Monday, April 19, 2010

All About Springtime

Karen tagged me what feels like weeks ago for a meme about springtime that originated here. I've finally got around to it, mostly because it involved asking DS (age 7) some questions, so he really did half the work on this post!

1. How does the world change in the Spring?

Well, 'cos in the spring there are like plants and in the winter there’s like nothing.

2. Lots of babies are born in the spring. Where do you think baby animals are born?

Wherever they live. Wherever their mother or father chooses. (The look on his face implied he thought this was a stupid question!)

3. What did mummy do before you were born?

I don’t know. You went to England before I came! (He's referring to the the fact that when I was 7 months pregnant with him I went to England for 3 weeks.)

4. Spring is a good time to play outside. If you and mummy could spend a whole day playing outside, doing anything you want, what would it be?

Badmitten. Badminton.(The Easter bunny just brought him badminton equipment.)

5. Did you know we moved the clocks forward? Why do you think we do this?

No. Don’t know. (At this point he clearly thought the questioning had gone on far too long and all he wanted to do was get back to the wii!)

6. How long is it until summer?

I don’t know. Like, a few months. (Final effort - he knew I wanted him to say more than "I don't know", so he tried to come up with something!)

Hmm - I'd never noticed before how often he says 'like'!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Visiting Michelle

My latest post is over here, at Michelle's blog, A Mid-Atlantic English. Go read that post and then come back!

In many ways, Michelle's my counterpart in the UK. She's been over there about as long as I've been over here, and we often seem to have similar opinions, issues and interests. (Before I ever visited her blog, I would sometimes refer to my accent as 'mid-Atlantic' - not entirely English, not entirely American. Of course that confused Americans who think mid-Atlantic refers to somewhere on the east coast of the US. Anyway, I was glad when I saw her blog to see that someone else describes their English the same way!) We're both having a bit of a think about gardening right now. Well, it's that time of year isn't it?

When I wrote my post, I didn't have any photos to send her of my wonderfully boring 'garden' as nothing is really growing yet. Here's what the perennial border looked like last week:

This flower bed contains hostas, daylilies and daisies, but as you can see, there's little sign of anything yet.

After a couple of days of 90˚F weather, there are finally some real signs of spring around:

This is a star magnolia. We have another magnolia but it's not due to bloom for another month. My parents bought us a gift certificate to the local garden center when they visited almost three years ago, and it took us until last September before DH and I could finally agree on exactly what kind of magnolias to buy, and more importantly where they would be planted so they wouldn't make his job of mowing the lawn more difficult (!)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Las Malvinas

Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate at university in the UK, I dated an Argentinian for a short time. I remember him asking me about the Malvinas, which at the time I knew nothing about. He commented that was about what he expected. The Malvinas are also known as the Falkland Islands - and the British went to war in 1982, about a year after I had that conversation with Jorge, to keep the islands British rather than Argentinean. I was living in France at the time the war started, studying at a university there.

It's hard to believe nowadays, but there was just a single incoming phone in the hall of residence where I lived! I had given my parents the phone number in case of an emergency, but never expected to hear from them. So I was amazed one day when someone knocked on my door and told me I had a phone call. It was my mother calling to let me know that a friend of mine in the British Navy, someone I'd known since I was eleven years old, my first ever boyfriend, had been killed on his ship, the HMS Coventry, in the Falklands.

In those pre-internet days, and living in a place that had no TV, I hadn't really been keeping up with the news, so although I obviously knew the war was happening, I didn't really know that much about it. It was short as wars go, lasting only 74 days. I knew that sovereignty was the issue, but was gobsmacked to read this report on the BBC website today that reveals how incredibly easily the war could have been avoided. I have no doubt that many other conflicts over the centuries could have been avoided, but were entered into because they were seen as being politically advantageous.

My response to Jorge back in 1981 about the Malvinas , was that it seemed to me that it would make more sense in many ways for the islands to be allied with Argentina - BUT the islanders would have to see an advantage in becoming Argentinian. At the time, Argentina's human rights record was appalling, and had I been a Falkland Islander at the time, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have anything to do with Argentina! If governments are correct in their belief that their system is wonderful, then surely their mere example will encourage others to join them. Unfortunately, all it takes is a single powerful person to pervert the course of democracy and all is ruined. Some claim that the Falklands War was a war that neither government wanted, but both the dictator Galtieri in Argentina and Maggie Thatcher in the UK certainly gained from it.

I like to think that if Ian had not died in the Falklands we would still be in touch, probably on Facebook by now, but sadly he's long gone. Rest in peace Ian.
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