Friday, 18 April 2008

Upstanding citizen

Standing up has become the Squirmle's favourite amusement. He has now graduated to scaling the sheer sides of pieces of furniture, including the coffee table and the fridge. He can also walk practically the full length of the kitchen when held up by both hands. The vinyl is rather slippery, but his habit of removing his socks at almost every opportunity makes progress possible.

For the first time, he has shown interest in his "Baby Einstein" video. To prevent him from standing up two inches from the screen and trying to touch the pictures, I have wedged a baby walker in front of the TV, so he can stand and watch at a more reasonable distance. (I still don't see the point of much of the video: why, when a voice is heard counting to twenty in some language or other, do we see a hand slowly moving four or five objects?)

We went in the garden this week, as the weather was (at last) just warm enough. When first placed on the lawn several weeks ago, he screamed, apparently at the unfamiliar cold green furry surface: this time, exploring from the safety of the picnic rug, he seemed unconcerned.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Onwards to Summer, Backwards to Winter

Exmoor in April can be a welcoming place, if the sun shines. Last week, fortunately, it did. We raided the bookshop at Dulverton (mostly for Buchan), walked (briefly) on Dunster Beach, and took a more extended walk through the fields and woods between the ancient clapperbridge at Tarr Steps and the pretty hamlet of Hawkridge. This was the first major outing for the Squirmle in his backpack, an unwieldy rucksack-like frame giving him a splendid vantage point from which to pull his parent's hair, or to challenge his bearer's equilibrium by writhing uncontrollably with delight at the approach of a dog.

My cottage pie was a success, though I had not planned to make so much that it could provide meals for five more people when reheated! So thanks to Delia, even if she has since betrayed us by failing to support cruelty-free poultry farming.

I thought I had better take Lorna Doone as my holiday reading, since I have never read it and it is set in Exmoor. I have not yet got halfway through it: the sheer amount of verbiage is stunning, and I am not surprised that publishers have sought to abridge the book. Almost a whole page simply details the effect of the east wind on a fruit tree in the garden!

Our return home was marked with a fall of snow, which produced a winter wonderland on Sunday morning. Having at last planted my much-anticipated quince tree less than a fortnight ago, I thought that I had better tap it gently to reduce the amount of snow on its freshly opening leaf-buds.