Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Get Santa

We were invited to the Royal Court to see the seasonal show "GET SANTA."  I took my fairly jaded 9 year old son who reads Dickens and was fresh from Dick Whittington the night before. 10 year old Holly -played perfectly by Imogen Doel, who is straight out of drama school - lives with her mother and  step father who just happens to be a  dog named Bernard. Her real Dad turns out to be a cat! Holly doesn't like Christmas and doesn't want presents, all she wants is to find her real father and she thinks that if she traps Santa he will be able to tell her where her father lives, her reasoning being that he knows where everyone lives. My son loved the teddy who turns out to be a malicious, desperate teddy with a Russian accent, who accidently comes to life, when Santa's son Bumblehole turns up at Holly's house. He claims to be Holly's father, stuck forever as a teddy after a witch cast a spell on him. There follows a strange plot twist where Teddy realizes that if they trap the real Santa they could use strands of his magic beard to keep him alive for ever. What teddy doesn't realize is that the spell will only last one day, Christmas Day, and so we see Christmas Day turning up again and again, the adults becoming more and more weary, "I suppose we better open the presents again - Bernard takes to wearing all the hats he's received one on top of another. Of course it's all resolved in the end, without becoming sentimental. We both came away feeling more festive than when we had arrived. Great fun, quirky and original -  perfect antidote to the normal Christmas pantomime.  For ages 7+

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Movie Survey

I LOVE MOVIES

If you have a few minutes spare you could do this movie survey which takes a few minutes and is fun. It's from  a site that sells all sorts of movies, including cult films. It asks all sorts of multiple choice questions like what was your favourite film of 2010 and   what was the scariest movie  out of a choice including the Omen? I couldn't watch The Omen after the scene in which the nanny jumps out of the window and I've never been able to watch the Exorcist.  What was sad though, was the question how many times do you go to the cinema? I never go to any movies any more unless it's a children's movie. Before we had children we used to go to the cinema at least once a week - now never. 


My top two films are Days of Heaven with Richard Gere and Sam Sheperd and Fanny and Alexander by Ingmar Bergman. What are yours?

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Boggle Flash - Genius Christmas Present

I was sent a boggle flash to review and when it arrived we played it and all became addicted. Literally. You have to make words out of the five  letters that appear on the cubes and do it against the clock. The letters change every time you reset it and play again. The boggle works out how many words you managed to make and how many you could have possibly thought of.  It's really clever as you can't just play once and it appeals to all ages. It says 8± on the box but my six year old daughter loves it.  You can play together or alone.  We took it out to a pub lunch the next day and soon my 9 year old son had a small crowd of children looking over his shoulder all waiting for a go and helping him out. 

 Its a genius present: It retails at £24.99 but you can find it on amazon, which I have linked above for £10 less. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

An extra hour of sunshine please

I am supporting Lighter Later, a campaign to trial double summer time. There will be a vote on December 3rd in Parliament and they need as many MP's as possible to vote yes. If you go to their website you can find information to help you lobby your MP. 

Personally I can't bear these dark afternoons and think of all the energy that could be saved if we had an extra hour of light. A trial of double summer time is supported by many motoring organizations including the AA, as trials have shown there are fewer road accidents when there is daylight for longer in the evenings.

Ok, so the school run maybe a bit darker in the mornings, but at least it won't be shutdown, staying in to play when they get out at 330. 

So go on lets brings some light into our lives. 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Give Away

Very exciting to actually win something in a blog competition. Thank you Metropolitan Mum I am waiting breathlessly for my bed of nails to arrive, which will massage and comfort by back.  I really can't wait.

In the meantime slightly less exciting, but still free, and very useful if you have school age children and get those pesky little letters in the book bags, warning you that someone in your childs class has nits.  I am giving away 20 bottles of 100ml Vosene nit repellent shampoo - closes as soon as we reach 20 names or by the 28th October - UK only.   I've tried the spray deterrent on my daughter and it really smells  good. The first twenty to become a follower (don't bother if you are already a follower obviously)  and your address will receive a bottle. Do comment too if you feel like it.

Ps My cat has fleas. We have tried everything, cat collars, spot on. I have resorted to getting them out with a nit comb. They are endless. Any tips?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My niece and half sister mucking around at Granny's 100th birthday lunch.

My niece and half sister with photocopies of their faces
It was such a lovely day and Granny was so thrilled. The photograph above is my current favorite, because it's quirky and weird.  I thought I'd add the other two as well, as they are all from the same day, two weeks ago.


Me and Granny with her two cakes

My beautiful daughter - Belle in the stripes

Monday, 11 October 2010

MAKE A ONE MINUTE FILM

Wecan is a climate campaign group I am involved in and this is me a couple of years ago when we campaigned at Heathrow airport. The founder members were eight women, including me, who were all part of a reading group and  wanted to do something about stopping the proposed third runway. We all have children and are worried about their future on this planet. There is a one minute film competition that launched last year with the help of Wecan, and is launching again this year. Its called One Minute To Save The World.  I helped judge entries for the final short list last year, and the films were  brilliant, some simple, some weird, funny - anyone can enter, you don't have to be film maker.We had entries from children and primary schools, from amateurs and professionals.  Have a look at the website below.

Make a 1minute film on climate change and you could win £5000, laptops, Flipcams and the SONYNEXVG10 HD camcorder.  Winning films will be screened in front of world leaders at COP16 in Mexico and be part of an on-line campaign going out to millions of viewers, they will also go to International Film Festivals in 2011. 1 Minute To Save The World is an international competition, open to all ages and free to enter. Judges include award wining film director and climate activist Shekhar Kaphur, Passion Pictures, Ben Kott (Google Europe Environmental Operations) and the UK Copenhagen 4 (youth climate change activists). Competition deadline is 17th December (12th November for under 18 age group).
In partnership with Unicef, Passion Pictures, United Nations Development Program, APE (Artist Project Earth) and Sony.



 

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Marriage

Tuesdays are the days that my Times column - Marriage -  comes out in the Body and Soul Section. Today it's about how my husband bought me a bicycle on ebay - two years after he promised me one for my birthday. I wrote that I was suspicious of his motives, just to spice things up, but actually I was thrilled and have bicycled every day to school and back feeling smug and happy not to have to walk down the busy Uxbridge Road, or use the car which is so wasteful.

We went to a preview of a animated children's film called Despicable Me which was utterly brilliant. It's all about an "evil" Russian villain who wants to steal the moon, but his terrible ways are tempered when he adopts some children from a children's home. The special 3d effects are superb, there is a scene where they all dip and dive in a rollercoaster and we were all squealing in terror and delight. The movie opens on October 15th.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Diet and Detox

I came home heavy from the holidays and bloated and huge. Too much fish and chips, soda bread and wine. But wow it was fun. Then a week later I went to Italy for three days for a friend's special birthday. Eleven girls and three men and I have never weighed so much. Or eaten so much. So when a special offer for a  detox diet landed in my email box, I paid. The food for four days arrived in a cardboard box. Cinammon and blueberry flaxseed with soya milk and grapefruit for breakfast day 1, followed by mediterranean lentil stew and vegetarian burgers for lunch. It seemed easy. But by day three I had a killer headache (probably from not drinking caffeine) and on day four when there was just soup for dinner, I was cheating. A Godiva chocolate here and another one there. A tiny bit of cheese on an oatcake here and another there. Life is too short to spend it hungry. Although I am now back to the weight I was before the summer. I'd like to loose another 10lbs but it seems like too much hard work and I read a report in the newspaper yesterday which said that scientists have now discovered it's easier to loose weight by diet than exercise, and you'd have to exercise as much as an olympic athlete to really see the benefits. Anyone have any ideas? 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Reasons to Be Cheerful (Part I)

We are back from three blissful weeks in West Ireland. When I thought about returning to London, it was with dread. I wasn’t looking forward to the pollution, the dirt and the noise. However it was time. I’d got fat and lazy in Ireland, just lounging around, reading (I recommend Sofia Tolstoy's Diaries) eating, and jumping into the freezing Atlantic sea for a few freezing seconds.

Reasons to Be Cheerful: 

My Cat: – She’s fatter too, but paradoxically refused to eat while we were away, even though I’d arranged for someone to feed her. She’s an old slapper and was probably being fed somewhere else.
Friends:  Loved going around to see old friends last night and finding out they are expecting a baby.
My desk:   I find it hard to concentrate anywhere else but at my own desk. I feel like a character out of Rear Window   I can see all the neighbours coming and going as I try to concentrate on my writing. It’s like watching a very slow soap opera. It’s very different to seeing the giant hare and the odd seagull out of the window from the house in Ireland.
A normal Diet: In Ireland I ate vast quantities of soda bread with smoked salmon, cheese, and homemade jam. We had real foodie guests and they wouldn’t stop thinking about food and cooking food. I put on at least two kilos.  It really was time to get home.
The Park Club  Even though we went for hearty walks (we even climbed Diamond Mountain in Connemara) and swam in the freezing sea, I didn’t really exercise. I missed my health club with it’s huge outdoor swimming pool and every class imaginable. It’s good to be back.
The Street Party: We were just back in time for our second street party. We had one last year. It’s easy to arrange -  you just have to do a collection for charity and the council will shut the street down for the day. It’s really good fun and the children loved having the road shut so they could bicycle up and down, play ping-pong in the road and rush into each other’s houses. Shame it can’t be more like that all year round. We all ate together and I met a man of 83 who’s been living in the street since the Blitz! He said in the old days, when he was a child, they had two street parties a year – one at Christmas. When I looked shocked and wondered about eating in the cold, he said they didn’t notice things like that, they were just so pleased to escape the tedium of work.


Monday, 6 September 2010

Back to School

Back to school and to reality. Here I am again, sitting at my desk looking out at my street. I have loved the summer holidays, the hightlight being watching the dolphins swimming near the horseshoe shaped beach in Connemara, in the West of Ireland. It was lovely to be able to read, walk barefoot and pick blackberries and apples from the garden and make crumble with organic spelt flour (makes you feel less bloated than normal flour) and dig for mussels on the shore at low tide.

My 6 year old daughter Belle had long sun-bleached hair, uncombed for the last three weeks, and knotted, but she had it chopped off yesterday, in time for school, and immediately looked more grownup and less carefree. For the first time ever, I was weirdly efficient and bought school uniform, including winter trousers and thick tights at the beginning of the summer, but had a mad rush to buy school shoes yesterday. School uniform seems to run out by the September and last winter I couldn't for love or money find winter tights in the right size for my daughter.

These are the changes I would like from supermarket school uniforms:

More choice of narrow-fit/slimline trousers for skinny boys like my son and with standardized waist adjusters and offered in different lengths.
Warmer school trousers for the really cold part of winter
Warmer school shirts, made of viyella. (Perhaps they exist?)
School schools for girls with rubber on the toes.

If you haven't yet bought all the uniform you need, you can use Vouchercodes for free delivery on school uniforms from Marks and Spencer  and also log on for a sale of kids clothes   http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/debenhams.com 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Thank you

There are times when I want to shout thank you, thank you thank you. My daughter and I set out today in the pouring rain to the Coronet Cinema in Notting hill. We wanted to see Toy Story and today seemed good as it was raining and Tuesdays are half price. I walked, she scootered, and finally we took a 94 bus. We queued at the ticket office, got to the front and with a sickening sense of horror, I realized I had left both my cards at home.  And I had no cash. I feared the worst. A disappointing journey home, no Toy Story, a rainy disastrous day, nothing day. Except.... the lovely lady behind the counter said I could just go in and "if I was honest" and I could pay later. Bless her.  I just spoke to her paid and she said thank you! I told her she had made my day. 

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Stuart the Gardening Angel

After sticking the gardening widget in my last post and moaning and complaining about my overgrown jungle,(patio)  I went to the ice cream cafe where all the St Stephens parents go after school for endless ice cream treats(in my day you had an ice cream twice a summer). We were sitting having tea  when I met a man called Stuart, nanny and gardener and hired him on the spot. Not to nanny my children, I'm well past those kind of days.  I know I could have done it myself, but it had got to the point where it would have taken me several days and just looking at it overwhelmed me.

He actually turned up, hours before guests were arriving for a barbeque and sat down for a half an hour to tell us about his career as a nursery nurse. It was turning into a tea date and the guests were arriving soon, so I showed him the jungle, and he didn't bat an eyelid, even though there were no gardening gloves and the barest of tools.  I didn't have to pay him £10,000 (the price quoted as a minimum by a garden designer I read about) actually a tiny tiny miniscule fraction of that for two hours of weeding and plucking and clamping and cutting. The garden is transformed - well manicured, hemmed in, edited.  He's coming back for more. Funny isn't it, when you set you heart on doing something or changing something it all seems to fall into place. 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

What to do with the garden?

I was looking at our "garden" yesterday (more of a patio) and was full of despair. Its more like a small jungle and a big mess. We have a wonderful Olive tree that we bought from our first house so it's now about eleven years old and we have some lovely bamboo growing along the back wall and sheltering us from the neighbours,  but everything else is unruly. There are giant weeds, that look as though they should be growing in Costa Rica, and old pots, stones and a ladder gathering dust. I  read about a garden designer who specializes in small spaces and fantasized about commissioning him, only to discover that most of his gardens cost between £10,000 and £20,000 pounds. So when I saw this widget it seemed very serendipitous. 



copy following tag:


Friday, 16 July 2010

Design a Fantasy Sofa

The other day, quite out of the blue, a man emailed to ask if I would like to judge a competition! I have never been asked to judge anything before so was curious. Why me? I wondered. The people at sofa.com were at the final judging stage for a competition they had launched for children in  London, to design a fantasy sofa. They sent 4,000 A3 design template drawings to children at local schools and received an amazing 1,000 back. I agreed to go because I've never been a judge before and I actually need a new sofa as ours is eleven years old and so embarrassing that I even wrote about it in my Times column. I wanted to check out the sofa.com sofas as I've only seen them online before.

I went to the newly designed showroom in Lots Road Chelsea. They are situated in a huge kind of groovy loft covering an entire vast top floor. I was given two piles of drawings to go through and a few in 3d.  Wow it was very hard to choose, particularly when you knew that the prizes were ipod nanos for the children and sofas and camcorders for the winning schools.

A couple of the designs were suspiciously too good.  One five year old had done better than I could with glitter and glue, and had far too much help from Mummy or perhaps Daddy. Sadly we vetoed the design even though it was fabulous. We were all impressed by Zaid of Flora Gardens School in the 9 to 11 category. His sofa was covered in a batman design which I could see in my 9 year old son's room. He came second but it was very close because in the end, we decided the winners' sofa  was more of a fantasy. But my favourite was the winner of the 5-8 category. The nature sofa with the last minute insertion of T was upbeat and kind of magical. Well done Anna! If you live in London, look out as they will be running the competition next year.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

So much has happened

I don't know where to start. I have to start with the best news which is that I sold my novel, Seven Days One Summer to the lovely people at Short Books and it will be coming out next Summer. Hurray!! This will be my third published book, so I can actually feel justified in calling myself a writer.

And don't be fooled by strange men coming round to the house and asking you to sponsor them. I turned into a super sleuth and caught one man who did just that. He was perfectly nice, came round with a sponsor form, and asked me to sponsor him to kick goals at Fulham for action aid. I said I would pay him after the event, but my neighbour paid straight away. My son asked if he could go and watch and was told the tickets were sold out which made me suspicious.

He came back two days later and when I asked to check the charity registration number he stormed off saying he wouldn't be back. I called the charity the next day and they said they had done no such fund raising.

Horrible.

Friday, 11 June 2010

A poem

This is a poem wrote this morning, very quickly, looking out of the window at the street below. I haven't written a poem since I was 17!

Front Window

The hedge, the bike, the blue and silver cars,
The parking sign, the blind, the motorbike,
The black cat, the ginger one, the one-eyed tabby from next door.

A slight rustling, not of net curtains, but of the ivy that grows up number sixteen,
Me and my neighbour Juliet were sad when Mike tore it down last summer, leaving the nesting pigeon perched precariously on a branch, exposed to the harsh summer sun. He says he doesn’t like urban vermin.

The parking attendant, dressed in black and white,
Long ponytail, black cap, up and down the cul de sac
Making tracks under the light grey sky.

A white van, a delivery at number ten,
Mum of three tired, wired, takes it in.
Other people’s children trail by at four,
My own come knocking and shouting at the door.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Square, Bath

I want to warn people off a "designer clothes' shop in Bath called The Square, which sells absurdly expensive clothes. It's run by a really really difficult, and dishonest woman and her equally dysfunctional business partner. I did a reading there last December and sold 20 books through her till and for four months she used every excuse not to pay me for them, even though she knew I had to pay Penguin. I had paid £60 to get there and the books would have only covered my expenses. Finally after threatening legal action she sent a cheque, but only for 16 and backdated the cheque so as to make out she had never received the letter. This was after months of wrangling and her making up different stories and her business partner hanging up four times on my husband. She at one point sent a cheque written in the wrong name and for the wrong amount. At one point she said I had to pay her for using the till, even though she had never warned me.

Please if you read this, don't go there and warn everyone off it. A friend of mine who lives near Bath, said she once went in and this same woman was really rude to her.

I think in some karmic way, something, in some way, will get back to her. It has to.

I have never in my life had to deal with someone like this, and I have never written such a rude email as I just wrote now, after months and months of her screwing with my head.

Sorry to rant, but sometimes you just have to.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Easter Hols

I’m going away to visit my mother for Easter, which sounds fabulous but I have a serious case of body crisis. It’s going to be hot which means taking my clothes off. I am dreading revealing my white mottled skin, the winter flab, the un-toned arms. It seems atrocious that I will have to walk around in the equivalent of a bra and pants for two weeks, after a winter cosseted in many many layers. I have booked a few last minute beauty appointments including an inch loss treatment that promises to work, a hair cut, pedicure and wax. I always think it’s so weird to hurtle many miles across the sky, and enter a different time zone and a totally different climate. During my years as a climate campaigner, I haven’t been much further than Morocco.

I returned from my universal body wrap. I was literally smothered in mud and wrapped in bandages, and looked like an Eypyian mummy. The woman measured me before the treatment and said that my waist measured 38 inches!! I protested as I know it’s 31 and she insisted and after the hour of being wrapped up, so tight my ribs hurt, she said I had lost 13 inches all over, which frankly I found hard to believe. I couldn’t take her seriously after what she said about my waist size.

It’s the last day of school for my children. I have just returned from the Easter Bonnet parade, (it only feels like a few days since book parade). I thought they had done well: Jude wore a red cowboy style hat covered in chicks and had plastic eggs on string hanging down from the rim like a joke Australian) but their hats were nothing compared to some of the others, which included giant size papier mache eggs and hats with huge flowery stalks. Note to self: Make even more effort next time: Hire a costume designer.

Lastly please check out a campaign that is petitioning to give this country more daylight and therefore stop wasting energy lighting our dark streets so early in the winter. I am right behind this as I think there is nothing more depressing than short winter days.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Screening 1st Nanny Mcphee for bloggers this Friday (plus entertainment)

I had the following email and thought I'd pass it on:

The details of the event are below, any bloggers can RSVP to me at stella@thinkjam.com as we have a special reservation for bloggers – anyone else can reserve seats at events@foyles.co.uk.


To celebrate the release of Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang, in cinemas on 26th March, we’ve teamed up with Foyles to organise a fun filled afternoon for all the family at their London Charing Cross Store this Friday - day of release! To put you in the mood for the return of everyone’s favourite magical nanny, we’ll be screening the first Nanny McPhee film in The Gallery at Foyles Charing Cross on March 26th from 4pm with refreshments and entertainment for parents and kids alike!

If you would like to reserve a place for you and your family at this event please email events@foyles.co.uk to reserve your seats.

In Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Oscar®-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson returns to the role of the magical nanny who appears when she’s needed the most and wanted the least in the next chapter of the hilarious and heartwarming fable that has enchanted children around the world.

In the latest installment, Nanny McPhee appears at the door of a harried young mother, Mrs. Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war. But once she’s arrived, Nanny McPhee discovers that Mrs. Green’s children are fighting a war of their own against two spoiled city cousins who have just moved in and refuse to leave.

Relying on everything from a flying motorcycle and a statue that comes to life to a tree-climbing piglet and a baby elephant who turns up in the oddest places, Nanny McPhee uses her magic to teach her mischievous charges five new lessons.

For more information on Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang please go to official website: www.nannymcphee.co.uk

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Nanny McPhee

We took the children to a preview of Nanny McPhee And The Big |Bang and they loved it. I really admire Emma Thompson who stars at the wart-strewn nanny, and wrote the script. It was as English as a film could be, and sunny and set during the 2nd World War, when children took pleasure in picnics with ginger beer, and watching pigs fly (there is an amazing scene in the movie when pigs fly and dance and swim). It made me nostalgic for that era, when children didn’t have the need for computers and Wii’s and top end gadgets. I know I could choose not to let my son play on things like this, but he would be a freak amongst his peers so we give him limited periods of time when he can. He’s nearly nine and it is quite depressing, but at least he really enjoyed the film, more than Alice in Wonderland but less than Avatar. It was strange seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal as the harassed but rather beautiful mother in a gloriously innocent children’s movie, as the last time I saw her, she was playing a secretary who was having a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with her boss. He whipped her on the bum as she leant over his desk and that was the least of it.

I have started writing a column in the Times called Marriage, which let’s face it is based on my own with a few little twists and turns. It comes out on a Tuesday in the Body and Soul section. My husband is very cool about it, as I passed it with him several times and of course its exaggerated and things are taken out of context and manipulated but still its quite strange writing candidly about our life. I felt the need to do it after talking over the years to my girlfriends who are either married or in long term relationships and are comforted to know that not everyone has a perfect relationship. I used to write a single girls column and it was entirely fictional, the girl was maddening, mad, wild and weird, but people still used to think it was me!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Wedding Belle

My five year old daughter Belle got married about two weeks ago, to a little boy called Adam who lives round the corner and is also in her class at school. She told me proudly that they had snogged!!!!! Well first she said they had kissed, then she said, "and you know, what's that word? Snogged? We snogged." I was quite shocked, as you can imagine and asked her what snogged meant, hoping,praying, that she didn't think it meant a full on kiss with tongues. Luckily she told me it meant kissing on the lips.

A few days later she said they had an argument and she no longer wanted to go for a sleepover. I was slightly relieved, as was worried what they may get up to in the same bedroom. Yesterday she said they weren't friends any more. This morning, my husband walked to school with his mother and he said they prowled around each other, Adam, asking Belle to chase her etc. and then getting cross when she did. His mother said that at breakfast Adam said, "I don't want to set eyes on Belle again," his 7 year old brother retorted, "that's cos your marriage broke up!" Hilarious.

This is a link to my second column in the Times. Its about the real stark dark, funny, up and down reality of being married!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Marriage column in the Times

My first column on marriage started in the Times last Tuesday. It's a lighthearted look at the difficulties of living with someone day in and day out. I know from talking to girlfriends that not everyone has the perfect sex life or the most amazing marriage all the time, and who would want to read about that anyway? Surely that would be boring and slightly smug.

So far the only two comments underneath the article have not been positive. Clearly though these people want to read about a loving, perfect marriage but I just don't think that's a true look at the reality of a long term partnership. They say that it is a depressing look at marriage, but its meant to be funny and sad and true. I think the last line shows that they still love each other. If anyone manages to read it I'd love to know. There will be more on Tuesdays.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Heating and Haiti

We have been living without heating for eight long days. This happened after a series of errors on the part of our boiler insurance company. On day five my husband telephoned the CEO of the company. We didn’t actually get to talk to him, but we left a very severe message with his PA. My father always told me that if you have a problem, go straight to the top and yes he’s right. Afer the call, things started to move. But we still had eight days huddled together in the sitting room, where we ate, played, argued and cooked. My husband even slept on the sofa, as my daughter had to bed down with me because her room has an outside wall and was literally freezing. The cold began to get to me: my husband and I argued, the children went stir crazy in the one room. The sitting room was relatively cosy, if we kept the the heater and the oven on, (our kitchen and sitting room merge into one) but the corridors and bathroom were freezing, like being suddenly thrust into Antartica. But at least we had a roof over our head.

After I read the following account of what it is like to be Haiti, right now, I was ashamed to complain about my heating. This message was posted on facebook by a friend of a friend: “My 
four sisters, brother, and father are down there; (Haiti) they have lost their 
home and are now sleeping and wondering on the streets with a bunch of 
dead bodies, rapists, and many more. My sister had a 3 storey building fall on her, and was trapped for 18 hours. She 
now has a really bad infection in one of her legs. She told me that she is at the airport asking the air-force people to 
help her, but they told her that they are helping Americans first, so 
they refuse to help her. Having an infection is really bad, it could 
even kill her. I hope she finds 
some antibiotics or sees a doctor right away. It
’s really hard to see all that happening and not being able to do
 anything.”

My children’s primary school are holding two fundraising events today and tomorrow, for Haiti. I wish I could do more.