Mock Duck (mockduck) wrote,
Mock Duck
mockduck

We had this vague plan that the three days I was off work AND Ites was at school in the mornings, we'd fill in the passport application forms for Joe and Item, and I'd watch the DVD that explains how to use the camera The Boy bought me for my birthday - both tasks which because of their non-vitalness, have been hanging over us for ages, and which are hard to achieve when there's a little one around.

But we prevaricated and left it until the Friday morning, and then a load of snow dumped on Brighton and Item's school was closed. It was the last day of term, as well, so no more adult time 'til next year now.

Item didn't mind. I caught myself saying in a strict voice, at 6.30 in the morning, "we have rules in this house, and one of the rules is that we don't go out in the snow until it is light".

Yeah, some tough rule there.

By about eight, she'd nagged us so much that we went out into the front garden (if you're wondering why she has no coat on, don't worry - she put it on straight after these pictures, but was just in such a hurry to go out).

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We made the second-worst snowman ever built (the first-most was today's effort, when the snow had gone even more powdery) and spent the rest of the day venturing out for short bursts between visits back home for hot chocolate and fortifying food.

One thing you can do with short snatches of time is scan and upload photos, which explains why my Flickr feed went Back to the Eighties for a while there. I'm uploading all my teen photos and uni pictures on both Flickr and Facebook; the latter has had the effect of putting me back in touch with a few folk I haven't seen since graduation, including a chap who was one of three of my closest muckers from the very first day of the very first term, and who is now living in New Zealand running a dance company. Ah, the transformative power of social media once again, there, eh.

I suspect theses photos will be of very little interest to anyone who isn't in them, but in case that's not so, knock yourself out: here (link to Facebook).

Just before sunset we went to the park, which was perilous, since all paths into it are steep downhill, and by that hour were covered in ice - but it was very pretty.

Item found a great way to guilt me out, after I'd said no to having a snowball fight and no to sledging (as the slopes were full of full-speed adult sledgers) and no to building another snowman: "Mummy, snow is fun for me, but not for you, isn't it?".

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The evening was my work Christmas party. After wearing tights, jeans, socks, two tshirts, a dress and a cardi under my coat most of the day, I felt ill-inclined to put on a frock* and bolero and venturing out.

Worse, the taxi firms were all constantly engaged, so I had to slip walk down the hill and across The Level to the office. At Sainsburys, the road was cordoned off and there were two ambulances and a fire engine; a colleague said she'd seen a portly lady in the same spot slip over on her bottom, get up, slip over again, get up, slip over - before giving up and sliding down the road on her bottom. Meanwhile, earlier in the day I'd seen an elderly lady happily striding down the snowy road in high-heeled boots.

Here is the best part of the party - the marvellous shoes of one of our canteen's chefs: Study Group Christmas Party 2009

Meh, I wasn't really in the mood to make merry. Numbers were severely down, probably because of the weather. Clearly the budget was also down, because the wine was noticeably harsh even as we were drinking it. I started feeling like my braincells were dying off as I sipped, which is 12 hours before that sensation normally sets in. I am still feeling the mental effects now, so apologies for the laboured sentences and undoubted non-sequiturs of this post. And if you judge a Christmas party by the contents of the crackers, well, the 2cm plastic aeroplane in mine would say it all. /bahhumbug

This morning, the snow was still there, and so was Item's nagging, only I had a killer hangover to complement it. Eventually we went and made the world's worst snowman in the back garden, giving him a buddleia moustache and an icicle for a nose.

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The icicles were quite pretty, come to think of it. We went in and made some surprisingly successful oatmeal cookies (recipe here; recommended) before going to lunch at Home.

In the park afterwards, we found three sets of friends and neighbours, and the sledging slopes were much more populated by small people. Best of all, our neighbour sold us a spare plastic sledge they had, so Item got her wish after all. Our friend Tom was desperately trying to fashion a sledge out of a 'bag for life' by putting a hole in each bottom corner and wearing it like an enormous nappy - it wasn't too successful.

First ever sledging, in Queen's Park

You can't really see the effect of the speed here, but take it as read.

*Read, hoisting on a frock. My boned, corseted frock, to be precise, which requires The Boy to put one foot on my back and heft the zip up inch by inch. I have put on weight since its purchase, so this was even more of an operation that normal. Tragically, the zip gave out when I came home, as I contorted myself in an attempt to unzip it without any help. I think I will get it repaired (although the cost of doing so will probably be more than it cost originally) as it is a great dress. In my mind, at least: photos from a colleague seemed to indicate that I was less than gorgeous, but let's put that down to the essentially malicious character of your average camera).
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