On New Year's Day, we spent the evening with Nice Italian exColleague and her family. They provided drinks and cooked a main course - lasagne - and we brought side dishes and a pudding. I made smoked aubergine salad and some green beans with a tahini and lemon dressing. TBH they were both ok but I don't remember really tasting them. I don't think I'd drunk all that much! Item ate a whole bowl of the lentil lasagne, which was a good show for her, as she hasn't had it before.
Originally, we were invited to stay until midnight, but when I apologetically said I didn't think we'd last that long, NIeC was relieved and said they neither, and we'd celebrate some timezone where New Year came a couple of hours earlier. We stayed til 10 pm, and although we'd originally planned to take a taxi, were transported zippily there by Brighton buses both ways, despite our fears that they might be rowdy and crowded that night.
Item was good, though quite clearly over-excited - NIeC cleverly channelled all the girls' pent-up energy into some dance game on the Wii.
Blonde Item in a Rapunzel wig
NIeC's elder daughter had prepared a pub quiz, researched on the internet. It was pretty good - just the right level of difficulty, which is quite hard to pitch, I reckon. It was a lovely night and I really enjoyed it. It may have been the first time that we took Item out late and she didn't have an overtired meltdown...
On the 1st, it was the birthday of our friend who moved back from Europe last year. Stinker of a date for a birthday! They had a party from mid-afternoon, and it was quite odd to go along and see my old cronies from 20 years ago, all now with kids and partners but otherwise looking exactly the same, as far as I could tell. Item bonded with the daughter of one of The Boy's old mates, and I spent quite a bit of time with the pet cat who was shut in the bedroom so he didn't escape. He's a Maine Coon - and enormous, despite only being 5 months old. He's about three times as big as Sushi.
Turning home, we popped into see Item's best friend and her family (who have also become our good friends) and had a quick glass of port and a chat.
Item *did* then have a massive meltdown on the way home, unfortunately, even running away from us. We couldn't see her for a good few minutes in the dark and it was quite scary, and then we found her and took her home and she gave us all a hard time for a couple of hours after that, too. SIGH. It was all triggered when I wouldn't buy her a comic on the way home, which just seems... really spoilt.
On the 2nd, I took Item to the Toy Museum - we haven't been before despite a few near-misses in the past. I'm not sure why; it's pretty good, with a massive train layout and some really interesting historic toys, though it is quite small (and was £8 for the pair of us), so I doubt we'll go back for a while.
Then, we were invited, with The Boy, to lunch with Item's friend Silas, his brother Zooey, and his two mums - plus another dad who had dropped by. The latter told a story about how someone had visited his house and asked to be seated elsewhere as 'looking at all his clutter was giving her a headache'! Poor Silas had the norovirus PLUS ear infection and spent Xmas day in hospital.
Theirs is that house that is pretty much our dream abode, and the mum both work in TV which, well, you know. If I'd just sorted myself out at an early age. However, envy swept to one side, they are nice, AND they have offered to store some of our stuff in their gargantuan loft when we put this place on the market.
I tried going for another run again last week, after more than a week's rest since pulling my calf muscle, and my leg *immediately* gave out again. On Wednesday, after lunch, we and the boys went to the swimming pool and I got in one more long swim - 57 lengths of the 100m pool, which was what I could fit in during the length of time The Boy was willing to corall Item/Item was willing to be in fairly cold water.
On the 3rd, Item had a play date with her Icelandic schoolmate, who has just moved to Hartington Road - the very first street I lived in when I moved to Brighton after university, fact fans. MORE house envy! They have a massive red brick gothic-ish airy house that is just so beautiful, and again exactly what we'd desire, if we could stretch to it.
(Side note - while I was at The Boy's, his dad totally misinterpreted something I said, and thought there was a possibility that we might move to Sheffield. No offence, Sheffield, but not going to happen. But they'd've loved that, as it's within about 45 minutes drive of them. Then he started showing me houses we could easily afford there. Which, I know.)
After I picked Item up from that playdate, we bussed to town and had lunch with Seasoned Mother and her two kids, but by that time I was starting to come down with this stupid illness, which seems now to have turned into a nose-running-constantly cold + cough, which is reassuringly familiar, but does not really explain the magnitude of my symptoms on Thursday night. I have graduated from the ibuprofen but still taking echinachea.
And on Friday, it was Item's birthday, which we've covered. Today she has her pal Dexy over. So we are up to date. On Monday it is an INSET day, but The Boy and I are both working, so we're sharing the cost of a childminder with Isadora's parents, for the first time. Let's see how that goes. (I have a feeling that The Boy's salary plus bus fare must about equal the cost of the childminder).