Saturday, November 17, 2012


Just a quick note to the annoying people at Packers and Movers in Delhi who are now using my blog to advertise their crap through the comments section - GO AWAY!  NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU ... least of all me!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Small victories

Sam is a very good tennis player.  He is focussed, intense and is a coaches dream as he listens intently and tries so hard during every session that he is usually physically and mentally exhausted afterwards.  His coached in Jersey are great - they all have great things to say about him - and they love coaching him.  He achieves reasonable results- but his matchplay achievements are not as good as we all think they should be.  He's very good, and his results in competitions just don't reflect this!

Sam - at a tennis camp recently
We've been wondering why this is.  There are several theories - one is that the kids he plays against in the UK get to play more matches (usually three to four times more matches than we do in Jersey) so they are better at it.  Another theory is that it is just developmental - he is almost at the point where he can put into practice what he has learnt.  Yet another theory is that he is TOO intense ... he gets so disappointed in himself when he makes a mistake, that he has trouble picking himself up, and moving on!  His opponents must love this - if they beat him in ONE POINT early in the match, he gets so annoyed with himself he often can't get over it!

We have been assured that it will come ... and that at this stage, at the age of 9, focussing on winning matches is not that important - it will become important at some stage in the near future, but for the moment, we need to be focussing on smaller, more short-term goals.  For example, focussing (like Sam did today) on getting his first serves in.  We talked about it this morning, he did focus on it when he played the highest ranked player visiting from Devon and Cornwall, and served four aces in the six-game tie-break set!  He didn't win, but we hadn't expected him to - the other boy is older (almost by a year) and plays a LOT more often.  The fact that Sam did so well and got so close to him, is a huge win!  A small victory!

Harry has also been trying to focus on his weaknesses on the tennis court.  Harry is a lot more casual and while nobody likes to lose, Harry does manage to take it mostly in his stride and move on ... but he is often so casual and laid-back that it is JUST as frustrating as Sam's focussed intensity.  One of Harry's coaches remarked recently that he thought harry could be a fabulous player, but that he seems to lack intensity and focus.  So, today, when Harry joined the older kids for the strength and conditioning session, we talked about what he could focus on.  We decided that since he probably wouldn't keep up, he might need a few breaks and that was OK.  But what he wanted to try and do was not talk, listen to the coach and focus on the task at hand!

When I arrived at the club to pick the boys up this afternoon, I was delighted to hear that both boys had performed brilliantly, but that Harry had been praised constantly for his determination and commitment.  I think it was as much surprise as impressiveness on the part of the coach, but Harry, red-faced and dripping wet, was exceedingly proud of himself!  He came last on every lap, but such a victory!

I don't want to seem like we are celebrating mediocrity!  There are enough parents around rewarding their children for getting out of bed in the morning ... but I think being set a task and achieving it, is worthy of praise and celebration!  Well done boys!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Turning their stomachs!

Little boys love to be gross ... while there will never be burping or farting competitions ever tolerated in my house, my three little boys love cuts, blood, dirt, bruises and the king of kings ... stitches!  So far, none of my  children have had to have stitches (knock on wood) and let's hope it stays that way.  But the boys are all desperate to have some kind of a badge of honour.  A scar, or even better, a plaster cast.  I know that the excitement would be short-lived once they realised it was really quite restrictive ...

This is one of the "gross" pics!
Last night I found a whole bunch of pics Mr Tribe took of Hilary's birth!  I had C-sections with all the kids, so there is nothing I wouldn't want anyone else to see ... no "bits" showing or anything like that!  Remember that by the time Hilary was born, Mr Tribe could probably have performed the C-section himself having seen  three before including the up-close and personal twin-birth!  So the pics of Hils' birth are pretty good - they are close, focussed and the purchase of a fab new camera with lightning fast shutter speed means there are a series of pics which are so graphic,  you'd be hard-pressed to find any video captured it better!
This is NOT one of the gross pics

So I started showing them to Sam and Harry.  It was hilarious.  Sam was dry-retching and covering his mouth saying how completely gross it was and why would we have photographed such carnage?  Harry was giggling uncontrollably in-between the occasional "OOOOOOH - GROSS MUM!".  Sam kept throwing his head back and covering his face.  Harry looked at it like it was a car crash ... it was inconceivably gross, but he couldn't look away!

Harry with Hilary - 2009
Sam with Hilary - 2009
When I came across a pic of me kissing a seconds-old Hilary on her head - although she'd been wiped down, she was covered in blood and vernix and just looked like a "large booger", according to Harry - it almost sent them both running for the bathroom!  Harry was disgusted that she still had some blood on her - Sam thought it was beyond revolting that I could kiss her head when it had blood on it ... hence the blood went on ME!

Little Joe with baby Hils.
I have to admit, I loved it!  They were hilarious ... disgusted, revolted, shocked and in awe.  My little boys who love toilet humour ... and I had made their stomach's turn!  Chalk up another one for MUM!
Little Jemima with baby Hils

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Hilary and I have just had the most lovely lunch with a group of mums and their little ones ... all different ages, most of whom I can't tell you where or how we met!  I had spent the morning ferrying a couple of loads of stuff across to the new house and attempting to unpack - in between standing in the middle of the house and daydreaming ...picturing it with all our lovely things there ... plus the sounds of children!  At the moment, it is silent ... lovely, but silent!
We had a lovely day!

I had planned my day around a lunch which didn't happen ... a birthday lunch which wasn't convenient for the birthday girl, so has been move to another time.  I had planned to be unavailable to move and unpack during lunchtime today, so when another lovely invitation presented itself and the timing worked out, we jumped at the chance ... fabulous friends and the most delicious food!

Not only did we have a fabulous lunch, but since we have arrived home, two of the lunch party have texted saying they would like to bring us a meal this week to help out while we move!

How lovely! I don't mind if I do!

... and now back to the move!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Move it, move it...

So far, the move has been pretty good!  Yesterday we took across several loads of stuff in the back of the Voyager ... which, may I say, when the seats are down has enough room for a small family to live in!!!! Just add some plumbing and you'd never have to leave!  But I digress ...

I love the slow gentle way we are moving at the moment.  I took across a bunch of stuff yesterday, hung it in the wardrobes, and then stood and looked at it like I had achieved something ... which is weird, because I really haven't in the general scheme of things - my stuff is probably about 1% of what is coming across!

Yesterday we had some friends helping and today, my friend Nicky came to help me with a load of books!  Poor Nicky made what I think was supposed to be an empty offer : "well, if you need any help ....?" ... I think she was expecting me to say thanks, but all is well!  But I didn't!  So, Nicky and her little car were loaded up to the point where she had all my recipe books and a bunch of kids books all safely seat-belted into the car and drove across to the new house!  We unloaded them and I put them straight into the shelves where they will live for the next two years!  Again, I stood back and admired our work!

We carefully unloaded the Royal Doulton dinner set from the car, all the family photos, and three enormous bags of my clothes before Nicky had to leave ... I personally think she was heading straight for the chiropractor after all the heavy lifting  (and I will be expecting the bill if she has)!

I like this kind of move because I can see where everything is going to be ... there's no real rush and no urgency!  We have another couple of weeks before we HAVE to be out of our current house and while we need to do some small patch jobs before we hand it back to the owner, it shouldn't take too long ... so we are taking our time... Well, I should say I AM taking my time ... Poor Mr Tribe got on a plane last night and we will see him again towards the end of the week.

Another friend made an interesting observation though when I was vague in answering a question about when we will actually BE IN the new house ... she said "There comes a time when it is more depressing and difficult to stay in the old place ... so that's the time to physically move across..."  I think she is 100% right and I fear we may almost be there!

I am hoping the movers will be able to pack and move us in lightning speed on Wednesday - even if it is just the beds, because we are ready!  Mr Tribe will hopefully be impressed with our progress when he returns from his business trip and will be (I think) especially impressed with how calm I have been ... no, really!  I have!  (and this is despite the fact that I heard him telling Sam and Harry not to aggravate each other because this was going to be a stressful week and Mummy was probably going to be VERY cranky... thanks!)

The new house is lovely - it is really lovely!  Not much longer and we can call it home!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Moving house ...

We are moving house next week.  It is the calm before the storm.  Apart from some VERY ruthless clearing out, I have not done ANYTHING to prepare for the move.  Yes, packers and movers have been engaged and I think they are coming sometime next week, but I am finding that denial is keeping me calm ... I am also hoping that during the course of the weekend, someone will come and feed me some sedatives which will knock me out for about 3 weeks until everything is unpacked and the mess is cleared ...

We have moved a lot.  Some years ago on a VISA application, MR Tribe and I had to ask for extra pieces of paper to fit all our previous addresses in ... it has asked for all the places we had lived in the past 10 years ... this had become quite a list!  At one point, I think we had moved three times in a year in Australia before moving to South Africa where we promptly made a habit of moving at least once a year and sometime more ... our record was moving four times in one year ... with four children under the age of 5 in tow!

I don't think this is a badge of honour, especially when I can't find socks/shoes/underwear/sheet music/sports equipment/mouthguards/... you get the picture!  But it happens ... we are nomadic.  We love new places and new experiences and as a result, the downside, is that week or so where no one can find anything and half the children in the house are sleeping in one room ... on one matress ... with no sheets!

Usually MR Tribe is the coordinator of the moves.  I get tense (yes, I do) so he usually sends me to have coffee with my friends!  That's how unpleasant I must be ... poor Mr Tribe would rather move a house with enough stuff for 7 people (more actually) on his own, than have me around during a move.  I have no problem with this ... I like to breeze out of the house leaving instructions and come back 7 or 8 hours later and question why none of my instructions have been followed!  No one listens, it's just a ritual!

This time, however, it is going to be different ... different, and INTERESTING!  Mr Tribe is in a new job and the first few months in a new job are always  taken up with lots of trips away and lots of demands on one's time.  Unfortunately, that has occurred at the precise time our move has been scheduled for.  MR Tribe gets on a plane on Monday and returns on Wednesday ... the movers and packers will be descending on Monday for a week of hell!  I have NEVER had to supervise a move before ... so this could be ... fun?!?  I use this term loosely - I hate mess, disorder, piles of stuff, rubbish, dirt ... all those things and even more I hate BOXES!  I hate piles of boxes and wrapping materials.

My plan is thus - on Friday I am flying to London to spend the evening with the wonderful Jalpa and see Michael McIntyre in concert at the O2.  On Saturday morning, I am flying back to Jersey to start packing up the kids stuff in their rooms and moving it across to the new house.  I have engaged our new housekeeper, Rita and our old housekeeper, Alex to help me with this.  They are going to be at the new house and I am going to dump loads of stuff with them which they must (please) unpack straight into the kids rooms!  I am hoping that during the course of the weekend, we get all the kids rooms done.  Then on Monday, the packers can load up the kitchen and all the furniture and ferry it on over to the other side of the island!  It's probably about 3 miles away ... takes less than 10 minutes in a car!  Apart from a move we made within the same building, this is the shortest move ever!

MR Tribe wants to warn the movers that his wife can be (ahem) a bit tense during a move.  I think this is wise!  I don't want to see a bunch of burly men crying or running for their lives as I lose it over not being able to find my hairspray! It will be fine!  It WILL be fine!  IT WILL BE fine!  IT WILL BE FINE!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

bath time

I don't know why, but I have NEVER liked bath time with my kids!  It is always at the end of the day when everyone is tired and hungry or just tired ... and it tends to be messy and wet ... painting a lovely picture here aren't I?  In fact, the day that my older kids took to showering instead of baths, was one step closer to heaven for me!

My three little kids still love to have baths though - which is great!  Rubber ducks, face-washers, some other kind of strange rubber animals and bath stickers adorn our second-floor family bathroom!  The floor is always wet in there (and it is sadly, not always water ... but I digress ...)!

For the past three weeks we have not had any help at home - our lovely housekeeper Alex has taken a role as a web designer and now only works for us part-time, and her replacement, Rita, is only starting with us next week.  PLUS, MR Tribe has been on a series of long and busy business trips ... so IT. HAS. JUST. BEEN. ME.

It has actually been OK - I don't want to be melodramatic and I have to say I have found a lot of the housework cathartic.  It has also been nice to have been the only one in the house in the mornings when Miss Hilary is at nursery school.  But I don't love the alone-time enough to also take on all of the housework ... all of the time!

Lately, because the show must go on, we all tend to go en-mass to all the extramurals.  We turn up, like a large circus troupe to all the kids events ... some of the kids stay in the car and do homework, watch the DVD (thank goodness for the in-car DVD-player) while I sit in the front wearing dark sunglasses and have a series of five-minute snoozes between listening to the kids do their reading!  We usually arrive home and in a mad flurry of activity, try to get everyone bathed and fed and still in bed at their normal bedtimes.  How do we achieve this you ask?

Well ... Sam and Harry have taken to bathing the little kids for me - while I get the dinner ready.  If I thought the family bathroom was feral after bathtime before ... now it is likely to be declared a state of emergency!  It is wetter than wet, covered in clothing everywhere and now instead of each child using one towel, there seems to be about 12 towels lying sodden on the floor after bathtime every day!  I. DON'T. MIND. AT. ALL.  The kids are all clean, bathed and in their PJ's and at the dinner table on time!

About once a week either me, or MR Tribe or Alex (on one of her days) will bath the little kids ourselves ... just to make sure that all those hard-to-reach places like between toes have been cleaned!  On those days, the kids look like little cherubs - their hair looks shinier, they look cleaner and it happens in a more calm manner than on the days when Sam and Harry take over ... but I know which days they all find to be more fun!  The boys present the little kids to me on their days, dressed in some very interesting ensembles, and usually with dripping wet hair plus dirty faces and bubbles residue around their feet ... but they are so proud of their work - and I am eternally grateful!

Well done Sam and Harry - keep up the good work (pocket money will reflect your efforts!!!!)