Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bad Bank holiday weekend

We've had a hot August Bank holiday weekend. I found it pretty tiring so was glad that it hasn't been quite so hot all summer (unlike the summer I was carrying Lauren).

We managed to have several trips to the park with Lauren. Here's a picture of Lauren on her favourite bouncing bike thingy.

Ravenscourt Park 025

This one is of Mama and Lauren. The bump (at over 37 weeks) is now very big and uncomfortable!

Ravenscourt Park 020

Although she did have fun I was reminded of the all the reasons why I do not want my children growing up in London.

Our first trip to the park was marred by a gang of about children (all under 14 by my estimates) throwing green apples at each other across the park, a few of which narrowly missed us as we sat on one of the park benches.

Not a single parent in sight, of course.

On our second trip to the park I had to intervene when a group of about 6 girls (all between the ages of about 8 and 12 by my estimates) were rampaging around the toddlers playground where Lauren and several other pre-school kids were playing. This gang of girls was running riot over all the play equipment meant for the younger children and pushing them aside and barging past them.

Again, not a single parent responsible for these kids anywhere in sight.

I am sick of seeing these gangs of pre-teen kids running riot; their behaviour is out of control. The sad thing is that it's also difficult to repremand them when you consider that we have this same age group now carrying guns and knives and shooting and stabbing each other and any adult who dares to stand in their way.

For my sanity, we have to move out of central London in the next few years.

We also had a bit of a disaster at home. The fireplace in Lauren's bedroom has always caused me some concern as intermittently soot would fall down it and land on the carpet in Lauren's room. When my brother Hube slept in the bedroom, his asthma got worse and I suppose it did vaguely cross my mind that maybe there was something causing this.

On Sunday night, a large amount of soot fell down the chimney and when I went to investigate further I realised that there was probably about 100 years of unswept chimney soot up there which was gradually working loose. It wasn't until we cleaned out the chimney above the fireplace that we realised that the plate which normally seals the fireplace from the chimney flue had been shoved (and buried) in the soot in the flue.

This explained why the soot was coming down in the first place. We filled a large bin bag full of soot; I couldn't believe the amount that was up there (and that we hadn't noticed it before when we were decorating the room).

I am so glad that it happened at a time when Lauren wasn't in the room and before the arrival of the new baby. The air was black with soot and coal dust, and I now wonder with hindsight if this soot was responsible for my brother's asthma worsening when he stayed in the bedroom. I am also concerned that some of Lauren's persistent coughing following her colds might have been to do with this.

I will be very reluctant to allow a fireplace in my children's bedroom in the future.

On top of this, the carpet is now blackened with the soot that fell down, and we have had to spend 3 days cleaning the room to rid it of soot from every surface. Jase is hiring a carpet cleaner tomorrow to try to get the last bit of soot out that the vacuum cleaner could not handle.

All this in the week before my C-section; I was really upset by the whole experience. Hopefully after tomorrow Lauren's bedroom will be straight again and we can settle down and get some normality before the new arrival next Thursday. I am booked in to have a C-section as I cannot the deliver the baby naturally with it lying transversely across my womb.

Thankfully, despite all these hiccups, the pregnancy seems to be progressing well otherwise and my final check-up at the antenatal clinic went well today. Full steam ahead for next week!

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