This is not going to be a sentimental look at my childhood where I wallow in the memories of endless summer days etc. I did have a great childhood, I grew up in the country so climbing trees, riding bikes and generally exploring my surroundings was the order of the day but I don't feel the need to wax lyrical about those times.
However, there are things from my childhood that I do miss. Not just the life of no responsibilities and the fact that I could get much, much further on my bike than my parents seemed to realise. But also certain books that I loved yet can't find copies of to buy for Lia, places that are no longer the same, TV shows that I loved with presenters that you could respect and look up to rather than ones that try too hard to be your mate.
Just as an aside (and apologies to overseas readers who know nothing of what I speak) I was prompted by seeing Johnny Ball in the audience of Strictly Come Dancing to tell DF that if Johnny Ball, John Noakes and John Craven were gathered on TV to announce the end of the world my generation would totally believe them. No ifs, no buts, those were men that represented truth and, although they were grown ups, were totally on our side.
I don't watch much children's TV at the moment (bound to change as Lia gets older) but the presenters are absolutely dire and I dread the day Lia wants to watch Dick and Dom...
Anyway, that's slightly off my topic for the day. What I really wanted to talk about was sweets. Certain sweets that I loved in childhood that you can't get any more. Yes they brought back Spangles (although you don't see them that much any more) but for me there were certain gaps that just couldn't be filled.
And one in particular. Texan bars. I remember these as being rectangular with a thick, chewy candy covered in chocolate. The candy was quite orange and the toughest thing that you could ever put in your mouth. Not only that, when you did manage to suck it enough that it got softer it didn't break, it just stretched and stretched and stretched. I loved Texan bars and I also loved the competitions I had with my brother as to who could make one last the longest (very sticky results!)
So imagine my total and utter delight when I was looking for the address of a particular website selling old fashioned sweets to send to someone - A Quarter Of... - and discovering that TEXAN BARS ARE BACK!!!
Okay, you can only order them in fives but that's great cos I'll be chewing well into 2006 so I make my order and spend a couple of days stalking the postman until they arrive and finally, yesterday, they were in my hot little hands.
First disappointment, they're the wrong shape and they're half the size of the originals if that. But at least the packaging is as I remember and, lets face it, everything is smaller these days to what it was when we were little.
So I unwrapped and took a tentative bite (my teeth are not as sturdy as they were!) and bit right through! Okay I had to chew and chew and chew but the taste just wasn't right.
So there's two choices here, one my memory is not up to the task or two, they're not the same as before. I'd have to say that I think my memory is just fine and, given the rules about additives and the like these days, the recipe has changed but maybe I'm wrong and I've been romanticising this sweet for 20 years and can't really remember what it tasted like.
The real point to all this though is that, whatever the reason, I've been disappointed and I wish I'd never found them and so could have spent the rest of my life remembering them the way they were.
Still, I suppose I could always just prove I'm getting older by starting to moan about how they just don't make things how they used to...
and we're all getting well and truly festive in our house.
The Christmas tree is up and decorated (has been since the 3rd) and takes up a large part of our small dining room. Presents are wrapped and under the tree (I think Lia's a bit too young for us to worry about Santa this year!) and all that's left is Christmas Cards to be written - a job I hate but I'm working through them slowly.
Lia has a Christmas party to attend on Friday at the nursery and will meet Santa for the first time. I'm hoping that she won't freak out too much as DF has a belly and a beard so hopefully she'll just see him as an older version of Daddy.
She's also meeting the Greek Santa on Sunday as there's a Greek church near where we live so we're heading there for the Christmas Service. I'm not too thrilled (church does very little for me) but it'll be nice for DF and Lia so I'm prepared to make an effort.
We'll be celebrating Christmas with my family this year which means a 100 mile drive on the 23rd. They were all full of 'we won't get her toys this year, she's too little' last time we saw them but I've since found out that most of them have succumbed and bought her a toy of some sort. Don't get me wrong, I have no objection to her having toys but at the moment her favourite playthings are the tv remote, free pizza menus we get through the door and her burp cloth (great to play peek-a-boo with) so I don't see the need for lots of expensive toys at the moment.
Still, I have to remember that this is the only child in the family, after her the youngest is 27, so people are just indulging a long unrequited need for kiddie things at Christmas. I will be putting a quota on toys in the future though as I'm not having the house full of stuff she plays with once and ignores.
T'is the season of eating too it would seem. Lia's apetite knows no bounds and DF and I seem to be heading all over for meals. It was his works Christmas lunch on Friday, we were out with my parents on Saturday, it's my works Christmas lunch on Wednesday, we're out for lunch on Saturday, a Christmas curry with friends on Monday and then a works buffet for me next Wednesday! All that before that actual Christmas food (which is incredibly well done by my family it has to be said).
I've decided to leave all thoughts of dieting till 2006 but once the holiday season is over I will definitely be on the getting fitter trail. Not only do I have the Big Fat Greek Celebration to look good for but I'll have a small, slim, half-Greek daughter who will be starting moving around so I'll need to be fit to keep up with her!
Before I start I should just say that I've decided to refer to DD by her name (or at least the shortening of her name) as I spend more time editing it out than writing posts.
So, Lia has been eating 'real' food for a month now and after a rocky start has launched herself at the multitude of food available to her with gusto.
Last night when I picked her up from nursery one of the girls told me that they love feeding her as she's easy to feed and very enthusiastic with anything they give her. I'll admit we did have a bit of a rocky start but it's been quite a while now since she's refused anything so I'm hoping that continues (I'm not looking forward to the fussy stage).
Her breakfast consists of ReadyBrek which, whilst it doesn't make her glow, can be guaranteed to make her, and anything within a ten yard radius sticky in the extreme. Still, she likes it, it fills her up and it's easy to make so we're sticking with it (no pun intended) for the moment. Plus four out of seven days the girls at nursery feed it to her so I just have to clean the clothes, not everything else. She's pretty good with everything else but for some reason this is the one food that she has to get her hands in and then wave them enthusiastically all over the place.
Nursery days include pureed meat and veg for lunch and pureed fruit for tea. Well they call it tea, Lia seems to look upon it as an afternoon snack as she's ready and waiting for food when I get her home. She'll wolf down half a jar or more of baby food and then rusk and fruit for pudding!
As we're still at the us feeding her stage it's not too bad mess wise but there have been some spectacular patterns made when she's had a mouthful of something and coughed (I'll leave those to your imagination I think). She's not showing any signs yet of wanting to feed herself anything (I have no idea when she's supposed to start doing that) so hopefully it'll be a while before we have to cover the room in tarpaulin before each meal.
Still, I'm thankful that she's taken to it so well and there's very little refusal of anything offered to her and I shall await the mess to come with at least some comfort in the knowledge that nursery will deal with at least half of it.
I was almost sad enough to take the day off work to watch the traffic warden's go about their business and ticket the £*$^"@s that park on our street but I had to take a day off for DD's christmas party in a couple of weeks so I'm at work.
Still, I'm whiling away the time imagining all those little yellow gifts being left on windscreens.
The even better news is that we found out when they put the signs up that we've been given exclusively residents only parking. For those not in the know about these things, basically there are different options the council can come up with and the most popular has been residents only 8pm - 8am and everyone else can park for up to 2 hrs for the rest of the time.
Giving us totally residents only means that no one else can park unless they are a visitor and have a visitor's permit. This is the best news I've had in ages and I can't wait to see how much of a difference it makes.
In other news, DF and I are now almost over our colds although DD is still suffering a bit. She's now having three meals a day though and progressing nicely with her food - we've even found that she loves bananas and so we can finally get her to eat some fruit.
Wow, how does time manage to pass so quickly? Our little monkey is half a year old today and I can't quite believe it.
So what's the last month brought us? Well, she's started nursery and thankfully she loves it - she's all smiley when she's dropped off and she forgets I even exist most of the time as there's so much going on for her to see and do.
She's now eating two or three proper meals a day and has tried most things. As a 'half-birthday' treat she had toast for the first time this morning and she seemed to like that. She's not that fond of sweet stuff as yet (this can only be a good thing) but she loves chicken and most veggies (except cauliflower).
She's sitting up quite happily for short periods of time but hasn't started getting herself into the sitting position yet although I'm sure that won't be too long now.
I think that's it really. She's still sleeping real good so no problems there and she's generally just a happy little thing that smiles at the world in general. Betwen nursery and real food it's been quite a month for her.
Oh, one last thing, she attended her second (thanks Scully!) stitchers get-together in November. She also spent an hour or so in Hobbycraft with me yesterday so she's hopefully going to be a crafter like her Mum.
Here's a couple of pics that made me smile (and in case you're wondering, she inherited those eyelashes from daddy)...