at their own miniature table and chairs for a snack but at Twins Club both sit patiently while I get them a selection of bite sized fruit, mini crackers and another Rich Tea biscuit for me and will quietly graze for the five minutes or so that it takes to empty their plates. There are no attempts to pilfer from their neighbour’s plate despite it looking a bit more appealing – I didn’t see any orange slices up there – and both will happily return to imaginative play until sing-along time.

All gather round in a circle and Super Sue the Supervisor will lead us all in song. Action songs usually have to be sung twice so that each sibling gets a fair crack at the top of the hill and on the rocket to the moon.

There’s about another half hour left – our two are still a bit young to be anything other than messy at the craft table and the Cozy Coupes have all been spoken for so Alexandra heads off to get a book and Calder to climb up the slide the wrong way. It suddenly all becomes like being back at home as I bellow “CALDER! GET DOWN!’ and Alexandra presses a very well worn copy of “Fluffy Bear’s Magic Sodding Handbag” into my thigh.

It’s still a lovely,dry,crisp day as we set off for home.The low,hazy sun encourages them to close their eyes and it’s not long before they’ve drifted off to Dreamland. We head off down a residential road which leads me to a Dreamland of my own – spending the £7.3 million that we didn’t win on Saturday’s Lotto on one of the bespoke,sprawling properties that we pass and a couple of his and his matching Porsches.

APOLOGIES FROM THE TECH DEPT.

The author is a bit of a twit. He only half proof reads his work, excitedly presses ‘publish now’ and then goes back to check whatever it is that he’s rambled on about. This is why those of you that have been kind enough to follow this blog get an early morning e-mail full of errors. He also thought that you only got a notification advising that there was more of his drivel available for your perusal and not the full blooming script. Thank goodness he has a more tech savvy husband. As I said – he’s a twit.

“I LOVE the see-saw!”

” Get her to sing ‘Club Tropicana’ Daddy!”

Tell Me On A Sunday – Marti Webb.

I could have gone with Lazy Sunday – but those are a thing of the past and before the ‘told you so’ brigade pipe up – yes we knew that this would be another aspect of our lives that children would change.For the most part I like it kept as a family day -whether we all go out together or a potter about the house day like today.

75% of the household are still on ‘Dry January’ – Daddy Simon was still feeling a bit under the weather so it was just yours truly that lapsed. Carefully measured out the first one out but just sloshed the second one into the glass as the final tantrum of the day raged on around me.

Anyway can’t really say that I enjoyed it that much when I know that Daddy Simon was (not so) secretly judging me.

Back to Sunday morning. I usually get a wee bit of a lie in – Daddy Simon doesn’t do sleep the way I do – I could win medals – and so he will get up when Nursery FM starts broadcasting at a level that the neighbours may find unacceptable. If I stir – it’s lovely to have a bit of a stretch and then snuggle back down for a bit. I know that I’m going to have to deal with a kitchen that looks like North Korea has been missile testing in but the duvet whispers sweet nothings and I drift off again. Mmmmmmmmmmm…

Don’t get me wrong it’s not a lie in until lunch time – I usually go down and greet my public between eight and nine. By the time I’ve picked my way through the wreckage strewn across the floor Daddy Simon is on the case and it won’t be long before I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand. Then the fun begins. Our little charges are at there most exuberant first thing in the morning.They want cuddles with Daddy Graeme and will chatter excitedly about what they’ve had for breakfast and what they have planned for the day ahead. No they don’t – they climb all over me – shouting that my Batman mug is “ot” but still trying to grab at it nonetheless. Pyjama pants don’t offer much protection south of the waistband so there’s a fair bit of wriggling to avoid having ‘the boys’ stomped on by a carelessly placed foot and the “ot” mug is still pretty full so there’s every chance that if they survive being trampled they’ll end up being scalded. Safety first – let’s put the coffee down and enjoy the company of our children. Of course they beggar off in search of another challenge and so I’ll take this opportunity to check lottery tickets. I usually like to put this off for a bit and enjoy the fantasy that our six numbers have come up… Can’t find my mobile phone. I’ve hidden out of sight of the minions and now I can’t remember where. It’s probably still on silent from the night before – so no point in phoning it. (The most commonly dialled number from our landline is my mobile number.)Its fallen out of my pyjama pocket during my ‘sofa salsa’ to protect my bajingas but Frick and Frack are back on my case so I have to hide it again. By this time a live-in nanny has rocketed to the top of what I’d spend our lottery money on and where the Mary J Blige has Daddy Simon disappeared to?

Definitely time to get this show on the road. Daddy Simon has dressed the kiddiewinks so that’s something less to be done. We’ll come back to HOW he dresses them in a later blog. It’s nearly nap time so we’ll have a quick game of ‘let’s put some of the toys away ‘ but they’re picketing the cupboard that the morning biscuits are in so I’m the the only participant.Damn, I’m good at this game. We’re still trying to phase milk bottle out so morning milk is served in a sippy cup and it’s very much and hit or miss affair. Little Miss Fussy is taking more convincing than her more compliant brother. Stern warnings of ” If you wake up hungry it’s your own fault.” fall on blatantly disinterested ears and with that we dither on up the stairs for morning nap. I seriously consider having one myself but reckon that I could probably get quite a few things done between now and afternoon nap so I recharge my Batman mug with an “ot” coffee and enjoy an “ot” shower.

Now if I give the lounge a good clean that’s the whole ground floor done and it wasn’t even written up on ‘ Kitchen White Board’. Stinky Henry is pressed into action( Thanks Lisa – Zoflora is on the shopping list.) He doesnt seem to reek as much in a room that smells so ‘sunshiny’ fresh and I’ve found the missing bits from the kiddie’s tea set stashed behind the TV and in the fireplace. I close the door on a clean,fresh smelling room to find Cat looking up at me expectantly – open door and allow old Fuzzy Felt to go in and cast cat hair all over freshly vacuumed sofa.

Well look at that – someone’s woken up hungry and is not afraid to shout about it. Despite putting oven on to preheat in plenty of time – I’d forgotten to put their lunch INTO the oven – so we’re running a bit behind. I read a bit of the Acorn Wood blockbuster ‘Pig Plays Hide And Seek’ remember that I’ve not done anything about dinner for Daddy Simon and I so I leave out the last page,throw a shoulder of pork in the slow cooker and let them draw their own conclusions. I sing a bit of ‘The Circle of Life ‘ just to help them along with the plot.I have to delegate lunch time supervisory duties to Daddy Simon because I realise that I’ve googled a recipe for slow cooked pork and bought ingredients required but now can’t find the recipe that I originally googled so I have an assortment of spices and sauces and a not so well hidden bit of pig. Google offers another suggestion. I ignore the ingredients list and make do with what I’ve got and carefully follow the method. I prep more potatoes and vegetables than is probably required in case the pork is inedible and channel my energies into making a delicious lunch for Daddy Simon and I.

Calder has finished his lunch and is all about helping Daddy Graeme clear up in the kitchen. He’s so happy tinkering about with a measuring spoon and a tin plate from the play tea set that he is completely oblivious to his sister’s frustration that she doesn’t have one. She is given the next measurement spoon up which she has a quick look at,casts aside and goes on to list her reasons why she should have the one that Calder has. He’s not giving it up,moves his wee chair so that he’s got his back to her and continues tucking into the imaginary culinary delights on his plate. We all head up the stairs for an afternoon nap at about half past three. Alexandra is still griping about something or other – might be Brexit – might be the temperature that her lunch was served at but it’s something that she is deeply vexed about. Wee Calder is just so excited that measuring spoon and tin plate are allowed to come to bed with him and Daddy Simon has expressed how much he’s looking forward to having pork crackling as we haven’t had it for ages.Daddy Graeme is thinking ” Well you’d best get your ass down to the Co-op for a packet” and remembers where he saw the original recipe for the Slow Cooked Pork.

Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2 My favourite boys ❤️

Me and my favourite girl.💖Pushkin loves a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The Clean Up Song – Barney the Dinosaur.

Well I’m not sure what happened to Friday… It seemed that one minute we were enjoying a lunch out at The Whyte Harte in Bletchingley (Blooming lovely!!!) and the next I was making rash promises to Daddy Simon about dinner only being another ten minutes.THERE WAS NO ALCOHOL INVOLVED – the day just seemed to vanish. Or maybe I just had writer’s blog.

We seem to have got on to the whole ‘Dry January’ thing by default. We had a fantastic time seeing in the New Year with friends – the reigning Cards Against Humanity champions,Paul and Lisa Carlyle but came down with an assortment of maladies in the following days and just haven’t really felt like a drink since. However I have just checked my weather app and it’s looking 80% likely that a Malbec shaped cloud will be approaching the South East London area at about 7 o’clock this evening and will precipitate all over ‘Dry January’. Daddy Simon has noticed that there is a big hairy blank in the Saturday box of this week’s meal planner and has suggested a takeaway – I’ve reluctantly agreed as we’re running low on plastic tubs and could do with a fair sized delivery from the local Indian restaurant. He’s off to a board meeting in town this morning so it’s just me and the weans.(Scottish slang for kiddies – pronounced ‘waynes’)

The ironing mountain has been dealt with and crossed off the Kitchen Whiteboard (Yay!) but there are still a few bits up there to be tackled. My ‘to do’ pile is in dire need of ‘being done’ and since Alexandra and Calder are happily rifling through the the toy box in search of this week’s noisiest toy,I’d guess that I’ve probably got about ten minutes to play with. It’s strange how the loudest toys always sink to the very bottom of the toy box. Complete mystery.

The ‘To Do’ pile usually consists of but is not limited to –

Recipes that I’ve ripped out of magazines that I may or may not ever get round to making.

Subscription magazines that come in and never get read.

1.Classic Car – Lottery win dreams.2.Men’s Health – stop eating junk and exercise dreams.. 3.Attitude – because if anyone needs more attitude it’s me.

Money off coupons and competitions that I could definitely win – that have usually expired.

Assortment of paperwork that I have actually dealt with and just haven’t got round to filing away.

I make the bundle a bit neater and address the full on riot that’s kicked off over on the other side of the kitchen counter. Both culprits look pointedly at Paddington Bear but it’s clear to me that the poor little marmalade sandwich munching Peruvian has been subjected to a rather brutal custody battle. Paddington is whisked off to the ‘confiscation station’ and Bo-Bo and Boo-Boo escorted to their room for their morning nap.

This is the ideal time to get on with the tasks that toddlers tend to hinder. The kitchen floor is in dire need of a good clean – Cat seems to be sticking to the tiles as he sneaks in to take advantage of this quite time. His hopes are soon shattered as I fire up Henry Hoover. Henry Hoover smells quite bad – if he was a dog he’d be on a one way trip to the vets by now. Will have to empty his colostomy bag very soon. Bucket of hot soapy water and the scrubbing brush next. Dried-in Weetabix is probably one of the hardest known substances to man – I don’t know why the council don’t use it to fill in some of the potholes round here. Obviously the area that Jackson Pollock and his equally talented sister dine is the worst affected. I’ve tried having their high chairs on a mat but they see this as a sort of ‘nul points’ zone and enjoy the challenge of getting their food a little further afield.I’m giving serious consideration to feeding them in the bath and just hosing them down afterwards.

I get a bit carried away and am interrupted by the Sainsbury’s delivery man. He’s a pleasant little chap this morning and when he sees that there’s been a substantial leak from the bottle of fabric conditioner in the last box to be unpacked he volunteers to deduct everything in said box from the bill and let me salvage what I can. I offer up a silent prayer that the alcohol supplies are in there but then I remember we’re dry and I didn’t order any. Still we get about a tenner off the bill and the only thing that is beyond saving is one of the kitchen rolls.There’s a bit of a mess around the front door area but it just means that I’ll have to give the hall a quick clean and it does smell very fresh and sunshiny. So will the living room as I’ve put another couple of the damaged kitchen rolls on the radiator to dry out.

‘Clean Hall’ written up on Kitchen Whiteboard- and then ticked off- job done. Remainder of shopping is put away just as the first cries for attention are heard from the baby monitor. It’s a video monitor so we can see what’s going on and if urgent attention is needed. I can see Alexandra jumping up and down in her cot shouting across at a slumbering Calder but by the time I get upstairs he’s been rudely dragged out of dreamland and is sitting up looking rather dazed and confused. Alexandra gives me a “What took you so long look” and I gather that nap time is over.

We’ve still got an hour or so before lunch and I’ve still got a half a floor to wash.I try to encourage them to assist with the toy Henry Hoover that Santa Claus left but they’d rather electrically harass big smelly Henry and so I abandon chores and vow to resume when Daddy Simon comes in.

I read ‘Fluffy Bear’s Magic Handbag’ for the umpteenth time this morning and am served about three cups of imaginary tea, a plastic steak and a wooden wafer biscuit before I take the hint and do something about their lunch.”

“Chutzpah” – inviting friends over for lunch,accepting friends’ kind offer of making the lunch and bringing it with them, then keeping and freezing leftovers for us and kiddies to enjoy at a later date. Thanks for the delicious lasagne Auntie Jayne!

Fortunately both seem to enjoy it so much that spillages are kept to a minimum and they even manage most of a bowl of blueberries and yogurt before they notice that there is a blank canvas beneath them – so they’re swiftly removed – wiped down and chased back to toy corner.

Daddy Simon arrives home shortly afterwards and has his lunch which is distraction enough for me to finish off the floor. In hindsight this was a bit of a risky strategy as he’s not averse to a bit of crumb creation in a newly swept area.

Now I know that the kitchen floor won’t stay clean for long but at least we can go back to the ‘5 second rule’ for a bit without the fear of botulism.

Lastly for today – Huge Congratulations to Marcus and Megan Taylor Hodge on the birth of their son and of course to the wonderful Granny Adele Keegans. I’ll bet she’s like a dog with two tails right now. Wishing you all lots of love,luck and happiness. XXX

“it’s a disguise – the paparazzi are everywhere you know!”Cheeky Chops.

“But I’m huuuuungry!!!”

Fame – Irene Cara.

Daddy Simon is on a work from home day today. I can honestly say that when he does a work from home day he is incredibly disciplined and probably does more hours in a day than he would if he’s in the office and that’s usually over and above the call of duty anyway. He has always been this way in the time that I have known him so I know that he’s not just avoiding the battlefield that the ground floor of the house becomes during the hours of 0700 and 1930ish.

The day can usually start slightly later and can be a little more relaxed – breakfast can take a teensy bit longer than usual, I can often get a second cup of hot coffee and the conversation is even occasionally a little more in-depth than ” she’s just spat her Cheerios over your suit jacket.”

This morning’s blisteringly hot topic was the number of different type of tea spoons we have. I know, who needs hear about votes of no confidence and Jaguar Land Rover jobs going to Slovakia when you can fret about the Berney-Edwards mismatched cutlery drawer.I have no idea how it happened but had to agree how unusual it is given how anally retentive I am about things matching. I promised to add to my list of things to look into as Daddy Simon sets off on his morning commute up the stairs.

The Kiddiewinks and I get on with some simple chores. Emptying the dishwasher (and running away with contents) Unloading aforementioned contents from washing machine and replacing with dirty laundry. That’s the easy bit – tricky bit is keeping door closed with one knee whilst holding Child One away from the dials and switches and discouraging Child Two from beggaring about with the drawer while I’m trying to pour fabric conditioner into it and not splash the – oh where did that damn cat come from?

We always try to get a bit of educational play in at this time in the day. I have another crack at the shape sorter but since both have worked out how to get the top off three out of the four shape sorters that we have, neither can see the point in dithering about looking for the square hole – get the lid off and jam in circle,triangle and some soggy bit of toast that they’ll probably want to come back for in about ten minutes.

At nap time I get on with a bit of ironing.Not much – but the pile has gone down significantly and probably won’t take out one of the children if it topples over now.

Then the call comes in. We’ve been published. Daddy Simon had been approached by a journalist a few months back. She had heard of our story and wanted to do an interview. It’s taken a while to come to fruition but there we are on the front cover of this week’s ” That’s Life” magazine.

Daddy Simon delays his lunch break and joins us on our afternoon outing- around every newsagent within walking distance. Some only had one copy, some had 4, but by about 1430 they all have none. We won’t need to worry about being recognised in the neighbourhood- we’ve snapped up every copy there was to be had.

Back home we have a read over the article. It’s actually come out better than we had expected. Time scales are a bit askew in places and it is made to sound very sweet – but it fits the magazine style and we did get some really nice pictures done for it.Alexandra and Calder were able to recognise Daddies in the picture but magazine was swiftly removed as Alexandra began practicing her origami skills with it.

The story has also been covered by a journalist for the Sunday Mirror and we’ve been told that it will appear in next weekend’s copy – but will be sure to keep you all posted.Once we see what they have to say – I’ll clarify a few points 😈

It’s now bedtime and despite the excitement of the day I’m still pondering the teaspoon issue.It’s bit far fetched but here’s a theory.Do the odd socks that vanish from the washing machine and tumble dryer come back to haunt the household as teaspoons?

No.Probably not.But any time you get a tea or a coffee in this house now you’re going to wonder if I stirred it with a dirty sock! “I’d just like to clear this matter up here and now – my part took a good bit longer than 2 minutes.Thank you”

Heroes – David Bowie.

The ironing situation has become critical. Daddy Simon appeared downstairs for breakfast in neon green shorts and a turquoise vest top – a look that is simultaneously too early for me and too late for him.

Now originally he had booked the day off in order that he could accompany me to a routine check up at the hospital but Doc was sick and so appointment was cancelled.We had booked tickets for the ‘Good Grief,Charlie Brown!’ Exhibit at Somerset House for later in the morning so it just meant we could have a more relaxed departure from the house. We didn’t.Not even time for a cheeky Costa on the way to the station. There is a coffee vendor at the station but he doesn’t do cakes or biscuits so I didn’t see the point.

Daddy Simon has been a lifelong fan of Charlie Brown and Snoopy.The spare bed room is an homage to the comic strip and it’s little characters and is the main reason that our own little ‘peanuts’ had to settle for the slightly smaller back room as their nursery.Our holiday in San Francisco a few years back enabled us to squeeze in a visit to the Charles M Shultz museum out in Santa Rosa. I’m not a huge fan – more of a Calvin and Hobbes man – but I am a fabulous husband who is happy to indulge Daddy Simon’s inner child.

The exhibition itself isn’t huge but if your a fan and in the area it’s probably worth a look. Some very interesting insights into the cartoonst’s life – lots of comic strips and memorabilia and of course a well stocked and overpriced gift shop. Daddy Simon seemed happy with his exhibition program,Charlie Brown cup and the promise that ‘we’ll look on Amazon when we get home.’

Sadly the romanticised vision that the munchkins would be so enraptured at being in the company of such greatness that they would be struck dumb in awe and we would be able to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet and a relaxed wander around did not quite come to pass.

The lack of a morning nap wouldn’t have been a great help and neither did the fact that both chattered,bellowed and niggled their sibling throughout the train journey and short walk along The Strand.

Initially it seemed that the first darkened room quietened and calmed them down.Then Calder remembered that he’s still a bit hoarse and can squawk like a parakeet with laryngitis. It’s not a nice noise. As we failed to reduce noise levels we got them out and reined then up hoping that they just needed to stretch their wee legs for a bit. We also failed to notice the stairs – they didn’t. Oh how they love a set of stairs – up and down and up and down and …just grab them surfboard style and move them on away from the stairs and on to another distraction.Forget the buggy we can go back for that.

As I take a deep cleansing breath I can smell something. Calder, that never poops outside his own house, has felt sufficiently at home in Somerset House to have a big ,stinky code brown. I now have to carry a smelly,squawking parakeet with laryngitis buck through the exhibition to the baby change facilities. This is where he remembers that he doesn’t like baby change facilities and ramps up the decibels a bit more. It’s no blinking wonder he’s almost hoarse.

We rejoin Daddy Simon and Alexandra on the mezzanine level – they’re easy enough to locate – she’s giving her vocal chords a right good workout as well. We exchange knowing glances and pick up the pace a bit. We don’t really need to visit the Snoopy cinema, probably read most of those books, and art installations were never really our thing.

The bright colours in the gift shop appeal for a bit and we get a quick couple of photos before heading back over the Thames and along to a familiar pub for lunch.

There is the briefest minute where it looks like dry January might get a bit damp but we resist and get some food ordered up.Chips buy silence – not a long silence – just enough to get a couple of bites of our own sandwiches- didn’t even attempt hot food. An older couple at the next table seemed to enjoy watching our circus unfold but had fortunately moved on as Calder did his ‘tomato sauce as a finger food’ trick and Alexandra distributing her leftover peas on the ground around her high chair.Time to move on -back in the buggy and oxygen tent Velcroed into position – more as a sound reduction measure than a wet weather accessory.

Both were sleeping the sleep of the innocent by the time we got back to London Bridge. My hospital appointment has been rescheduled for two weeks time. I think I’ll do the trip on my own.

“You’re a good man,Simon Berney-Edwards!”

“Nope – I will not smile!”

“I’m bored! When’s lunch?”

To market,to market – Traditional Nursery Rhyme.

Daddy Simon is out at a training course all day today. My Find a Friend App indicates that he’s been standing at the side of a road in North London for the last 20 minutes so that should make interesting after dinner conversation.

We’ve had a fairly relaxed start to the day, coffee and catch up with a lovely friend and then got on with a bit of ironing whilst Alexandra and Calder had their morning nap.

I had ‘This Morning’ on in the background whilst I was labouring away – Alice Beer advising on how we can all save a bit of cash and do our own dry cleaning at home. This seemed to elicit a confession from Holly Willoughby that she’s not very good with her washing machine.Now I do like Holly but I find it difficult to believe that she personally pops a load of delicates into the washing machine before she heads to work of a morning.Let’s keep it credible people.

The kiddiewinks have fully recovered their appetites and polished off roast chicken,potatoes and veg at lunchtime. Cat seemed pretty disappointed at lack of leftovers and stropped off out for the afternoon.

Decided that we could do with a change of scenery so all piled into the car and headed over to Sainsbury’s to fish for attention and compliments.

I’d far rather save a bit of cash and do a big shop in Lidl but they don’t have double trolleys and there’s only so much that I can pile onto a double buggy without having the Security Guard surreptitiously trailing behind me from the biscuit aisle onwards.

The local Tesco is where Customer Service goes to die, has similar double trolley issues and charges for the privilege of using the car park. Also they’ve stopped sending money off vouchers so I’ve stopped going. Shame because their monthly magazine was quite good.

So Sainsbury’s it is. Most of the time I’ll do the main shop online and get it delivered but every now and again I like to head over and grace them with our presence.

I now know where the holy grail of double trolleys are kept in this particular store – unfortunately it means that we have to park in the underground car park of shame where even the car wash attendants won’t venture. However, this doesn’t stop me cruising up and down the Parent and Child bays throwing some serious shade at those parked there blatantly without child beforehand.I realise that our parents managed without them and it’s a bit of a first world problem but some people are just so thoughtlessly inconsiderate.

Once parked up and belted into the trolley – Calder is a permanent flight risk and has to be strapped into everything at all times – we can head up the travelator making all sorts of noises to herald our arrival.

Always best to go on a quieter day so that we can go down the middle of the aisles – Too close to one side or the other gets me a load of random goods in the trolley. Similarly we have to give other trolleys a wide berth and pass quickly – little light fingers have been know to help themselves to the contents of our fellow shoppers’ trolleys.

We can’t do too big a shop and can only fill the trolley to a certain level – if it nudges above this level it kick starts the children’s ‘economise mode’ and they will jettison anything protruding above said level I therefore make sure that I always start the shopping in the wine aisle.

Occasionally boredom kicks in and one or other will start to pull,haul and generally wind up their trolley mate.They’ve worked out where my point of no return is – I’d abandon trolley and pound coin deposit if it happened early on but I’ll grin and bear it if it kicks off after I’ve been at the reduced chiller. I’ve a number of variations on ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ to keep interest levels up and noise levels down.Sometimes the wheels come right off the bus and it flips over,crashes and all the noisy children inside have to be taken to a hospital where there are no toys and Daddies aren’t allowed to visit. It’s a beggar to rhyme but it gets them thinking.

They’ve usually calmed down again by the time we reach the checkout. Between them they’ll flirt and glower with the unsuspecting staff member whilst I filter through what I intended to buy, what has been planted – I suspect that it was the bright colours of the ‘Lil-lets’ box that appealed – and try not to be insulted as the checkout operator asks if we’re having a party (again) this weekend.

I like to finish off with a little ‘where’s my money off coupon/wallet/ car key’ flap and precariously wheel the trolley and it’s precious cargo – the wine, remember- back to one the of the many black Vauxhall’s that have appeared in the vicinity of where I thought I had parked ours.

Houdini has to be unshackled from the trolley and pinned back into his car seat whilst Alexandra has a rummage through the top half of a bag that she’s managed to get hold of. Once I’ve wrestled the bag of Oven Chips out of her chubby little grasp – “I need to cook them first, Cupcake” – I attempt to jigsaw everything into the boot,return the trolley and walk back to a completely different black Vauxhall.

Homeward bound – there is an ongoing complaint about the confiscated, uncooked oven chips and the faint sound of someone chewing a seatbelt coming from the back seat but it’s bearable – we’re nearly home.

If I’m lucky I’ll get parked right outside the house – make sure gate is secured and unload shopping and children directly over the wall and into house.

First thing I do when all safely indoors and accounted for?

Get online and book a delivery slot for the following week! I’m not doing that again!