Tag Archives: Simon

It'll grow out

Before my son was born, I made my husband promise that he would never, ever, ever let me cut the boy’s hair.  I have a bad history with barbering.

I’ve cut my brother’s hair a few times. Mostly when I was a teenager and he was just a little kid.  It never turned out well.  The most memorable occasion was when he about 8 and desperately wanted a crew cut which my mother would not allow.  He brought me a pair of blunt edged paper scissors and asked me to do the job.  I figured that if you just cut it short enough it would have the desired effect.  It turns out that this is not the case. I kept cutting and cutting and cutting, but it never looked right.  When my mother stopped me mid-job, it’s fair to say that the results were uneven.  Uneven as in near-bald in some places and tufty in others.  Being young and gullible, I told him that it looked good, and he believed me.  But it didn’t.  It looked like he had the mange.

Foolishly, seventeen years later, my brother asked me to cut his hair again.  It wasn’t so much that the memory had faded but that he was a bit desperate and assumed that my skills had improved. They hadn’t. But at least I had the right tools – a clipper and a set of guards.  But it turns out that good results are uni-directional.  If you run the clippers the wrong way, you still get the mange look.

And even more foolishly, even after seeing the results of my brother’s cut, my husband let me cut his hair.  It didn’t go well.  It was kind of a post-chemo look.  Apparently I told him that I knew I’d cut it too short in some places, so let some tufts remain in the hopes that it would even out the look.

Behind the bar

My brother and husband with the proprietor of a country and western bar deep in the suburbs of Hamburg, Germany

I found this photo and showed it to my husband just before scanning it in.  He said “it does not convey the full horror of that haircut.”

So, even with the full knowledge of what my haircutting skills are like, he let me cut Bill’s hair this morning.

To be fair, the boy’s locks were getting very shaggy indeed.  And we’d already tried a couple of times to get his hair cut at the hairdresser around the corner who had done an excellent job back in December.

At the playground

Shaggy, shaggy locks

So we got out the clippers this morning.  It all started out well enough.  But Bill soon tired of my clipping and decided we were done.  Although we weren’t.

I do it!

I'm unlikely to become a licensed hairdresser

And even though it wasn’t a perfect job – a little rough around the edges and over the ears, Simon did say that Bill’s hair looked better after I finished than before I started. And then added that this must be a first for me.

I do it

Bill’s quite fond of power tools, and this was no exception.  He wanted to be the one with power.  He decided that he wanted to do the haircutting and was aggrieved when neither Simon nor I would agree to let him cut our hair.  But if there’s one thing I know about haircuts, it’s that you should never, ever agree to let anyone near your head unless you’re sure they know what they’re doing.

Final touches

refusal often offends

He’s not crying because he’s having his hair cut.  He’s crying because he’s not doing the hair cutting.


Gone to the market to buy a fat pig

I’m a grocery store, supermarket kinda girl.  I generally like buying my meat shrinkwrapped with a use-by date.   It’s fast, it’s easy, I don’t have to talk to anyone or reveal my lack of meat-buying nous and it’s – you know – OK.

But there’s a butchers on the edge of Wimbledon that we regularly pass by on the way to Richmond Park.  It’s nice looking.  I reckon it just may be where rich people buy their meat, and even if you’re not rich you need to have a reasonable net worth to shop there.  I’ve only ever bought cheap cuts there myself.

My brother makes some amazing ribs.  Tender, fall off the bone, sweet and crispy on the outside ribs.  The kind of ribs that would show a Memphis native that a Middle Tennessean has got ’em beat both ways on BBQ.    When he visits us in the summer, we usually set aside a day to make some ribs.   But the first time we tried this set up we had problems sourcing adequate ingredients.   We had been to a number of supermarkets and found some measly little piglet ribs smeared in suspicious red sauce in a little foil tray.

So, I suggested we try the butchers as a last resort, I’d never been in before.  We got there and saw some ribs in a slightly less scary sauce, but still marinaded up.   “Do you have any plain ribs?” we asked.  Out they brought the most amazing full side of ribs, plump and full of meat.   We had to get it cut up to fit in my giant boiling pot.  There was a slightly false start when they began cutting them into single ribs, but the butcher realised his mistake when my brother and I shouted “No!!!”

My goodness, high quality meat makes a difference.  Delish.


I had planned to go to  the supermarket to buy a pork shoulder for Christmas, but was dreading the heave.

We passed by the buther shop  yesterday on our way to Simon’s birthday walk in the park.  We’ve had some lovely solitary walks in the park on his birthday in some very strange weather.  One year it was freezing mist and the park was silent but for the ice droplets falling from the trees.  Magical.

But yesterday was just plain miserable.  Rain.  Cold, cold drizzly rain falling on frozen paths.  It wasn’t even as festive as sleet.   We walked, slipping down (and Simon falling once) down to Isabella plantation and fed the ducks.

Who were very grateful for our meagre crusts.

Actually it was pretty amazing.  I counted up almost 30 pair of Mandarin ducks.  And a solitary wood duck. (These are pics from last year, because it was too wet to get my camera out.)

And then, because we were feeling very damp and cold.  We left.

In an attempt to salvage our journey I suggested we stop in the butchers on the way back and pick up a pork shoulder.  Which we did.  Excellent service as usual.  Freshly cut from a larger joint.   This year is the first time I’ve ever tried cooking pork shoulder and it’s pretty fantastic.

I’m even more excited about trying it with a really nice piece of meat.  A Merry Christmas indeed.


On our visit to Wisley on Sunday I had a purple cabbage coleslaw in the restaurant.  It was fantastic and I thought it would make an excellent accompaniement to our pork shoulder roast.  But I can’t quite find just the right recipe for it.

However, I did find a recipe for a congealed coleslaw.  Yep, that’s right – coleslaw in jello (or jelly if you prefer), but there was no picture of the final product.   Which made me think about the Weight Watchers recipe cards which made me laugh til my sides hurt the first time I saw them – which unfortunately was at work.

And no my memory was not faulty.  Here’s what we could be having along with roast pork.  (Only sadly, I have no jelly mould).