It’s been a loooooooooooooong time since I last wrote. I’m now mum to two beautiful, delightful and extremely cheeky daughters: Gwendolyn (aged three) and Josephine (aged one) and right now, while on lockdown in our terrace house in Tottenham, London, with their daddy, and our two cats, I’ve decided it’s finally time to dust down the laptop, blow the tumbleweed away and get blogging again.
While searching for motivation I came across this charming blog – My latest obsession – by Catherine Redfern, in which she insists that motherhood needn’t mean a loss of identity and lists all her achievements, big and small, during her son’s first year. On reading, I felt awed initially, and then a little deflated, thinking of how little I have managed in comparison, and over three years of motherhood too. But then I thought, sod it, I’ll be inspired, not downcast and set down all the things I’ve done too. Not as much maybe, but a heck of a lot more than I had realised. So, here goes, in no special order:
- I led my first (and last to date) tree walk – It did not go entirely to plan. I lost control of the group a few times, and was a little disconcerted when a genuine tree expert, Paul Wood, aka The Street Tree, showed up but I managed to correctly identify and introduce people to some pretty remarkable trees, including a silver lime, a false acacia, a mulberry, a wild service tree, and London’s largest collection of true service trees. In case you’re curious, the walk covered Chestnuts Park and the grounds of St Ann’s Hospital in Tottenham, which was planted with rare fruit trees during the 1920s by a gardener from Kew Gardens.
- I breastfed two babies for a year each – It was challenging in the early days. My milk came out so quickly that my babies would choke and splutter, and once while feeding in a café, I nearly got someone in the eye. Also, one of my daughters had a tongue tie – a problem that prevents a proper latch and can be eye-wateringly painful! But with the support of Mr Rixon and my local breastfeeding support clinic, I persevered and I’m so glad I did.
- I learnt around 100 nursery rhymes and children’s songs, both ancient and modern – Singing has become a new and unexpected joy to me. I don’t have much of voice and the day will come soon enough when my children dive for cover whenever I open my mouth to sing so in the meantime I’m going to take pleasure in belting out such varied tunes as Pop Goes The Weasel (I know all four verses), I’m a Dingle-Dangle Scarecrow and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom (We’re Going to the Moon). Oh, and apparently, it’s good for little ones’ emotional wellbeing, communication and cognitive development too.
- I co-delivered a session with schoolchildren on The Tree Charter through Tottenham Trees – This could have gone a lot better, but it could also have gone a lot worse had it not been for the wonderfully knowledgeable and enthusiastic primary schoolchildren who took part. To celebrate the launch of The Tree Charter in 2017, we brainstormed all the amazing things that trees do for us, shared special tree stories and created a cool tree word collage.
- I successfully navigated public transport with little ones – The first time I attempted to descend an escalator on the London Underground with a buggy, my arms and legs became weirdly disconnected and I forgot that I had to get my feet and not just the back buggy wheels onto the thing. I’ve also had bad experiences on buses with the driver telling me off for trying to get on through the back door, other mums nabbing the last buggy spot by entering the back door while I’ve been dutifully waiting by the front one, and passengers getting tetchy when I’ve inadvertently driven over their toes. But despite these misadventures, I have managed to safely get from A to B by myself with two children, including some long train journeys. Hurrah!
- I nearly bought a massive self-build/renovation project in Devon with Mr Rixon – Ever since we’ve been together, we’ve known that we would like to build our own home some day and lately we’ve settled on Devon as the place in which to do it. Two summers ago, while I was expecting Josephine, we very nearly purchase a dilapidated stone cottage on a third of an acre of land. I surprised myself by coming up with some intelligent questions for the estate agent, a planning officer, a chartered surveyor and even the next-door neighbours (tracked down through a spot of investigative journalism). Even though we decided it wasn’t quite right for us in the end, I think I’ll feel much more confident next time an opportunity like it comes around.
I’ve done plenty of other things too, including some gardening, home-baking, writing a couple of newsletters for The Tree Council, and coming third with my team on a tree quiz on Tree Charter Day, but I think this post is getting long enough.
So that’s the tumbleweed banished from the blog, now time to tackle the weeds in the back garden. I fear they may prove rather trickier to shift – even with two little green-fingered helpers…