Saturday, 10 April 2010

Second for Olga, and a day out tomorrow for Lara & I.

Olga's choice in the Grand National - Black Apalachi - came second, and was the only finisher out of the six horses we backed! Luckily, none of us had King Johns Castle, the one that didn't even make it to the first fence, although I will admit that I was looking at that one before I chose Arbor Supreme. Jackson got the booby prize for picking Eric's Charm, the only faller at the first. If you're wondering how he and Mishka (Beat the Boys) picked their horses, in turn I gave them a pen, they held it in their mouth, then dropped it on the centre-page pull out from the Mirror, and where the nib of the pen pointed, that was their horse. It worked first time for each of them. Mad? Me? Noooooooo. Lara picked her horse (Flintoff) by pointing to it on the pull out when I asked her which colours she liked. For the record, Luda had Mon Mome, without knowing it won last year at 100-1.

Tomorrow Lara and I are going on a railway adventure, to a station close to Bristol, which is close to where Auntie Catherine and Uncle Nick live, because we're going to Cousin Elizabeth's 3rd birthday party. It's 90 minutes on a direct train from Reading, so I'm making sure I have enough toys and food to keep Lara going for that time. Hopefully she'll sleep for the return journey in the evening!

We had a lovely afternoon in the garden today, the weather was perfect. Lara learnt how to roll down our steep garden, Luda continued turning the veg patch into somewhere that vegetables might choose to grow, and Olga and |I continued to reduce the untidy pile of cut branches into either logs for the fire or twigs for the tip. I even powered up the mower (a friend had serviced it for me) and cut the front lawn, along with almost everyone else on our street.

Finally time now for a beer and Match of the Day, hurray.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A week - already?!

Luda's arrival has meant Olga and I have had more time to get other things done at home, but we've been so successful at that that I've not had time to update the blog! I'll try to put that right tonight, whilst I listen to the Barcelona v Arsenal Champions League game (why can't you pick and choose to pay to watch games on Sky?).

So, what's happened?
Luda had a couple of quiet days on Wednesday and Thursday to settle in, then on Good Friday we met Sergei and Lucy at The Bird in Hand, where we had our wedding reception in 2006. This was the first time Luda had met Sergei, although she has spoken to him briefly on the telephone before. We stayed all afternoon, then returned to High Wycombe, but just went straight to the local pub to carry on the fun. I took Lara home at 8.15, but it was after 10pm before Olga brought her mum home!
Here are some photos from the Bird in Hand, Lara really does play the supermodel role whenever a camera appears!

The rest of the weekend focussed on clearing up the back garden. I hired a shredder / chipper to get rid of the huge pile of leaves and branches that we've accumulated over the past few weeks, and it took the best part of three days to get rid of most of it, although there is still some left! There were 16 binbags full of shredded laurel and holly leaves and branches that I took to the tip (surprisingly quiet considering it was a Bank Holiday weekend). I was very glad to be able to adjourn to the pub last night with Chris and Cara for a drink! I don't want to pick up a pair of secateurs for a long time yet.

Luda and Lara are getting on very well, the language barrier doesn't seem to be causing many problems, in fact they might be helping each other! I was victim of Lara's first new Russian word on Saturday, when she came up to me, pulling my trouser leg and saying "Galat, Papa, galat". It means "Walk", and she was excited because Olga was taking Lara to the park to play on the swings, and to show Luda where it was. Lara is still struggling with a cold, she's had it for a month now, but it seems to be getting better slowly. She's just come down with a high temperature in the past few days, maybe it's something related to this cold, but a couple of squirts of nurofen at the right moment seems to help her back to sleep. Potty training is also progressing well, with fewer accidents, and this should only get better and better whilst she has Luda on-hand for three days a week to make sure Lara goes to the potty when she needs to.
 It is making a real difference to have an extra pair of hands around the place. Two of us can be working on chores whilst the other looks after Lara, and as soon as Lara's evening temperature wobbles stop, Olga and I will be off out for a drink or even a meal  (maybe, if Olga's nice to me :-) )
Today was Luda's first day as our "child minder", and she has reported that everything went well. There was 5 minutes of crying just after we'd left for work, when Lara realised we weren't hiding, but after that Lara was very proactive, suggesting the games that she wanted to play, and the activities she wanted to do, and luckily the weather was nice, so they could play up on the decking for a long time. The summerhouse is full of toys, and we have the sandpit and trampoline up there, so that should make life easier for Luda and more fun for Lara as long as the weather is OK. We have given Luda one of my old phones with a free pay-as-you-go Tesco Mobile SIM card in it (just request one from their website, they post it to you free of charge - you don't even have to go to a Tesco store!), so Olga phoned up at lunchtime to make sure everything was going OK!

Olga's cooked enough food tonight for Lara's meals tomorrow, so that Luda doesn't need to worry about that, so everything is "so far, so good". It's early days, but if Lara didn't kick up a huge fuss today about being at home with Baba without us being there, then I think that's the hardest part over with.