Monday, February 27, 2006


The assignment has been handed in and the kids are getting through the pox. Lent starts on Wednesday and I won't be drinking much. So I am working on a bottle of wine.

Since the last update on the assignment ("a bloody good start") I have, as ever, struggled to find the time to rewrite and polish. 3,000 words is a hell of a lot - haven't done anything like since I was at university 20 years ago, and not much then to be honest. Drama wasn't that sort of course. Very practical (though less acting than you would think). FUnnily enough bumped into the executive director of theNational Theatre on Satruday in my favourite bike shop - Edwardes of Camberwell. Desptie the fact aht we were buying a tagalong bike so that I can take him to school in the Autumn, Thom was less than impressed. He was wearing a zebra pattern hat, a purple chenille scarf and some (Timmy Malet-esque) rainbow sunglasses - this is what the fashionable CBeebies man is wearing this week. Whilst I held Gal (in large fake fur white coat - very Hollywood) and talked to Gary, the shop boss and all round great bike seller, Thom was doing his "I'm so mature I'm a moody teenager and have lost the use of my arms" act. A man, looking at bells and whistles, honked a horn at Thom who disregarded him with a certain amount of disdain - I think its called "being cool", though Thom is very keen on "being a policeman" and helping people. The man looked up and I found myself in one of those "who'd have thought I'd bump into you on the 68 bus route" moments say8ing "Are you Nick Starr".

I recognised Nick because he has recently been a speaker on one of the management courses that we run at the V&A and Tate Gallery. Very nice man indeed. And a possible convert to the two wheel hegemony (dont know what that means, just like the word).

Working on Masters course days tend to start at about 9pm as that is when the house falls quiet - unless of course our lodger the mouse appears. The missus is known to run through brick walls at the sight of a cockroach (don't even say the word in her presence, because I am not exagerrating about her running skills!), but tones things down for mice. Just a few minutes of screaming "Akbar! Akbar!" which is hebrew for mouse (I'm just just guessing, but it seems like a good bet). There is also the pause for the "I just have to check my email" moment which always lasts longer than foretold and usually has a large grumpy sigh which signals my reincarnation as London stylee TH and another half an hour goes down the proverbial.

I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to re-write the assignment - providing an informing structure, mapping the events and giving a fuller explanation of my understanding of Argyris and Schon's Model OII learning model - who says study isn't secy.

Finished it at 2am this morning. Sent it off this morning after a few typos were found creeping back into the text under the guise of Portuguese spellings - a clever ruse, but somewhat defeated by the complete lack of use of Portuguese as an informing language construct throughout the first 4,539 words.

The boss is away and so is my guilt for being 5 minutes late each day and leaving, sometimes, 15 minutes early. It is all a hangover from managing orchestra recording sessions and having a Calvinist granny.
So I spent the first hour of the day re-tyring the bicycle and then retubing them as the inners kept popping under pressure and pinching.

My reward is the droopiness of the tired man, someone who doesn;t kow what it is like to watch a DD from beginning to end, who thinks 11pm is an early night, and who can argue that Walkers shortbread does fulfill the need for each of the five fod groups in an unhinged diet.

I've grown a beard as well - more a goatee and tache set. My dear chum the Nederlander (not so obscure reference to SE London musical dictatorship) trombonist says he can see me going grey now.

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday and, of course pub quiz night (so far this year we've had 2 unplaced, 1 first and the rest second place) so I shall be imbibing for the last time (except for pub quiz nights and the 3 days at Ashridge for the Masters) until Palm Sunday or the beginning of Pesach, whichever is soonist.

i might give up biscuits as well

Monday, February 20, 2006

just a blog at twilight..

... afore the study begins.

For those gripped by the saga of whether I would get my assignment in on time (like a bad episode of HollyOaks) I did e-mail the draft of to my tutor a week ago and we had a short but sweet telephone conversation where it was suggested that I investigate some areas which I skimmed over a bit, expound on my understanding of Argyris and Schon's Model II of organisational learning, and provide an informing structure. pace Shark, but stream of consciousness is one thing, getting it to make sense is quite another.Sir said it was a "bloody good start" and was most encouraging. I am hopeful there fore that I am not about to be chucked of the course before it really starts and after I have committed the dosh.

Meanwhile back in the batcave - Thom has a torch which shines a batman silhouette. It came as part of a bundle I got sent by BBC London for some spurious remarks I made in response to a quiz or something. He's happy withthat.

Gal, unfortunately, has contracted the pox and is even more spotted than Thom was. She's even got spots on her tongue. This means, therefore, that I am covered in calamine lotion has I try to easy the torment of the spots. Thom was a brave wee fella. Gal is being a brave and game wee gal.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Shahid's back on the sandwiches

Today it is a curry sandwich. He also brings in a hrad boiled egg.

Last night, despite the stomach ailment and the general lingering lurgy and in spite of the kids, was an evening of sweetness and light spent with the missus . Thom is bored that he's been away form nursery (or School as we like to call it) for nearly 2 weeks because of the pox and half term. Nezek is the Hebrew word for damage or destruction. And Madame Gal is becoming a master in the art. Nothing is sacred, nothing is safe. I don't care if your carpet cost £1,500,000 - it ain't going to stop her.

Anyhow, the missus and I are escaping tonight to the theatre. The first time we have been away together for.... err...... er, a long time. Going to the Barbican to see Robert Lepage - should be fab.

More anon

Heaven and Hell

The week of hell is over, I hope. The lurgy is passing slowly - I now just have a stomach complaint of gripey blocked nature (its karmic retribution for the stickle brick incident) and a chest infection with sore throat and head aches. And so I am up at 1am unable to sleep, trying to bore myself to slumber by blogging.

The draft assignment was handed in and my tutor replied "I think you've made a great start". I like the "great", the "start" bit leads me to think there is some more writing to do. 3,500 words - haven't written that much in 20 years.

What I didn't tell you about the sticklebrick - flush - overflow situation was that it came as part of a package. I'd been off work for a day with this lurgy virus so was not really up to snuff. I was starting to get very twitchy about the assignment not having written a word. The loo was overflowing. The kids were on half term so no rest. The broadband was still down and no end was in sight. I took Thom to a kid very friendly gallery/cafe for a run around with a friend whilst me and her mum drank coffee and told each other our woes. It was clear that she didn't really want us to pop over afterwards, but the telephonic persuasion of the missus got us all going in that direction.

My friend is a dear friend and there is very little that I would not do for her. Her heart is in the right place and she has a lovely sense of humour. Her house, though, by her own admission mind, is not child friendly. This seems odd as she has a child. What was supposed to be a calming relaxing chill out for me turned into a tightrope of tension as my stress levels rose higher and higher as I was told of another very expensive object that the kids should not touch, not swing upon, not through blocks at.... it didn't that this child unfriendly abode had a new puppy as well. Gal, who was also present by now, was given a cup of Ribena - remember that Shark? - which promptly poured on the floor. "Oh my God! That's a £1500 carpet.!!" My stress exits through top of thermometer in spray of mercury and I become gibbering wreck wondering how much it would be to book myself into Priory and whether I could get sectioned under the NHS for free.

I manage to get it together enough to drive everyone home to await arrival of Mr Chong the plumber. He duly arrives with plumber's mate to take loo apart adnd unblock it. The fee - a lift to Tooting and then a lift home - cheap at the price, with the added bonus of some time away from the mayhem.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Is this heaven

Is this heaven…?

The broadband connection is back.
I am working wirelessly downstairs, listening to a recording of Maria Schneider’s big band on Jazz on 3, whilst writing my assignment, with the kids asleep and a glass of whiskey to my hand.

And the loo is clean

still looking for it

Stickle Brick + Flush = overflow. Mr Chong the plumber is a true friend.

Yesterday was not a good day.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Losing it

Thom is getting better, thank goodness. He's been very brave not scratching the pox as they came up everywhere. They are dying down and drying out now.

I came home at 4 yesterday feeling very shivery and achy. The network had been down all day and it was impossible to do any work. The boss reckoned I was in shock having a had a near death moment courtesy of a white Ford deciding to turn left across a bus lane and my bike.

All the household was asleep catching up on the broken sleep so I settled down for a bit of TV. By 5 all were up again and we returned to the usual evening routine.

It being Monday, the missus was off out to a class and I put the pups to bed. It was a bit slow as I was feeling so shivery and the normal Monday night "all done and dusted by 8 with time to tidy up and then watch University Challenge before getting on with the buddhist stuff and some study" had to go by the by. Thom settled at 9.15.

A little bit of tidying up later and I was ready to do the B stuff. Thom appears all bright and happy and the evening is lost. Bang goes the B stuff, bang goes the reading, bang goes a start at the 3,000 word essay.

The missus got back about 11 by which time I was about to put my head through a wall in frustration. A late night, less sleep and more to do the next day. No internet connection at home, a lost day's work, a lost night's sleep, deadlines a plenty and a fail on this assignment would see me off the course owing £6,500.

I lost it...

... smashed plates, headbutted doors, dented pans.

Not nice, not funny - just more frustration than I can manage.

Monday, February 06, 2006

A pox on ye...

No.1 son has chicken pox

and the weekend was spent at home with the non-working internet connection and the dodgy vhs machine. We had to get the very nice Mr Osborne from Osbonre Services (Lee Green - highly recommended) to come over and replug in the borrowed VHS, check it over and remind us to clean the heads by doing a fast forward - even if you have to do a few times it really does work.

Wanadon't are still playing extremely silly buggers - this weekend they hung up on me twice, gave me a dodgy telephone number to ring (which charged me 50p a minute), told me it would be fixed in 1 day and then told me it would be fixed in 5 working days. The latest assurance is 3-4 days. More anon - though I will be using some of the tactics that I found just by googling for other victims. Great for getting office numbers for the culprits.

The up side is that the missus who usually describes me as an english fish is now becoming extremly proud of my hour long rantings to Wanahaven't and says that I am becoming a Mediterranean beast. She purrs when she hears me threaten "all manner of things, I know not what" or when I recount tales of cyclist rage.

In the buddhist sense I am actually climbing up the Ten Worlds (not to be confused with Maslow's Heirarchy of needs. After 2004, the year of moving house and having a second child, I moved from the 3rd world of Animality (... fear) and have spent the rest of the time in Anger - a higher world. What with AMOC, I am hoping to jump over Humanity and Rapture (sad, I know but they are considered as lower worlds) to Learning.

Sleep suffice to say is at a premium. Thom was up 5 times last night and therefore so was I He's been really good about not scratching but is having an awful time of it. Despite his obvious illness, the missus has not allowed us (for I must be there to support my offspring) to lie on the sofa watching videos non-stop.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Swings and roundabouts

Controlled Crying and the management of sleep are big business in the baby and infant business. Not surprising since it is a constant focus of my life and blog.

No.2 small person is still waking up in the night, but less freqently and the courageous minsterings of her mother have meant the marital bed is returning to its dualist nature.

However, His No.1-ness has increased his nocturnal waking by a factor of +1. This has gone along with his discovery that milk is the elixir of life and will drop everything to have a glug of the white stuff.

Last night was one to forget, if only I could. The cold weather - not as bad as Berlin - does make the nocturnal facilitation of a small bladdered boy a frosty experience. The shock of cold tiles on sling flopped feet left me unable to sleep so I lay awake contemplating double loop learning models for application to a work group of over 120.

I gave up after an hour as it wasn't making me sleepy enough and went downstairs to chant only to find a notice on the living room door "There is a mouse in here". I applied spotlight to all hidden areas and not finding any rodent did gongyo and then returned to Middlesex which did get me off to sleep at about 4.30.

His No.1-ness then wandered in at 5.30 declaring it was morning and that he wanted more milk. I manage to string him along until about 6.10 and then we had to get up and battle the frost.

Reflecting upon the day before, I reminded him of my colleague Ray who came with me to his nursery to talk about Chinese New Year. Ray is partially sighted.

"Do remember Ray's white stick?"
"Do you know why he has it?"
"Ray can't see very well and it helps him"
"OooooH!. I thought he had one leg"

Life is sweet, but milk goes sour.