Saturday, 10 October 2009

Back safe and sound, and with a new status

Olga arrived back this morning, it was all very smooth. I know people like to bash British Airways and Terminal 5 at Heathrow, but in our experience it's always been very good, and this morning was no different. Olga texted me when she got off the plane, and that was our cue to set off from home. It's a 20 minute drive to the airport, and we entered the Arrivals Hall at exactly the same moment as Olga, and she'd come through the Non-EU passengers queue at immigration. Sometimes she'll go through immigration via the UK/EU queue, if the other queue is huge and she's travellng with me or Lara, or another British colleague, seeing as she now has indefinite leave to remain.
Well, all that will become ancient history soon enough, as yesterday she received a letter from the Home Office confirming that her application for British citizenship has been granted (Olga let me open it when I told her over on the phone that there was a letter from the HO here).  So, after her Citizenship Ceremony in High Wycombe on November 25th, she'll officially be British (and still Russian, too!) and we'll post her application for a British passport that afternoon.  What tickled me was that the letter giving the details of the ceremony had been posted 1st Class, and this was the letter I opened, but the actually letter confirming the success of her application had been posted 2nd Class, with no franking to suggest who the sender was. Thinking more about it, I guess this would be a prize document for someone to intercept and sell to a wannabe immigrant, who might be able to alter it, so perhaps there was a good reason to make it look like regular junk mail. I wish they had couriered it, though, given the obscene amount of money the HO has charged for this application!
Anyway, now's the time for both of us to learn the second verse of the National Anthem... anyone else know it?! And to know if we're flying the Union Flag upside down or not.....

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lara & Skype

Lara's part of the new generation of kids who'll grow up immersed in new technology. People at work are asking if Lara is missing Olga, and I don't see any evidence that she is, she's too yound to appreciate that Olga's not here, and Lara's routine is just the same as if Olga was here. Her comfort about the situation is helped because we have a skype-video chat with Olga every day when Lara gets home, which Lara seems to really enjoy:

Both Lara and I are very snotty today, and this isn't making life any easier for us. I nearly bit off more than I could chew this morning, taking both dogs out for a walk with Lara in the pram before going to nursery, it all got a bit complicated when we got back home and I had to get the dogs into the house and Lara into the car.
I've made life a little easier yesterday though by doing some essential, non-food shopping online with Tesco, and they just delivered, so that's a fresh supply of nappies, dog food, kitchen rolls, diet coke and lager sorted out!
One more day then it's back to normal!!!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

So far so good

So three days have passed and I've not needed to take anyone to the vets or casualty, phew.
Actually, things have gone rather swimmingly so far, famous last words. Lara has been sleeping well, as usual. She needed a couple of drinks of water last night, but only before I went to bed, so it was hardly inconvenient.  We both got up a little late yesterday, but I think that was OK given our long day on Sunday, so I slept in till 7.30 and then woke Lara at 8.30 to give her breakfast before nursery (or "nursy" as she now calls it). This morning I decided to get Lara to nursy(sic) in time to have her breakfast there, so that meant waking her at 7.40 for an 8am departure. It's not like she's dead-to-the-world & snoring at that time, but she's also not standing up in her cot crying or shouting for me, I think she just enjoys dozing in bed, like the rest of us!

I've been letting the boys sleep in the same room since Sunday night, it was a risk in case they messed about and barked in the night, but so far, in the two nights since, there hasn't been a peep out of them once I've gone to bed.

Olga is fine in her swanky hotel in Johannesburg. She had to move rooms after the first night - the person in the next room was playing either their TV or in-room IPod docking station at full volume late into the night (and again at 4am!), and the disaster about her new room is that she can't see the heated, outdoor swimming pool from it, and it's going to be 30 degrees C tomorrow and she's worried she won't find the pool when she gets back to the hotel at 4pm... tough life, isn't it!! (Only kidding, darling, you enjoy yourself!! I got my exercise today hoovering the carpet and mopping the floors while Lara ate her tea in front of the TV). Modern technology means we have a pre-tea Skype video call so that Lara can see Mama, and make a big deal of kissing the laptop screen lots of times - Olga's getting more kisses when she's away than she would when she's home!

I'm treating myself to a day in London tomorrow. Well, I might be making it sound more glamourous than it is, I'm going to an IT trade show. Sadly, I'm looking forward to one or two of the seminars about cloud computing and virtualising data centres.  Clearly the stress has got too much for me and I've gone mad.

Cluck, cluck, jibber jibber, my old man's a mushroom et cetera.  This will only make sense to an avid Blackadder fan!  

Can you tell from my over-verbose post that I don't get much in the way of grown-up conversation at the moment?! Other than Skyping to Olga this is my only outlet!! Once I've left work, other than 30 minutes talking with Olga, my conversations consist of little more than:
"Are you going to eat that?" (this applies to any of the kids)
"DON'T DO THAT, please!" (this applies to any of the kids)
"Have you done kaka?" (2 out of 3 kids), closely followed by "Yes, you have, I can smell it".
"Stop drinking water from Mishka's bowl!" (the same 2 out of 3! Lara is getting the message now though, and knows to reach up on to the kitchen worktop to grab her own cup)

Anyway, like Zebedee said. Time for bed.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A Long Day

It was a late night last nght while Olga got ready for her trip to Johannesburg, then a very early morning this morning when we got up at 5.30. I did smile at the irony of turning the tables on Lara and waking her up while it was still dark outside, but then I thought that she will always have the last word when it comes to disturbed nights!
Despite my best efforts, the only nap she had was for 15 minutes while we drove out to Christmas Common to go for a walk with Anton, Becca, Eve and Tess. That was a lovely way to pass a warm autumn afternoon, even if it took four trips to and from the car to load up everything I needed for the boys and Lara. I've stll not unpacked everything, it can wait until tomorrow. Lara and Eve were very polite to each other in sharing their snacks, and Eve certainly will be the "hostess with the most-ess" from the way she was making sure everyone had their drinks to hand.
Lara insisted that I take her to our local pub to watch the second half of the Chelsea v Liverpool game; I wish she hadn't done that, seeing as Chelsea won 2-0, but it meant she stayed awake all afternoon. Here she is enjoying tea while the game is on TV in the background.....

She enjoyed playing with the banana guard but never touched the banana!

After a quick bath she was asleep by 7pm, which is a record for me getting her off to sleep. Olga called to say she'd checked in at her hotel and all was well, so now I can relax - everyone is OK. Another bonus to this long day was the Russian superstition that you don't do any cleaning whilst a loved one is travelling, something that Olga takes very seriously. so other than tidying up after Jackson, the cleaning has been put on ice....