Thursday, August 23, 2007

Exams, visits, and a bellyful of arms and legs

Hello from England in late summer, where it is pissing down raining with a princely top of 21 degrees. Fortunately, Mum got a week of really lovely summer weather before we returned to the whinge-worthy stuff going on outside the window now.

Mum arrived the day after exam No.1 and had a bit of a nightmare flight, but recovered pretty well. She only had a few days where she couldn't remember what she'd done. We warmed up with some trips around the lovely surrounds - Kensington Palace Gardens, etc - before graduating to a hike into the city through every beautiful park you could think of, and so on. Actually she must have walked a million miles while here; the problem with our flat is that it is in LONG walking distance of everything you can think of, and it seems a pity not to walk given that it is scenic and extremely flat, so then every adventure has 2 hours of walking added. Oh well.

Mum had been given a list of five hundred places to see by friends and acquaintances, and in fact she did rather well at ticking them off, covering all major galleries and museums in metro London. We also fitted in field trips to Hampton Court, Bath (via Avebury stones - because what better to do with a 6,000 year old stone circle than graze sheep upon same?) and she also went on a solo adventure south to Sissinghurst Castle Garden, former home of Vita Sackville-West. Her pictures looked amazing so I will have to try and get there before we leave. Anyway, she was a very considerate houseguest and made sure to leave me time to study every day, as well as do an exam, which is a pity because I really like excuses not to study! In fact, I was getting much more study done while she was here than I have since because, as is probably obvious to anyone who knows me, I am inherently lazy and need someone standing over me with a big stick to get anything done.

On the subject of exams, exam No. 2 was waaaaaaaaaaay better than No. 1. I didn't spend the next two days freaking out about what I'd failed to put in my answers or anything. If anything, the problem with that one was I was spoiled for choice on question topics, having prepared far too many. Good questions though. You know you are a freak when you are feeling stimulated and challenged and entertained IN AN EXAM. Plan B's increasing bulk meant I had to have a toilet break halfway through, but otherwise a very good exam. Now I just have to get through copyright on Tuesday next week and I am DONE DONE DONE. Slight problem: Notting Hill Carnival with several million attendees expected is happening one block from our house, all long weekend. Conditions for study may not be entirely ideal.

Plan B also had an exam this week; the 21 week anatomical ultrasound. And despite the fact that I was freaked out for roughly two months beforehand (despite having absolutely no reason to be so - I am a walking, talking waste of a low-risk, easy pregnancy) it couldn't have gone better,
really. All baby's bits are exactly where they are supposed to be and doing what they are supposed to do, and we even found out the sex, although people have to beg me if they want me to tell them. The ultrasound tech was much better after the first part, where I was alone waiting with the ultrasound goo stuff all over my belly for Mum and Grant to come in and the tech happily started taking skull measurements from the top (ie no other baby bit visible) until I said..."um, is it alive?" when she promptly started doing a lot more "oo, everything is perfect" stuff. Grant wins awards for his uncanny ability to determine what bit is what (including, according to him, determining sex before it was announced) based on an ultrasound screen, whereas I am forever asking "what's that bit?"

Baby was punching and kicking up a storm which was cool to see, and apparently one of the reasons why I can't feel it is a helpfully anterior placenta, ie baby is punching and kicking the crap out of a nice big cushion on the front side of the uterus, not me directly. Good to know so as not to freak out quite so much as previously. Apparently Plan B will outgrow this soon enough, but I predict that by that point I will go from feeling nothing to being beaten up, if the size of its Donnelly calves were anything to go by.

In conclusion: Plan B is not just a giant bump requiring a total change of wardrobe, it is a baby. I will not however take the step of proving this with the ultrasound pictures because they are somewhat scary looking and might put you off your tucker. And to think that Plan B was so photogenic at 12 weeks!

Grant finishes work today, so I have washed my last business shirt. RAWK! Then we are both unemployed albeit not homeless YET. Post-Tuesday exam we are off to Paris for our anniversary (pregnant and in Paris for our first anniversary is quite a cliche, hey? Unless of course the eleven years beforehand are taken into account), then to Geneva to visit friends, then home for the arrival of Grant's parents. Still busy busy busy!

1 comment:

Nyssa1968 said...

Oh, yes. Paris. Very nice! Loved it immensely. I spent most of the time on the south of the Seine, and greatly enjoyed the Left Bank. I spent most of one day in the Louvre's ancient artefacts collection - partially because there were no Dan Brown fans there (that I could tell). They do have too many Greek vases, but the stuff from what is now Cyprus is terrific.

I found the people lovely, helpful, and perfectly fine with my virtually lack of any French whatsoever. I did try a bit, though.

Unfortunately you'll miss the beach on the banks of the Seine!!

Notre Dame is amazing. They've spruced it up.

Given England's smoke free interiors I did find the French smoking thang a bit annoying, but not too bad.

Around the Boulevard St Germain near the Sorbonne is swamped with comic book stores. When I was there, that meant they were filled with pimply American teenaged boys...

The Tour Eiffel is quite amazing, too, but I didn't get to go up this time :-(

Walking everywhere is probably the best, although I did have a ticket care of the Eurostar deal I had for the open top tourist bus. Quite useful to get around after a blister I'd got from Holland had re-emerged and was causing a bit of bother (though I did manage to get some of those wonderful Compeed blister thingies - so, I have one now with instructions in Dutch and French - wheeee).

Enjoy it. I did. But advice would be to just go with the flow. The continent's way of life is very different :-)