The English Mother

Moments in an English Mother's Life

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‘ Old Fashioned Values In A New Techno World’

This is a picture of me and three of my children with one of our au- pairs in 2012. We have had many. Last week we collected a new au-pair from Kings Cross station. She is 18 and from France.
She is young like my children, which means she is technological. Because young people are. Previously, when the au- pair arrived, we would fish out an old phone from the drawer in my desk, go to Tescos for a pay- as you go sim card so that we could contact her if we needed to.
This new au- pair has her own phone, of course. It is a glossy, shiny, thin computer screen which takes you anywhere with one feathery touch.
Now my children have an older sister in the house with a fancy phone, laptop and nimble fingers. I need not worry that she is bored up in her room like I did with previous girls. Her phone and laptop supply endless entertainment.
The children love her phone which gave them an immediate appreciation of her, they say I should get the same one. This digital stuff is here to stay and the next generation would find a world without it isolated and slow.
While I’ll keep learning and adapting and appreciating a technological way of living I want to encourage some more old fashioned stuff to remain.
I wrote a piece in this autumn’s issue of ‘ The Mother Magazine” talking about this, it is titled; ” Old Fashioned Values In A New Techno World.”

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A Special Summer Holiday

Eighteen days after having a baby you can get on a plane a fly.. and that is what we did. Away to the Mediterranean we went.. to its gentle, soft waters and easy, warm weather.
We floated and basked and enjoyed each other’s company as we introduced ourselves to our new baby boy. We called him ‘ Blaise.’ We were so happy to be in the sun with lots of books, the sea, the sand and each other.


A New Arrival

This is me with my daughter Maud behind me and my son Hector beside me. We are on Cley beach in Norfolk, it is Summer 2009 and I am a couple of weeks away from the arrival of my third child- Nancy.
Now I am expecting another child..
This Summer, six Summers since Nancy arrived we will have another baby.
Hector, Maud, Nancy, Dominic and I are all so excited.
We feel as lucky as can be.

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Riding in London

My girls went riding this weekend. From West London Stables experienced riders can ride to the scrubs for an inner city cross country experience.
For my London girls and their cousin, an escorted walk high up on horseback with velvet helmets, holding reins with feet in stirrups along the familiar streets of West London was thrilling enough for the moment.
Riding is not a must-have sporting skill in most metropolises of the world. Swimming or maybe basic tennis are more commonly useful abilities. Yet giving your child the chance to ride is wonderful!
Riding is an expensive luxury in London and I do not think that, despite the various stables, any investigation would prove a way round this financial inconvenience.
Maud and Nancy had a brilliant time, Nancy laughing all the way.. I hope that over time they will learn how to ride properly. But for the moment we will be sticking to gymnastics, as a more regular pursuit. DSC_0014

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Christmas Traditions

Should you have a knitting friend or relative, these hanging socks are lots of fun for the kids at Christmas. Instead of an advent calendar, each little sock is labelled with a number representing a day in the countdown to Christmas.
Years ago, when I only had two of my children, the Granny of our au-pair sent two of these chains of socks to us all the way from Germany. We have used them every year since. The eldest has now relinquished his so the youngest can have a go.
I did try one year to tie together some odd socks to make a third chain but it didn’t look as good.
I fill each little sock with a small present and hang them on the 1st of December. The present must be small and hopefully not utterly useless. A little nail brush, a rubber and a key ring are good as well as at least one tangerine and a piece of coal- no not coal, that would be too messy.. But it should not be extravagant because, like lots of things over Christmas, it is the anticipation that is exciting.



This weekend our street was closed. No traffic came down the road between 2 and 4. At first a little tentatively and despite the rain, children played in a way unknown to them in their young lives.
‘Playstreets ‘ were common in the 1930s with roads being shut off from cars so children could play without fear of accident. As cars increased ‘playstreets’ dwindled and disappeared by the 1980s. It has been a concern over obesity and children’s obsessions over screens that has renewed an interest in recreating this outdoor activity.
It was unusual to see so many neighbours, some of whom had lived for so long in the street and yet had never to spoken to each other. It was a cheeringly positive afternoon and the parents here and in other parts of the country making ‘play streets’ happen are doing a very good thing.
I hope it is not too late for my twelve year old son who on several occasions made an excuse to return to the house. To my dismay I realised he had been checking some stupid thing he was doing on the i-pad. Oh for the by- gone days when playing and socialising where all physical and not virtual.
Next time my son won’t be going indoors for an instant and maybe I might of stepped on the i-pad between now and then!