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Bëschcrèche (Forest Crèche)

Bëschcrèche

Freya goes to the bëschcrèche every afternoon and has a great time there. I haven’t time to do a proper post right now, but just wanted to put up the scanned pictures* that they gave us yesterday. I’ve doctored them a bit in Picasa, which is some really nifty software, but, which as Lex pointed out, is sadly lacking in tagging features.

*I’ve changed the scanned pictures as I can’t find them after moving blogging platforms. So I’ve uploaded  a load of photos from my hard drive, some of which were taken by her wee friend Michael’s dad.

 

Translation progress and Luxembourg Welders

Not much to write about of late. I got an extension to the end of the month for my translation. Lorraine started proofreading after she got back from her visit to the UK and some of it was really rather poor. It seems that I had overestimated the quality of the first draft, so that on my second read through I was only really looking at the original if I thought the English sounded funny or didn’t read well. So, from Chapter 6 on, my second read through became more thorough.

By the time I’d completed the conclusion, Lorraine was almost finished Chapter 1, so I went back to Chapter 2 to do a third read through, so that Lorraine’s proofreading would be quicker. It seems to have worked and I know that, after completing my third read through, I’ll be ready to send it off at a push and we’ll see how far Lorraine can get in the time that’s left.

I’m now on about half-way through the third read through of Chapter 4, so only Chapter 5 to go after this and then back to Chapter 1 to start looking at Lorraine’s revisions.

Other news – we had a run in with the landlord yesterday. He’s such an arsehole. Part of the mechanism on the ladders up to the attic broke before new year. After hunting high and low for a new part (which, in Luxembourg, is so frustrating a task as almost to be worth not even attempting), we came clean with the landlord and asked him to get it repaired. So, he got one of his cowboys to do a little bit of spot welding and we put it all back together again. It held for a couple of days before the weld fell apart, as we suspected it would.

So, we decided to find a proper welder ourselves. And here’s some Luxembourgishness for you: we called the welder on Friday to ask what was taking so long (he’d had the piece since Monday). He said he’d finished it the day before and would call later. Of course he didn’t call later, so I figured we’d get it sorted out on Saturday (his shop is a mere 5 km away). Lorraine called on Saturday morning, only to discover that, true to Luxembourgish tradition, he didn’t open on Saturdays (the shops here tend to close whenever people are not at work, e.g. the bakery, which sells sandwiches, pastries, salads, etc. closes at lunch time – you get the picture). He was also closed on Monday morning (another Luxembourgish tradition) but agreed to pop round with the piece when he could. He arrived around lunch time with the piece and handed us a bill for 120 euros. You could’ve knocked us down with a feather. It turns out his hourly rate is much higher than mine and Lorraine’s, so all that post-grad education we got was obviously a waste of time when we could simply have bought some welding gear and moved to Luxembourg much earlier than we did. Silly us.

So we tried to get the landlord to pay and he was for none of it. Apparently, the piece broke because we’d used the ladders too much. Huh? So the building is what, 17 years old, but it’s falling to pieces only because there are people living it and using it. I see; we should stay sitting in the middle of the living room floor, not using any doors or plumbing or gas or electricity and pray that our weight on the floor doesn’t cause any unnecessary wear.

We finally got him to agree to pay half, but think of blood and stones and you’ll get an idea of what it was like.

This has been the straw that has really got us determined to leave this sad, sad country. We’ll see how it works out.

Oh yes, and on Monday we got a call from the DIY shop to tell us that they had just ordered the replacement piece that we asked them to order TWO WEEKS AGO and will be here by the end of the week. Cost? About 25 euros.

Conversation of the Day

After reading Karen’s post about the new Beatles Love CD [formerly on Vox, which is now defunct], I was inspired to add it to my shopping trolley on my Saturday trip to Cactus.

I figured it was high time that Freya was introduced to the Beatles, so I played it for her in the car on the way to the forest crèche today. Here was the conversation:

Daddy: This is the Beatles, Freya. D’you like the Beatles?
Freya: No, I like the Ladybirds.
Daddy: What do they sing?
Freya: I don’t know

So, anyone know of a band called the Ladybirds? Perhaps I ought to start one myself. Anyway, it had me laughing out loud.

I’m a hippo

Here is a conversation between Lorraine and Freya from this morning that had us cracking up.

Freya with hippo
As I was feeding Hamish this morning, Freya was happily playing with her horses. “This is mummy horsey and this is baby horsey,” she was saying.

I just thought I’d teach her a couple of new words, and so I told her “A mummy horse is called a ‘mare’ and a daddy horse is called a ‘stallion’.” Immediately, her inquisitive mind came up with a question:

“And what’s Hamish?” “Hamish isn’t a horse,” I replied (in a silly billy tone of voice). “You’re not a horse, are you?!” “No,” she said. “I’m a hippo.”

 

Pals

One, two, three, awwwwwww…

Back from the Doctor’s

Both kids went to visit the paediatrician today. Both have a viral infection at the top of the chest. This is why Hamish’s bronchitis was not clearing up, although his lungs are now clear, thankfully. Freya also has some fluid in her ear that’s causing her some discomfort.

They’re both growing well. Freya is now over a metre tall (104 cm) and 16 kg; Hamish is 72 cm and 8 kg.

We kept Freya home from the Forest crèche today and she’s had a fun afternoon doing glue pictures with feathers, a parrot from grandma and some Christmas stickers. We also went a run to a hardware shop to try and get a part from the broken ladders up to the attic. We were sent there from another shop on Friday, only to find it was closed until today. The shop we visit today sent us to another shop which, of course, is not open until tomorrow. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever get back up to my office!

Hamish has a rash

The poor wee man, he developped a rash yesterday and it’s no better today. He seems fine otherwise, apart from his ever-lasting bronchial cough. He’s going to the doctor tomorrow with his big sister (who also has a bronchial cough).

Christmas day, 2006

Advent Ark

Here’s a brief run down of our Christmas day with some photos. So, first up was the advent ark. Freya really enjoyed opening up the doors each day to see what animal was behind the door. Much more fun that a crappy advent calender. So, that finished yesterday.

Christmas Sock

I brought Freya home a new Christmas stocking on Christmas eve and she immediately recognised it as a “sock”, so I guess it’s her Christmas sock. We hung it on the bedroom door and she discovered it when she got up. She was delighted!

Thank you note from Santa

Then through to the living room where we discovered that Santa had indeed wolfed down his tasty mince pie and egg nog. He said to say that he enjoyed it very much and even had the courtesy to leave a thank you note!

Then it was time to launch into the presents. Our apartment is really too small for us to put up a tree that’s big enough to put presents under it, but we did a pretty good job I think.

Presents wise, we got lots of small gifts rather than one big one and I think that was the right way to go. She got a really nice jigsaw puzzle, a wooden pizza and some wooden fruit with a wooden knife and a chopping board. There was also the descant recorder in C, which is a proper instrument and not a toy. She’s had fun blowing it as loud as she can, so we’re having to teach her that she doesn’t need to blow quite so hard the whole time.

Freya with her recorder

Hamish had a fun day too. He got his first ever Christmas present brought through to him in bed (I don’t imagine that that will ever happen again!) and enjoyed his frog dolly from Grandma and Grandad.

Hamish with his frog

In the afternoon we sat down and watched Monsters Inc. and really enjoyed it. What a great movie! Thankfully we had the foresight to record it as Freya asked for it again on Boxing day.

Merry Christmas Hamish!!

So that just about wraps it up for this year.

Christmas Eve

We decided to take a family trip into Luxembourg City to visit the Christmas market this afternoon. We don’t get to do much together very often and, since the sun was shining, it seemed like a good idea.

Freya had a go on the merry-go-round, but got a bit upset after a minute or so, so Daddy jumped on to the rescue.

We had a banana coated in white chocolate, some sweeties and some gingerbread. It wasn’t until I took the pictures with Santa that I noticed the big E on the camera’s display. E, no doubt being for Error. None of the pictures had written to the card, so I reseated the card and that seemed to fix it. But by then we were on our way home. So all we got were a few pictures with Santa and a couple of pictures of Hamish. Better luck next year I suppose.

Nativity scene

Nativity

T’was the weekend before Christmas, and high time indeed to get the nativity scene set up. The stables are there all year round, jam packed with wooden animals that Freya really enjoys playing with. The nativity characters are a new addition. We cleared away many of the non-suitable nativity animals (I myself was chided when attempting to include a hippo) and organised a treasure hunt around the living room. Freya took great delight in finding the nativity characters hidden under and behind various bits of living room furnishings.

Where shall I put these?

We had a lot of fun setting it up and Freya really enjoyed herself. She doesn’t really get what it’s all about yet, but she can certainly sense that something is happening and is getting excited. She said a couple of weeks ago that she “wanted to go to Santa”.

She also enjoys pointing out all the Santas that are hanging from the wall’s of people’s houses on the way to and from the forest creche. When I was young we counted Christmas trees, but now there are Santas hanging off the walls all over the place.

Putting Jesus in the manger

 

We’ve struggled really hard to keep a mince pie fully in tact so that we can put it out on Christmas Eve for Santa. I was planning to get some more from Little Britain tomorrow, but the word on the street is that they’re close to being sold out. Hopefully they’ll have a nice Christmas stocking too, as Freya doesn’t have one. Shocking, huh?