Friday, 28 June 2013

Sports Day

Its been a busy week. What with having our nephew to stay, helping out at school for a couple of days and then yesterday beeing Sports Day its been full on.

Mind you, its good to show Papa that being a stay at home, studying while trying to write a blog based book can be pretty frantic - I'm sure he thinks I sit at home all day watching daytime soaps and meeting friends for long lunches before collecting the boys from school for a fun trip to the sun kissed park chatting with the Mum's while the children frolic in the sand pit before returning for a leisurely tea in the nursery followed by a splash in the bath ready for Papa's arrival home so he can give them a quick kiss and tuck them in before sitting down to the lovely meal I am preparing for him. Then of course, I am happy in my relaxed and pleasure filled state, simnply grateful to be provided for and prepared to sit and listen to how hard his day at work has been, looking at spreadsheets, going to meetings in Madrid and sorting out his flight intinerary and business trips for the rest of the year - most of which seem to fall over the holiday periods... I am so blessed!

(The lack of punctuation is completely intentional as sometimes I don't have time to take a breath!)

Oh wait, that seems to be someone else's life. Mine consists of trying to keep TJ tidy - just long enough for him to get into school whilst ensuring he doesn't impale himself on yet anther 'stick' that he has found and wants to use as a javelin. Trying to squeeze my entire life into a five hour window whilst the little darlings are at school before they race home and in three minutes trash my tidy house, spill sticky juice over everything, fight with me over why they don't want to do their homework that evening before I run them to whatever club it is they are doing next. Then trying to ensure they have food that they like - which at the moment also doesn't seem to be enough as both kids could eat for their country - then have another do his dyselxia on line exercises whilst the younger one is in the bath - where I know he will succeed in soaking all four walls and using every towel that he can before reading to him the same story I have read for the past three months but of which he never seems to tire before getting the older one to bed in time for Papa to walk through the door. At this point Papa will moan about his long journey home and how he needs a shower before he can possibly read a bedtime story - and can't  I do it as he is tired. Then I will do it, then get TJ back into bed as by now he is on his third toilet trip in 30minutes and KC has just realised that he hasn't packed his 'show and tell' for the next day. Finally,  Papa will come down and give each child a quick kiss before telling them to go to sleep and coming down to ask what's for dinner... he has learned not to complain if its something he doesn't like and he no longer raises an eyebrow if I have a cheeky g and t. Although he nearly wore his dinner last night when as we sat down he said, "So have you written much today?"

That's my version of events....

Yesterday was Sports Day. This year I had to attend both the KS1 sports day, as TJ is now in Year 2 and the KS2 sports day, for the older children which includes KC. Parents were also invited to share a picnic lunch between the sporting events. So it was all shaped up to be a lovely stress free day.

Except, Papa had to work -  so, yet again, he missed out on their day. I do think thats a shame as both children are very sporty and it is nice for them to show something that they can do well - rather than be constantly reminded that they are not that academically gifted.

But not to worry - I would be there - although that didn't seem to really excite them - although TJ was looking forward to the picnic side of things.

Unfortunately, yesterday was also to be the highest pollen count of the year so far and within two minutes of stepping outside the door I could barely see through my streaming eyes, couldn't stop sneezing and was generally not much fun to have around.

Then I went to sit in a field...

TJ's day consists of lots of 'team' activities - a sports carousel where every child gets a chance to do something - there are no losers at our school. Which kind of makes cheering parents redundant - as the parents soon found out and ended up chatting amongst ourselves whilst the little darlings ran backwards and forwards sharing bean bags and filling little jugs with water.

Then came the competitive bit - the running races! The parents soon got involved in that - some more so than others...

TJ set off like the clappers - his legs going like little pistons. Now TJ has Noonan's syndrome which means he is much smaller than the rest of his peers but despite that he loves football and running and he is determined to be an Arsenal player so it is very important that he wins - at everything. At the last minute as he raced down the 100m track another boy passed him and TJ came in a worthy second. Which is amazing. Everyone chhered. Everyone except TJ, who took his baseball cap off and threw it at the teacher, he then stormed off in a hissy fit that would have had the best drama queens in awe - beleive me I have thrown a few in my time. I stormed out of a dance class whilst at college complete with hair flick and door slam and it wasn't until I was standing outside in the college car park in the middle of winter that I realised that at some point I would have to go back into the dance studio and collect my clothes, my choices were simple, to stand and freeze until class had finished then sneak back in and collect my stuff or to storm back in, grab my things and storm back out again. I decided on the latter, only this time my second storming out was met with huge laughter from my fellow classmates. So maybe TJ does take after me.

Anyway TJ's sulk went on for a good ten minutes - he stormed off the field, he stood in a bush shouting, he threw his hat back at the teacher when she tried to pass it back to him. He was on form. It was as I was hiding my head in the programme that I noticed that there would be extra points awarded for 'good sportsmanship' - I figured that they wouldn't take points away so TJ should be ok.

By now, my hayfever was unbearable. So I popped home to get some more hayfever medication and also to check that The Little Prince (our nephew) had finally arisen and gone up to London to meet his friends - if he hadn't at least I could get him up and get him to the station. I got back took extra medication and sat down for a few minutes. I think I must have dozed off as I missed the picnic lunch but later learned that Lea sat with her friend's mum whilst TJ ran around the field. I had sent the children in with their own packed lunch so I hadn't left them unfed (in case anyone was wondering).

I then pulled myself back up and returned to the school field for the second round of hayfever hell - known as sports day part 2!

Lea was already overly excited. As I walked onto the field she was busy running up and down the length of the field waving his arms madly - apparently this was part of her 'warm up' routine. I didn't question it as I was too busy sneezing. Her teacher came over and handed me a packet of tissues. That's how bad I was!

Again we were treated to a sports carousel - this time with added features such as bouncing a ball on a net and rolling a ball through a tube whilst running to the other end to catch it, well at least you were racing something, even if it was only a ball.

Then came their running races and Lea set off like a rat out of a trap. She was gone, easily in the lead, powering ahead as the crowd cheered him on. It was at this point that she stopped, seemingly to see where this cheering noise was coming from, although she later denied it, and two other girls raced past her, leaving her in third place. But she was happy. Lea is not really competitive - she was just pleased to be placed and to get a sticker.

We came home and TJ was happy again. Mainly because he placed second whilst his sister only placed third. This then resulted in an argument as to who had the tougher opponents and all was back to normal in the house again....

Friday, 21 June 2013

Climbing Walls...

Well, its actually been quite an uneventful week.

Both kids have settled back into the school routine and this week we have our nephew - their cousin - staying with us having a post exam break before his graduation next weekend up in Cambridge. He has offered to take the boys punting... I don't think he has any idea what could happen... nor have I!

TJ has returned back to his normal cumodgeonly self - he has agreed that he will go back to school - but he is not going to learn anything. So I was nicely surprised when he came home yesterday telling me all about the 'healthy' food he has been learning about - its healthy to eat fruit and vegtables (he named most of them) and chicken - but not KFC (which disappointed Papa who loves the stuff) - lots of water and chocolate... and cake... and sweets. I was a bit shocked by these last three until I overheard him chatting with Lea - their plan was that if they told us these things were healthy then we might let them have it more often. I'm not sure which of them was the architect of this fiendish plan to fool the parents but it did make me smile and hats off to them for their ingenuity. I shall be giving them double brussels sprouts this weekend!

The school are organising a sponsored climbing wall today - we were asked to sign the consent forms and send in the sponsor money 'before' they actually did the climb. I dug my heels in and refused to send in the cash unless I had evidence that these two actually went up the wall. (Despite being professionals at driving me up it!)

Lea has already said she won't be doing it - she didn't even want me to sign the consent forms. She is terrified of heights. Something I have noticed recently is that Lea is becoming more and more fearful of things - I don't know if its just a stage or if it points to a further drop in self esteem. Of course, she could just be scared of heights!

TJ also refused to climb the wall - I told him it would be fun and we should all try new things - besides, I added, it was to help raise money for the school. "But I don't like school," was his considered reply, "so why should I raise money for it?"I really couldn't argue with that.

Then this morning he decided that he would be climbing after all - I sent in the forms but wrote on them that I will not be parting with any money until I know they have both at least tried to climb the wall!

Papa has gone to Madrid for a business type conference thingy and the cousin is off to a friends birthday party tomorrow - so it will just be me and the kids this weekend. Although TJ was quite disappointed that I hadn't gone to Spain with Papa and left them in the capable hands of their cousin. Apparently, he is a lot more fun than me and, I quote, "He would have to let them do what they wanted!"- Needless to say as much as I shared my youngest child's sentiment that I would love to be in sunny Spain with Papa sipping sangria while he attends a dull meeting, I simply couldn't be quite so mean to their poor cousin - it might scar him for life!!!!!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Father's Day

Well, I couldn't let the day pass without letting you know what happened could I?

I don't know when Father's Day became such a big deal. I had always considered it to be one of those 'Hallmark' holidays - you know, made up to sell cards. Here in the UK Mother's Day is a religious holiday, which is why its on a different day to the rest of the world, so I guess it has some justification but Father's Day always had that feel of being the sort of holiday made up so Dad's didn't feel left out. That was how I always considered it anyway, until I became a Dad of course.

Naturally that brings with it loads of guilt. We never remembered Fathers Day as kids - it just wasn't really celebrated - you rarely saw Father's Day cards and school definately didn't do anything for it. So my Dad was used to us forgetting and now when I recall his shrug of the shoulders and him saying, "Dont' worry," when we remembered we had forgotten - I do feel a certain pang of regret.

We lost my Dad when he was very young - only 53, to a particularly virulent and unlucky cancer, unlucky in that you didn't notice it was there until it was too late to be treated and I think since his death over 10 years ago I have subconsciously avoided Fathers Day - it wasn't a day that really involved me.

Last year, whilst we celebrated Father's Day with the children - they gave us presents from school etc - but at that stage the adoption had been legalised and so there was always a chance - no matter how small, that the adoption may not happen. So possibly we held back slightly as well.

This year we didn't....

This year the kids are adopted - they are ours and we are their Dad's - whether they like it or not (hopefully they like it most of the time - althought I'm sure there are times when they want to be somewhere else - but thats normal and its a feeling I sometimes share!)

So this year I got breakfast in bed - we did debate as to whether we should both stay in bed (as Lea requested) and let her loose in the kitchen - but the thought of clearing up after an 11 year old has done her culinary best did not fill me with confidence. So it was duly decided that I would let Papa stay in bed on Saturday and on Sunday it would be my turn.

Papa got the kids up and they went downstairs to prepare breakfast. I couldn't sleep listening to the clattering of pots and pans as it seemed the entire kitchen was emptied out onto the floor. So I turned on the TV. Five minutes in and the children turned up in my room. Papa had sent them upstairs as they were interfering with his breakfast masterpiece... So they sat with me. My Sunday breakfast show was turned over and the children sat and watched Kung Fu Dinosaurs (it does exactly what it says on the tin - its dinosaurs that do Kung Fu) Obviously a cartoon created by a committee of toy executives... but they love it.

A few minutes later and we were joined in bed by the dog and the cat, I felt like a cross between Snow White and Mary Poppins (although she would never have allowed the tv on)... I got up and went downstairs.

Papa and I sat down and had a really peaceful Father's day breakfast whilst the kids and the pets sat contentedly upstairs... I heard the next cartoon show come on. 'Pokemon' - brilliant that gave us another 22minutes to sit, have a coffee and read the paper.

I know too much TV is bad and we don't encourage it - but this was heavenly!!!!!!!

Afterwards we headed into town for Father's Day dim sum in Chinatown - a restaurant we go to so often we don't need to book a table, followed by Taiwanese desserts around the corner - which are full of sugar and colourings and are a real 'one off'. Finally we walked down to Hamleys to treat the kids to a toy each - after all, without them we wouldn't be fathers at all - and that's the real joy of this 'hallmark' holiday....

Monday, 10 June 2013

Bad jokes... Where do they get it from?

This is the very question I am sitting here asking myself.

I think I am probably to blame as Papa isn't known for his sense of humour.... Although I think he would have found this morning funny.

So I thought I would share it with you before I get to work on Part 3 of our Road Trip trilogy....

This weekend we had to pop over to Bluewater, "Europe's largest shopping destination", and we lost TJ... I panicked and we ran around the shop for a couple of minutes, only pausing to test a few fragrances, that's how serious it was... We found him standing and chatting... To an electric fan! "What are you doing?" I admonished him, "We've been looking everywhere for you!"

He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, "But I was here, chatting to my fan!" He then erupted into laughter and spent much of the rest of the day muttering to himself about his 'fans' and erupting into spontaneous laughter... At least he was having a good time and can entertain himself.

This morning whilst getting ready for school both kids noticed the dog was limping, we think she might have pulled something and is off to the vet later, anyway, there was a huge commotion and I turned around to see the children hobbling around the kitchen... "What on earth are you doing?" I asked... Same twinkle in TJ's eye... "We're having a limping race with the dog.... We holding our own 'limp'ics!! Then both kids fell about laughing!

Finally, as we left for school, the kids were getting their stuff together when TJ said "Daddy, what do call a bird with asthma?' (This is a joke I told him yesterday whilst administering his asthma pump as TJ suffers quite badly so I try to keep it light)..."erm, I don't know," I replied, "What do you call a bird with asthma?" "A penguin!" He said and then rolled around the floor laughing as the Sprog and I looked on...

"Erm, the answer is actually Puffin," I tried to break the news gently, after all I'm sure even the best comedians have fluffed their lines....

He stopped laughing and looked at me with a deadpan stare. 

"Actually," he said, "I don't know what a puffin is and I think penguins are funnier. And anyway, your jokes aren't very funny but mine are...." He then went back to putting his shoes on...

He obviously takes after Papa....

Friday, 7 June 2013

Road Trip 2 - Dinner, Cameras and the Innocence of Youth!

... so we headed off to the boys' Godparents a little before lunch. My heart was heavy as I knew this as going to be a long, long trip...

As we took to the country lanes that link Kent with East Sussex the nephew suddenly announced that he suffered from motion sickness... "Don't you dare be sick in my car." I jokingly said, thinking he was being 'humorous' in that way only teenagers can be.
"I'm serious," he replied, "I really get car sick."
'Then don't you dare be sick in my car!" I shouted, "Seriously, that smell is one that can never be gotten rid of. If you are going to be sick, let me know and I'll pull over."
We spent much of the rest of the trip to East Sussex with the nephew looking slightly green whilst TJ gazed at him in awe desperate to watch a grown up throw up.

Well there was actually very little traffic and after an hour and a half we pulled up the drive to the Godparents, one furry and one fairy as we like to call them, (I'll let them decide which one is which). Everyone had a good stretch as I unloaded the boys' plethora of belongings, sleeping bags, cases, teddy bears, blankets - it looked as though they were staying for a week, not an overnight sleep over - but I was to learn later that they ran out of clothes anyway! We had a cup of tea and a chat and after much hugging, kissing and 'be good's later we got back into a much roomier car and headed back up the A22 towards the dreaded M25.

The journey to the motorway was actually uneventful but we hit the M25 at 3pm and stayed there until 5pm... "Can you imagine how bad it would be if we hit it at rush hour," I said. "You mean this isn't rush hour?" the nephew asked. Inwardly I smiled knowingly, after all I did try to warn them and now we were going to join the queue of traffic heading down the M4 towards the nicer side of London.

But I was proved wrong and it actually wasn't that bad. We ended up arriving at the hotel just before 6pm (after a detour as some woman in a 4x4 cut me up on the roundabout and I ended up going the wrong way). So we had an hour to freshen up and then head over to the Fat Duck.

we were just going up to our room when the nephew suddenly said, "We'll leave a bit early so you can park." I looked at him with a cold hard stare that would have impressed Paddington Bear. "We are getting a cab," I said, "There is no way I am driving again tonight and besides I'm going to have a drink."Yet another fun part of the trip was that of the four of us in the car I was the only one who partook of alcohol and the only one who could drive my car - which is ridiculous. Whenever Papa and I go out and driving is involved we both end up drinking fizzy water - much to everyone's amusement. The amount of times people say "You mean Papa doesn't drink and doesn't drive - you certainly got that the wrong way round!" My, how we laugh!!!!  Again, Papa's reasoning is that if he learned to drive he would essentially be a taxi everywhere for me and my drunken friends - I guess he does have a point...

So we arrived at the Fat Duck, an unassuming little restaurant in the picturesque village of Bray - it really is lovely, just like the villages you see on Poirot or Miss Marple - straight out of the 1950's.

We went in and nephew asked about his reservation. They couldn't find it... I saw the look on his face and immediately wished I had brought my camera.... Then suddenly they found his name on the list and all was good. If they hadn't have found it he would have been walking home... to Singapore!

Which brings me on my next topic. Taking pictures of food! I may be old fashioned but I really don't understand the need to photograph everything that sits on a plate in front of you, however,  I can forgive the occassional snap with a sneaky little mobile phone - although being ridiculously old fashioned I put my phone in my jacket and gave it to the waiter. Again, I don't really understand why you need your phone when you are having an evening out with friends and family - unless of course you are a brain surgeon or dreadfully important - which none of us are, but who am I to judge?

However, nephew took it one step further and pulled out the biggest camera I have ever seen, complete with zoom lens and popped it onto the table next to him. The inner snob in me shuddered and Papa looked at me furiously as I had told him on no account was he allowed to do anything as uncouth as take his camera to dinner. I noticed the other tables looking over (I think some of the more famous clientele were worried nephew might have been a member of the paparazzi - in which case he was pretty bad at it as he wasn't hiding anything!) The waiter winked at me and I knew that either they were quite used to this or I had pulled... I think it was the former.

So the first courses arrived and as I'm sure you already know most of  the menu due to the amount of times it's been on TV - If you havent just check out my nephew's facebook page - its all there in glorious digital technicolour!. I won't go through it all but I can tell you that despite my initial misgivings about it only being the sort of place people went to 'be seen', it was actually an amazing experience - and there was an impeccable sense of theatre, each course accompanied with a presentation on how to eat it, how it was made, the inspiration behind it - it was a brilliant evening. Of course, we had to stop every time the plates were put down in order for my three Singaporean companions to take photos of their plates and then each others plates - to be honest the only thing they didn't take a picture of was me!!!!  But everyone was having a good time and that was the main thing.

After about the third course though I noticed a change in the atmosphere - instead of being a bit snooty - as everyone was when we came in (apart from the staff - oddly enough), nephew had set a trend - suddenly people were taking pictures of their food quite openly - the lady behind us who had snuck a couple of shots on her i-phone was now standing up and taking distance shots of her and her footballer husband (don't ask me who he was, I just know a footballer when I see one and more importantly a footballer's wife) and the staff got involved too, encouraging Papa to put the seashell from the seaside fishy dish to his ear while everyone took photos. Then the waiters posed for a shot - suddenly it felt like we were in TGI Fridays as opposed to one of the most exclusive restaurants in the country. And it was great fun!

The innocent camera work of a young man had loosened this place up and everyone was having a great time. 'Well done' nephew -and a big pantomime 'boo' to snooty old uncle!

One thing that did impress me though was the level of service and for me great service comes from making all of your guests comfortable - and they certainly did that. They even laid my cutlery out left handed between each course without making a fuss. My mother would have been horrified - she never let me eat left handed at home as 'I wouldn't be able to eat like that in public' so I learned to eat right handed, apart from spoons which I just switch over - but here, here they practically encouraged me to eat left handed - I felt very naughty!

Four hours (and one massive bill - thank you sis) later we got back in the cab after a fantastic evening and headed back to our lovely hotel for a night cap before bed and the drive back the next day.....

It was then that I thought about the kids... were they ok? Had they been good?.. Oh well, we will soon find out! But until then I was going to enjoy the rest of the child free evening with a brandy... or two!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Road Trip 1

As promised here is the delayed post about our lovely road trip last week. Its the first of three parts.. the Road Trip Trilogy!

To recap we had Papa's sister and nephew staying with us (The Singaporean Queen (SQ) and her little Prince) and it was lovely getting to know them both so much better.

Prior to their visit and after the nephew's 'misdemeanours' at his fancy public school - which left him suspended for a week and us with an unexpected house guest (as his UK guardians), SQ had made a reservation at Heston Bloomingheck's restaurant The Fat Duck over in Bray. Very nice - we obviously accepted straight away - or at least Papa did. When he came home and told me I was very excited and then a sudden thought struck me - I quickly pulled out the AA Routefinder and found out where Bray is... Berk 'bloody' shire.

Now I have nothing against the inhabitants of Berkshire, or indeed Bray - I'm pretty sure I have a cousin or two over there... but thats the point. Berkshire is 'over there'... way, over there! I looked up form the laptop and told Papa we couldn't go.

He was incandescant with rage. 'What do you mean we can't go?" he yelled, "Do you know how hard my sister worked to get this reservation (we later discovered it was the nephew who had worked hard), Do you know how disappointed she will be if we say we are not going? She has gone to a lot of trouble! Make it work!" Papa is a huge Trekkie and often quotes Patrick Stewart... or whichever of the captain's it is..... (I put that in just to annoy him...)

"But what about the kids?" I asked, "They can't go, what will we do with them?"
"You can get the babysitter in."
"The meal takes over 4 hours, the table is booked at 7. That means we won't finish until 11pm at the earliest, Its a four hour drive there and a four hour drive back - we will be getting home at around 3am - I don't think the babysitter (we use our mad Turkish cleaner with a penchant for European house music) will be willing to stay for that long."
"Call your Mother, then."
"Ok, but she has to come down from Cheshire and we can't put her up."
"Why not?"
"Because your sister and nephew are staying."

Yes, the conversation was really that nonsensical.

Papa was about to go into his "I don't know why we ever had kids" routine (I get that a lot when he can't do what he wants) when I had a brainwave. "I'll ask the children's' Godparents if they can have them for the night," I said.

'You do that, " he replied, "Because I am not telling my sister to cancel this trip, she's gone to a lot of trouble and she will be very offended." It's wierd, as the eldest sibling I'm not usually scared of my younger brothers and sisters (although my brother has had a few moments) but there is quite a large age gap between Papa and his older sister - so I saw a side of him I hadn't before - he was actually scared of her.

So phone calls were made and it was arranged that on the way to Bray we would take an hour long detour down to East Sussex and drop the boys off before heading back up to the joy that is the M25.

Papa then went ahead and made reservations for us to stay the night at The Compleat Angler in lovely Marlow - as we were going to spend all day driving it was only fitting that we should get to sleep over as well - and I was making sure that he paid for that! (Did I mention that Papa doesn't drive - apparently some people are born to drive and others to be driven - he falls into the latter catagory)

So the big day came and the nephew was very excited about his culinary trip (he's a big fan of Heston's) and after I had explained the journey he suddenly said, "Oh I also had a reservation for the Mandarin Oriental (another of Heston's restaurants) for the same night, but I gave it away when you said we could do the Fat Duck."

I stared at him with a stunned look.... the Mandarin Oriental would have been infinately easier - a trip on the high speed train into town, a lovely meal and home again before midnight. Why, dear nephew, had you not mentioned this before?

I glanced at Papa, who simply shrugged his shoulders. As he later pointed out when you come from a country as small as Singapore, where you can drive from one side of the island to the other in roughly half an hour, the concept of 5 hours in a small compact car really doesn't compute. Let alone the amount of traffic we were going to meet on the motorway.

With that in mind, I wanted to leave as early as possible to get ahead of the traffic on the 'Road to Hell', as Chris 'whatshisface' called it, but Papa and his Sis were adamant that we couldn't check into the hotel before 3, so to leave before 10 was foolish... It's funny how someone who doesn't drive knows how long it will take to get around London so much better than someone who used to have to commute to Ealing once a week to teach in a Catholic School. But I was talked out of leaving early and we eventually left at 11.30 with an overloaded car, packed with four adults, two children and enough luggage to fill a truck. "Why is the car so full?" the nephew asked innocently, he had obviously never travelled with children before - they take a lot. It's strange that the younger the child the more luggage they need - newborns practically fill the car!

We were just about to leave when I spotted the dog... The dog!!!!!!! I had forgotten to book her into the kennels!!!!!! The bloody dog! I gave the kennel a call - they were booked out as it was half term but because they love our dog (who doesn't?) they agreed to take her into their home for the night. I rushed off to the kennel with her...

So we loaded everyone into the car... again... and set off on the first leg of our long journey to Bray...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Singaporean Royalty....

Firstly apologies for the absence this week. It's been a bit frantic, we had my sister-in-law and nephew staying with us for much of the week, an occurrence that even Papa took a week off work for, so it was a momentous occasion in more ways than one.

Papa and his sister haven't spent a night together under the same roof since she got married. There was no falling out or anything like that, it's just the way the world works sometimes. So after nearly 20years the siblings were finally to be in the same place for a considerable length of time. This involved preparations that took on a life of their own. The way Papa was carrying on you would have thought that the Windsors were popping over for a few days. Rooms were decorated, new bedding that matched the decor was purchased, cleaning was to be immaculate, even our lovely Turkish cleaner commented on how tidy the place looked, and that was three days before the big arrival.

I jokingly posted on Facebook that the house was now ready for the arrival of the Singaporean Queen. I don't think Papa took it too well, I'm not sure if he was worried that his sister would be offended or if he likes to be known as the Singaporean Queen in our house, so I left it at that. Although the nephew later took great delight in pointing it out to his Mum and even asked where the red carpet was... 

Anyway, our nephew arrived on the Saturday and his mother on the Monday, which was a Bank Holiday here in the UK. Most surprisingly she took the train down from London. Papa was convinced that she would take a chauffeur driven car from her swanky London hotel, so we headed off to Sainsbury's to get some last minute groceries and have the car washed (God forbid we should have a dirty car) when we suddenly got the call that she was at the railway station. We dropped the groceries and raced off, only to have to wait ten minutes as the little Eastern European chap hadn't finished polishing the car. But once that was done we jumped in and headed to the station and sure enough, there she was.... carrying her own luggage! I now knew that Papa had maybe exaggerated the demands of his sister and we might not have had to polish the saucepans and I might not have had to have been quite so nervous about the whole thing....

But, it turned out we needn't have worried. Papa's sister was lovely. They had a lovely time catching up and it was good for the children and I to get to know the other Singaporean Queen (or SQ as I shall now refer to her as Singaporean Queen is a lot to type) as normally we would only see them during the hectic frenzy that is Chinese New Year and its very difficult to get to know people properly when they are in the midst of entertaining their entire family themselves. Of course, our nephew (I guess he is the Singaporean Prince) had already spent some time with us earlier this year after his little misdemeanour at school, so the children were excited to see him again.

So much of this week has been spent getting to know Papa's side of the family better and on Wednesday we all headed off on a family road trip... of a regal nature of course.... 

But that's another blog entry!