Archive for November 2008

finding a new home

Corgarff Castle, Photo by Michelle

No, this isn’t our first choice of new home. We’re holding out for a smaller, warmer, and much friendlier house. Corgarff Castle is in the middle of the wilds of Strathdon and would have been a bleak and unfriendly place for the government soldiers stationed there. (Perhaps not so bleak and unfriendly if they hadn’t been going after whisky smugglers).

And as cold and remote as it is, the area around the castle is one of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen and looking back at pictures makes me get that twitch in my feet that means a hiking trip.

The house shopping mission of 2008 is going well so far – with meetings to arrange mortgages underway. I didn’t realize until this week though what a bad time this is to be getting a mortgage. 25% deposits have become requirements if you want to avoid punishing interest rates (setting a firm upper limit to our budget). Even more frustrating, our regular bank had the gall to introduce the best mortgage deal on the market last week – hence flooding the branch with clients and making it almost impossible to get an appointment (and of course the deal wasn’t applicable for us since it required a 40% downpayment, and now, after we’ve finally managed an appointment, they’ve pulled the deal ensuring that this was the only week of the whole season that they’d be so booked up!). I’m not sure what Cory finally said to get us in, but it might have had something to do with “two children under three homeless at Christmas”. Anyways, fingers crossed we’ll have good news soon….

Christmas Card Outtakes

True brotherly love. And yes, Fraser’s blurred because he is falling that fast….

We wiped the snow off his face before this photo….

We’ve sold the house (we think – just the final papers to sign now) and have a moving date of the 19th of December. That’s less than a month away. Wish us luck on our house hunting… stress levels are a bit high over here…

A story from Duncan (comments by Mummy)

Look! Duncan ride bike fast. Look! Duncan stop. Picture of Duncan falling off Duncan’s bike. Slippery. (Duncan is braver than Mummy, I’d be too scared to ride this). Duncan rode far (over 2 miles!). Duncan ride bike again. Look! Duncan pick nose…

5. less baby, more boy

Funny Things:
1) Row Row Row Your Boat
2) Duncan jumping
3) In the Night Garden (you are too young for TV! Stop looking!)
4) Being Naked (you)
5) Peeing on Mummy

Beloved Things:
1) Cuddling with Duncan in bed
2) Co-sleeping (still trying aren’t you?)
3) Light touches on your belly during nappy changes
4) Playing with others hands and faces


Things that don’t change:
Before writing Duncan’s five month entry we went to the same country pub for lunch as we visited today and we’re enjoying hiking just as much as two years ago.

Things that are different:
Your brother was a champion eater by this stage while you’ve only had wall-paper paste so far (and even that often gets spat right back out). We (I) need more sleep so it looks like we’ll be introducing a bottle of formula to see if that might help up the calorie intake during the daylight hours.

ups and downs


We had 24 hours of excitement this week where we thought we’d sold the house. I spent my time viewing houses, setting up further viewings, and even lying awake at night thinking about moving. But reality, now in the form of the credit crunch, stepped in – our buyers who were pre-approved for a mortgage went in to arrange the mortgage and were denied credit. No buyers, no sale, no move… more frantic cleaning sessions for viewings. Uggh.

It’s not that I’m broken hearted. We’d found a house we were going to offer on and really liked it, but it wasn’t the perfect house. And I’m relatively optimistic and can normally talk myself into the good in anything. It’s just the actual process of selling is dreadful:
1) answer phone and talk to someone who wants to come and see your house immediately/in a few hours/sometime very inconvenient
2) spend the afternoon/morning frantically cleaning while your kids cry/complain
3) show someone around only to have them make disparaging remarks about the electrics/pipes
4) find out that this person has just put their place on the market and therefore is in no position to buy so you’ve given up your afternoon for the slightest of faint hopes….

Surely there must be a more civilised way? I’m either hoping that we get lots of viewings and sell quickly or no viewers so I can relax a bit and stop going mental cleaning up every last bit of stuff. The market should be in hibernation now until after Christmas at least.

trying something new

(Saturday’s walk. Duncan was in the backpack for most of the trip but did do some stump-jumping near the end.)

New Adventures:
1) Celeriac. How did we miss this for 30 odd years?
2) Rice Cereal (okay just Fraser on this one). Bland and wall-paper pasty but hopefully easing the midnight hunger pangs.
3) A new season of Top Gear (guilty pleasure).
4) A shorter haircut with a proper fringe. I feel cuter and younger but not hipper unfortunately.
5) New bedroom arrangements: after poor Cory being relegated to the playroom for the last month so that he wouldn’t wake Fraser, Fraser’s now in Duncan’s room and I’ve got my giant cuddly hot water bottle back.

We spent Saturday doing something very familiar though – hiking on the Deeside. After flying across the Atlantic and dealing with stressful house-viewings I desperately needed two hours in some of the most beautiful countryside on the planet with the three most important people in the world. Our normal hiking silence was replaced by incessant and adorable chatter (once they start they don’t stop!) but the hike worked it’s magic and I went from emotionally exhausted to buoyant over the course of 8km.

Another first, Duncan at his first amusement park: